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Put down your best guesses for when, why, and how Sarah Palin will bail from the GOP ticket. Here’s mine:

When: Friday, September 5, 2008, at 8:30 PM Central Daylight Time

Why: Take advantage of the standard Friday afternoon/evening news black hole, and hope that Tropical Storms Hanna and Ike suck up as much media attention as possible, much as Hurricane Gustav helped keep her story from getting maximum media play over the last weekend.

How: A tearful Peggy-Noonanesque dolphins-and-rainbows speech about how she suddenly remembered that she has a special-needs infant that she should be bonding with at this early stage in his life:

"When John McCain asked me to be his running mate, it was a great honor that I literally could not refuse. These past few days have been among the most treasured of my life. But I have concluded, and God has ordained, that my duty lies at home in Alaska with my family and our newest addition, Trig, with all his blessedness…"

She might get in a few jabs at That Evil Jewish Secular Liberal Media, but I doubt it — her job here is to pretend that she’s bowing out of the ticket for actual personal reasons, not because she should never have been put on it in the first place. If she makes any reference to the controversies surrounding her, she makes it clear that they are the real reason for her stepping down — and that she cannot do, because the whole point of her being jettisoned now is to keep these controversies from spending too much time in the public eye and eating into the public’s opinion of McCain’s judgement.

Caveat: If she isn’t booted off the ticket, it’s because a) it’s too late to repair the damage anyway, and/or b) she provides McCain with the perfect scapegoat for his failed campaign when it augers into the ground in November: "I could have won if only I’d been allowed to pick my good buddy Joe Lieberman!"