Reacting to Gov. Sarah Palin’s stunning resignation announcement Friday, political analyst and best-selling author Dick Morris said the former vice presidential candidate is likely freeing herself up for a run for the U.S. Senate next year or the presidency in 2012.
But Morris, a Newsmax columnist and one of the leading political minds in the United States, said he would not have advised Palin to resign in the middle of her term. It opens her up to charges that she is a quitter and reinforces an image of her as “flaky” in the mainstream media.
Morris declined to speculate what effect this could have on the GOP, which he said should be focusing on stopping President Barack Obama’s policies in healthcare and other areas. Palin is a formidable figure, he said, and if the GOP mounts a strong defense against Obama she’ll be one of many promising candidates in 2012.
“I think she felt too moored to Alaska and she had to get out of there to solidify her national and international credentials,’’ Morris said. “But that opens yourself up to the attack that you’ve only served half your term, two years. What kind of basis is that to think you could be president?
“I think it would have been better to serve out her term – I think it’s better to get that experience under your belt,” Morris said.
Still digesting the surprising news Friday just after Palin’s announcement, Morris offered four possibilities behind Palin’s reasoning:Palin could be preparing to challenge Sen. Lisa Murkowski in the Republican primary in 2010. Palin defeated Murkowski’s father, former Gov. Frank Murkowski, in the 2006 Republican primary.She’s fed up with politics because of “all the personal garbage she’s been subject to” and could be looking at a career as an author or even TV personality.She wants to run full-time for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.Now is simply not a good time to be governor because every state is facing shortfalls and Palin is dealing with a hostile legislature and Democratic critics who have showered her with unfounded ethics complaints.
“And then of course there’s the possibility of something we don’t know about, and in that case, we’ll just have to see,” Morris said.
But Morris was perplexed over how resigning in the middle of her term would help her in a presidential run, and who would have given her such advice among political professionals.
“I don’t see how this helps her other than to take her out of the line of fire as a governor, but she did need all the experience she can get,” Morris said. “She’s been the mayor of a town of 7,000 people except for two and a half years as governor.
“It’s not at all clear how this helps her.”
Morris said he was aware through contacts close to Palin that she was very sensitive about using her office to increase her national exposure. She was always bothered that she wasn’t given enough time to Alaska’s issues, a problem she hinted at in her short statement Friday.
Palin was also up against the insurmountable fact of Alaska’s geography – every political trip or conference would mean more days away from her state than the average governor would face in the lower 48.
“She was getting a lot of criticism about being out of state too much,’’ Morris said. “It’s not like the governor of New York where you can just hop down to Washington for a few hours and be back in the evening.
“I think maybe she was being too tied to the governorship and not being able to develop her image as a national person or develop credentials in foreign affairs,’’ Morris said.
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