Sarah Palin's political future seems to be in question now more than ever since she announced her resignation as Alaska's governor, but prominent conservative Rush Limbaugh says it is too early to count her out of the 2012 presidential race.
(AP Photo/Joe Burbank)
"I don't think this precludes her running for office down the road, the presidency, in 2012, at all," Limbaugh said in a radio interview over the weekend with Brian Maloney of the Radio Equalizer. "I think these people saying she's an instant target because she quit is just inside the beltway formulaic. And she's not that."
While in her announcement Palin suggested she remains interested in the national political arena, many Washington veterans are doubtful about whether resigning from her post was the best way for her to remain a serious national political figure. George W. Bush's former chief political aide Karl Rove and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee both expressed their doubts over the weekend over Palin's move -- Rove called it a "risky strategy."
When asked on CBS' "The Early Show" what his reaction to Palin's resignation was, Dan Bartlett, former aide to George W. Bush, said, "Just that: What?" He added, though, that "there's a core part of our party that really does appreciate what she brings to the table."
Limbaugh echoed that sentiment: "If anything, this woman's M.O. is outside-the-box, not formulaic, so until we know what this is all about, I think it's just everybody being the smartest person in the room," he said. "All I know she is going to continue to fire up people."
While Palin is facing increasing criticism in Alaska, she has managed to stay in the national spotlight since her vice presidential run in 2008.
"It boils down to this," Limbaugh said. "When you have so many establishment types, inside the beltway, establishment, elitist types.... just so eager to destroy this woman, it means they're still scared to death of her, and that to me, is the bottom line, and I'm living proof that if you do things outside of the box.... you don't have to be part of a formula."
Indeed, even while earning low popularity ratings from practicing his own form of polarizing politics, Limbaugh has managed to win the respect of prominent politicians like former Vice President Dick Cheney and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele.