Karl Rove who successfully guided President Bush to the White House twice, was remarkably cold on Sarah Palin's decision to resign as governor of Alaska during an appearance on Fox News Sunday. The former Bush strategist and current Republican commentator argued that it was "not clear" what Palin's strategy was in resigning just two-and-a-half years into office, adding that the move was risky,m left her vulnerable to her critics, and would damage her chances of becoming president.
"I think it hurts," Rove told host Chris Wallace. "When you're a sitting governor, you have the tactical advantage if you're thinking about running for president of turning down a lot of things with an excuse that people will accept. 'I've got a job to do as governor.' She's now removed that. Now the expectations are going to be she's going to be fully available, she's going to be able to come to the lower 48, and she's going to be able to do whatever people ask her to do. And that's going to be a problem. It raises the expectations. It's also unclear what her strategy is. Again, she said she wanted to lead effective change outside of government. Well, now people will be saying what is it you mean by that and how are you demonstrating effective leadership for change around America? I'm like Governor [Mike] Huckabee. I'm a fan of Sarah Palin's, but the effective strategies in politics are ones that are so clear and obvious that people can grasp it."
The remarks were clearly premised on the notion that Palin would be running for the Republican nomination for president in 2012. Defenders of the Alaska Republican have argued that her resignation would clear her schedule to establish the firm political roots needed to mount a White House bid. Certainly it saves her from being stuck in Alaska at a time when she wants to build a national structure in the lower 48 states.
"This does give her a chance to travel the country, campaign for Republicans in 2010 ... and study up on issues," said Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, later on the program. "I think she could have a very strong year and a half if she is disciplined... but it is high risk. She is clearly all in here and there is no safety net."
Rove argued that having three-and-a-half years outside of government to run for the White House would create too many tensions and expectations for Palin to satisfy.
"She's putting herself in a place where unless she comes up with something new and novel that demonstrates leadership for effective change outside of government, as she said in her speech, then she's going to be conventional," Rove said. "She cannot simply count on going around and collecting chits by campaigning for Republican candidates in 2010. ... She also, I repeat, has lost control of her time. She had the excuse of saying, 'I'm the governor I've got things to do.' Now people will be clamoring for her and the expectations will be out of sight."