Washington, July 4 (ANI): Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s decision to resign from office when she still has more than a year left to complete her term, has evoked mixed reactions.
Palin’s decision to quit at the end of the month has left political observers scratching their heads and wondering whether this is the beginning of her run for the White House in 2012, or the end her career in politics.
Palin shot into the national spotlight last year when John McCain chose her as his running mate on the Republican presidential ticket. And she shot to the top of the GOP’s list of potential 2012 presidential contenders the day after the Republican ticket lost the November election.
“I am real surprised. It is real unconventional,” William Kristol, said the editor of The Weekly Standard.
“It would make sense to finish the governorship and then run for president in 2012. It’s a huge gamble — but some of her gambles have paid off in the past,” he told Fox News.
“Either Sarah Palin is leaving the people of Alaska high and dry to pursue her long shot national political ambitions or she simply can’t handle the job,” Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse said in a written statement.
“I know that liberals attack the most prominent and most likely Republican nominee,” said Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas.
Palin said the decision to resign had been in the works for a while, and she acknowledged the intensity of the media spotlight.
“You are naive if you don’t see a full-court press from national level hitting away right now,” she said.
Lanny Davis, Democratic consultant and a former Clinton White House adviser, said: “The problem that Sarah Palin has with her resignation is the credibility that she can do more as a non-governor than as a governor. That simply makes no sense.”
“I think her basic problem in politics is not her intellect. I think her problem is most Americans, including a lot of Republicans, do not believe she is qualified to be president,” he added.
Larry Sabato, the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia, said: “If she wants to run for president, what she’s done is hand a tremendous two-by-four to all of her opponents, Democrats and Republicans alike.”
Palin announced she will resign from her post on July 26.
John Weaver, a longtime McCain friend, told the Washington Post, “We’ve seen a lot of nutty behavior from governors and Republican leaders in the last three months, but this one is at the top of that.”
“Good point guards don’t quit and walk off the floor if the going gets tough,” said John Weaver, a former senior strategist for McCain.
“Today’s move falls further into the weirdness category; people don’t like a quitter,” he added.
“I think she is trying to determine how she can better get to where she’d like to be. And she figures that if she resigns, people can’t be taking so many potshots at her,” said Speaker Mike Chenault of the Alaska Legislature.
“It caught everybody by surprise,” the New York Times quoted former Alaska House majority leader, Ralph Samuels, a Republican, as saying.
Samuels is contemplating a run for governor in 2010.
“I’ve had a million calls today from friends, all political junkies, and everyone is asking the same questions: Is it national ambition, or does she want time to write the book, or is she just tired of it? Don’t have a clue,” he said.
John Coale, a prominent trial lawyer and Democrat who helped Palin create her political action committee, said in an interview that he had been given no advance word of her decision.
Andrew Halcro, a former Republican state legislator who ran against Palin as an independent in 2006, said: “From a purely logical standpoint, this doesn’t make sense.”
In its report, the Washington Post said that Alaska’s Republican governor has a flair for the theatrical — and plays by her own rules.
It said Palin’s decision to exit the governorship was as sudden and unexpected as her arrival on the national stage.
One strategist who assumes she has presidential aspirations called the decision to resign her office “puzzling,” and another described it as “nutty.”
“If this is about running for president, it’s about as odd a way as we’ve ever seen,” said John Weaver, a Republican strategist.
“My contrarian take is, almost everyone I talk to thinks it’s crazy, but I wonder maybe it’s crazy like a fox,” said Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, who has been defending Palin this past week.
A Republican strategist who got to know her over the past year, and who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to offer a candid opinion, said: “She has a base in the party that’s motivated like no one else’s, and this decision won’t bother them. I don’t know if she’ll run. I don’t know if she could win if she ran. But I’m sure she has a shot.”
CBS News opined that Palin, after her electoral defeat in November, has loathed the new dynamic that has greeted her in Alaska.
It said that during her first year-and-a-half as governor, Palin seemingly could do no wrong as she frequently reached across the aisle to Democrats, racked up a string of high-profile legislative successes, and caught the eye of John McCain when she challenged the Republican presidential nominee’s views on drilling in ANWR during their first face to face meeting in February of 2008.
But her beloved Alaska has been anything but accommodating since the McCain/Palin campaign’s electoral defeat in November.
She has been under a constant barrage of attacks there from critics, who have been joined by many of the same people who had once been her political allies.
CBS says that Palin is poised to travel the country, helping Republican candidates and making political friends along the way.
“Until evidence surfaces to the contrary, it seems apparent that Sarah Palin simply decided enough was enough. Though this unorthodox move will raise further questions about her judgment, her conservative base will continue to support her no matter what she does next,” the television channel said. (ANI)