Sarah Palin's decision not to run for president in 2012 didn't exactly come as a surprise — she had already said the demands of a campaign might be too "shackle-y" for her maverick spirit. But her fans were still dismayed by this week's news that she's officially out, even though polls suggested that Palin stood little chance of winning the Republican nomination or the general election against President Obama. Is Palin just waiting for her moment, or is this the end of her career in elected politics?

Palin's political career is over: Palin's "political career was brief, bizarre, and sordid," says David Frum at FrumForum. "But now at least it is definitively finished." She "exploited, abused, or embarrassed almost everyone who believed in her" since she quit as governor of Alaska and started cashing in on her fame. Even before she bowed out this week, her political voice had dwindled. "Now it will sink altogether into inaudibility."
"Palin: Already almost forgotten"

She is still a force to be reckoned with: The "haters" have been writing Palin's political obituary for years, says David Brody at National Review. But she's "young enough to run in 2016 if Obama gets a second term. Heck, she can run in 2020 and age wouldn't be a problem." And even if she never puts her name on another ballot, she'll still play a big role leading the movement to "remake the Republican Party into a band of constitutional conservatives."
"Sarah Palin's future"

It's hard to imagine politics without her: "It would be a mistake to assume the political class won't have Sarah Palin to kick around anymore," say Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns at Politico. It's true that she looks like a losing candidate now, but she still has enough fans to play kingmaker should she decide to endorse somebody during the Republican primary fight. And while she's suffering from "extreme overexposure" now, if she disappears from view long enough to rehabilitate her image... who knows?
"5 questions about Sarah Palin"