Hot dang! Sarah Palin has bowed to the inevitable and announced that she won't be running for the Republican nomination in next year's United States presidential elections.
The former Alaska Governor had said for months she was keeping her options open, despite polls consistently showing that she would have no chance of being approved by the Republican Party to lead its ticket against President Barack Obama.
Announcing her decision not to join the race for nomination, she said she would work behind the scenes to help elect "other true public servants to office".
In the mid-term elections last November, Palin proved singularly successful in promoting Tea Party-backed candidates across the country. But few had expected her to sacrifice her lucrative career as a Fox News commentator to hit the campaign trail to seek the presidency.
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"In the coming weeks I will help co-ordinate strategies to assist in replacing the President, retaking the Senate and maintaining the House," Palin said in a statement in which she stressed that her "family comes first". But her announcement - which had been expected although the timing was uncertain - was soon eclipsed by the death of Apple's visionary former chief executive Steve Jobs.
For those examining the Tea (Party) leaves, Palin's train of thought had been clear since an interview at the end of last month with Greta van Susteren on Fox News, when she suggested that she might feel constrained by the presidency.
"Is a title and a campaign too shackle-y?," she said. "Does that prohibit me from being out there, out of a box, not allowing handlers to shape me and to force my message to be what donors or what contributors or what pundits want it to be? Does a title take away my freedom to call it like I see it and to effect positive change that we need in this country? That's the biggest contemplation piece in my process."
Her withdrawal means the Republican field is set. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's announcement that he will not seek the nomination means former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney will continue to fight for the lead in the polls as the party slides towards an uninspiring and lacklustre choice.
Many in the Republican Party will be breathing a sigh of relief, now that the maverick Palin has decided against running.
But Palin is a double-edged sword: even out of the race, for many establishment candidates running for election or re-election as governors or in Congress, she will remain a potent threat by backing conservative candidates in Republican primaries.
The Tea Party is not finished with America yet.