I watched the video of Sarah Palin’s resignation speech yesterday with much discomfort — sort of the way I watch disgusting viral videos sent to me by old friends from college.

It wasn’t because I’m a Sarah Palin fan — I’m not. It was just the sheer awkwardness of the entire event: the timing, right before the July 4 weekend; the setting (in front of the lake near her Wasilla home); and, most of all, the speech itself — rambling, babbling, incoherent, full of forced, ham-handed metaphors, and topped off by the worst use of a (mis-) quote I’ve heard in recent memory.

(On that last note, others have already pointed out that the “We are advancing in a different direction” quote wasn’t Gen. MacArthur’s, it was Marine Gen. O.P. Smith’s, whose remarks came just before X Corps pulled back to Pusan during the Korean War — which remains the largest retreat in U.S. military history, whatever Gen. Smith may have wanted to call it).

Speculation abounds over the governor’s unexpected resignation. Perhaps, she’s opening up her schedule in order to gear up for a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. Maybe she’s got some significant skeletons that are about to make an appearance from the closet. Or maybe she’s genuinely had it with politics and is calling it quits.

If the first of those theories is true, Friday’s resignation has scuttled her ship before it’s even had a chance to sail. She came under fire for being a political novice during the last campaign, and quitting her office before having completed even a single full term as governor is only going to add fuel to the fire. In the case of the second — some kind of upcoming political bombshell on the immediate horizon — then she’s preemptively battening down the hatches, which would suggest a problem bigger than South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s.

In the third case, she’s probably making the right move. She was very obviously out of her depth on the national politics stage — as Mark Purdom’s piece in this month’s Vanity Fair makes clear. The resignation speech itself, as Paul Begala points out, was inane and childish, even in the text version posted on Palin’s own web site.

I fear, however, that we have not heard the last of Sarah Palin. She has her political fundraising group (“SarahPAC”), a “book” on the horizon (heavily edited by publisher Harpur-Collins, if Friday’s speech is any indication of the governor’s own literary ability), and she remains one of the Republican Party’s most profitable audience-pleasers.

And this may indeed be a role the former beauty queen is more cut out for. She’s a spokeswoman, not a politician.

Well, it looks like the ever-reliable DNC has folded on the highly-touted Obama campaign promise to close Guantanamo Bay. I’m getting a little fed up with this “war on terror”-esque backsliding. The move apparently cuts $80 million from the new Defense spending bill, and it also conveniently avoids the issue of transferring detainees to U.S. soil, much to the delight of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

“We will never allow terrorists to be released in the United States.” Asked next, if he could see a day when Guantanamo detainees might be transferred to prisons on American soil, Reid refused to clarify his remarks. “We don’t want them around,” he said.

This reminds me a lot of a George Carlin routine I love:

From POLITICO:

In recent days, Obama has sent mixed signals himself as he sorts through the complexities of how to bring to trial the remaining prisoners. Republicans have used this confusion to play on the localized fears and emotions of voters about prisoners being transferred to prisons in their states.

UPDATE: Maureen Dowd and Mother Jones’ David Corn and Steve Aquino all decided to go with the NIMBY label on this story, too. You read it here first (although Dowd may have had her column out before I posted this).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi apparently was made aware of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in September of 2002. Or maybe she wasn’t, exactly. If she was aware of the possible use of torture, even in the near future — and even in the much more pro-torture environment of 2002 — she acted cowardly in failing to speak out against it.

Pelosi may have been briefed on enhanced interrogation techniques in 2002, but so what?

Pelosi may have been briefed on "enhanced interrogation techniques" in 2002, but so what?

Isn’t that the end of the discussion with regard to the speaker’s role? Pelosi’s credibility on torture may be ruined, but that does not in any way exonerate Republicans and the previous administration for their culpability in instituting the program, which in addition to being ineffective, is also morally reprehensible.

For some reason, though, the debate has shifted to San Fran Nan, whose public statements have never been difficult to ridicule. And as Mother Jones points out, the story of the briefings she may have recieved on the torture issue is old news — as old as anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan’s unsuccessful run against her in her hometown.

This is a rather crude attempt at political slight-of-hand that Republicans are using to try to squirm out of the heat that’s been brought down upon them following the release of the so-called Torture Memos, which detail the methods used against terror suspects such as Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was apparently waterboarded 183 times in the month following his arrival at Guantanamo Bay (here’s a report from Fox News explaining why that isn’t all that terrible, anyway).

The sick thing is, it’s working. We’re not talking about who authorized torture and why it was wrong, we’re talking about what Pelosi knew and when.

(By the way, -100 points to whoever wrote the headline on that MSNBC link: “Pelosi’s stands by torture statements.”)

CNN Political Ticker: All politics, all the time Blog Archive – Limbaugh to Powell: ‘Become a Democrat’ « – Blogs from CNN.com.

Rush Limbaugh, still furious over former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s backing of Barack Obama in the last election, told the retired general that he should “close the loop and become a Democrat.”

The incoherent Limbaugh is simultaneously claiming that Powell’s endorsement of Obama was “solely based on race,” and that Powell is only pretending to be a Republican.

Well, which is it, Rush?