Not that anyone has asked recently, but among my least favorite movies is Godfather Part III. It was so awful that, when young Mary Corleone (Sofia Copolla) got gunned down at the end, my audience stood and applauded. And yet, a scene still stays with me. It’s when Michael (Al Pacino) angrily realizes that, instead of going legit, he must return to the Mafia life. “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”

That’s exactly how I feel about Sarah Palin.

In yesterday’s USA Today poll 66 percent of Republicans stated they want Sarah Palin to run for the GOP nomination in 2012. Given her flakiness, I think 100 percent of Democrats do. But all that may have changed when “Sarah Barracuda” (her Wasilla High basketball nickname) announced she was resigning as Alaska’s Governor.

Breathlessly, Sarah gave a rambling, rather confused speech standing in front of her lovely Lake Lucille home with wild fowl honking in the background. It was surreal. Fox News ran a crawl on screen but instead of “Palin to resign” it read, “Palin not seeking 2nd term.” Distortion anyone?

Defensive throughout, Sarah’s announcement came on July Fourth weekend. Ironically, it was after another holiday, Father’s Day, when GOP presidential hopeful Gov. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) made an equally shocking announcement. He admitted that he lied to his staff in saying he was sojourning with nature on the Appalachian Trail. He was sojourning, all right, but with his Argentinean mistress (unless the Appalachian Trail extends to Argentina)?

Tearfully, Gov. Sanford reminisced about the Appalachian Trail. As a teenager he had a chaperone accompany him and friends on hikes for which he charged his buddies $60 a pop. (Tearful because he could have charged more?)

Eight minutes later Sanford finally said, “I’ve been unfaithful to my wife.” Having voted to impeach Bill Clinton (duh), Sanford neglected to acknowledge that for five days he totally abandoned the most crucial job in his state during which a crisis could have occurred.

Sanford’s bizarre speech and my mistress is my “soul mate” revelations, seemed almost normal compared to Palin’s. She listed so many reasons for resigning I needed a scorecard. First, it was the media’s fault as “they’ve been out to get me.” Folks, being asked what newspapers you read is a softball question! “I read them all,” Sarah giggled to Katie Couric, sounding foolish before adding “Actually I read whatever they put in front of me,” which sounded even worse.

Sarah also claimed “partisan politics” drove her to resign. But the Alaska ethics investigations are bi-partisan, with most support coming from Republicans. It reminded me of George Bush, who campaigned as a “uniter not a divider.” And indeed, he united the entire Muslim world against us. So Sarah throws “partisan politics” against the wall to see if it sticks.

Palin said she will be seeking a “higher calling.” I get nervous when I hear politicians say that. “Higher calling” is suspiciously close to “God talks to me.” “Higher calling” got us into the tragic, unnecessary and budget-busting war in Iraq. Then again, Bin Laden says God talks to him too. Poor God is always the fall guy.

Sarah complained that she’s tired of “politics as usual.” And yet in the ‘08 campaign she told the country “some of us are real Americans and some of us are not.” (I’m guessing she’d put me in the “not” category.) She’s also whipped up campaign crowds with “Obama had palled around with terrorists.” Talk about “politics as usual.”

The text of Sarah’s discursive speech was 2,549 words and included 18 exclamation points! As Democratic pundit Paul Begala noted, “Lincoln freed the slaves with 719 words and no exclamation points. Jefferson declared our independence with 1,322 words, and again, no exclamation points.”

If you exclude the vice-presidential campaign, when Sarah resigns on July 26, she will have served 30 months of a four-year term. On your next resume try noting that at your last job you showed up 62 percent of the time.

Financially, Sarah can afford to quit. She’s reportedly getting between $7 million and $11 million for her book and there’s talk of a job with her friends at Fox News. During the ‘08 campaign, Greta Van Sustren interviewed Palin in her kitchen, ate her moose stew (ugh) and went snowmobiling with Todd. (Hopefully it wasn’t in that order.)

But Ms. Barracuda is fighting back like the mavericky maverick she is. The “Quitter from Twitter” reportedly has sent out tweets threatening to sue journalists who report rumors concerning the ethics investigations. Frankly, I’m a little nervous. When Sarah told Katie that she “reads all the newspapers” what if that included the Daily Press? I’ve eaten humble pie before, but no way am I going to eat moose stew.

Jack can be reached at Jackneworth@yahoo.com.

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