Opinion: Gravitas -- Karl Rove says Sarah Palin doesn’t have it; hockey mom says she will run if there’s nobody else


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Gravitas. Webster’s dictionary says that gravitas means ‘high seriousness (as in a person’s bearing or in the treatment of a subject).’ One of its examples is ‘The new leader has an air of gravitas that commands respect.’

Former Bush advisor Karl Rove thinks the new(ish) leader and hockey mom Sarah Palin might have many things, but gravitas isn’t on the top of the list.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, the man affectionately known as Turd Blossom said the former Alaska governor was fine as Sen. John McCain’s running mate in 2008, but being commander-in-chief is a different story.


‘Being the vice presidential nominee on the ticket is different from saying, ‘I want to be the person at the top of the ticket,’ ‘ Rove told the British newspaper. ‘There are high standards that the American people have for [the presidency] and they require a certain level of gravitas, and they want to look at the candidate and say, ‘That candidate is doing things that give me confidence that they are up to the most demanding job in the world.’’

And strangely, palling around with wild grizzlies and fishing in the Alaskan wilderness for a cable TV series doesn’t impress Bush’s Brain either when it comes to thinking about the next Republican nominee for president.

“With all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of ‘that helps me see you in the Oval Office,’’ Rove said.

Palin isn’t the first female conservative embraced by the ‘tea party’ whom Rove has dissed. In September, Rove -- often hailed for putting Bush in office and keeping him there for two terms -- observed that Delaware GOP Senate nominee Christine O’Donnell says ‘nutty things’ and said Republicans shouldn’t support her.

‘It does conservatives little good to support candidates who, at the end of the day, while they may be conservative in their public statements, do not evince the characteristics of rectitude and truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for,’ Rove told Fox’s Sean Hannity. ‘One thing that O’Donnell is now going to have to answer in the general election that she didn’t in the primary is her own checkered background.’

Back in September when Rove attacked O’Donnell, Palin advised him and other conservatives to ‘put aside internal power grabs and greed and egos’ and ‘buck up.’

‘I have absolutely nothing against Karl Rove or any of the guys who have much fatter political resumes than I will ever have,’ Palin told Fox News last month, ‘but ... they need to realize that the time for primary debate is now obviously over, and it’s time for unity because the time for choosing is here.’

Rove might not have anything to worry about. When asked recently by ‘Entertainment Tonight’s’ Mary Hart if she is considering running in 2012, Palin said that she would if ‘there’s nobody else to do it.’

She would also need to feel good about several other factors. ‘It’s going to entail a discussion with my family [and] a real close look at the lay of the land, to consider whether there are those with that common sense, conservative, pro-Constitution passion, whether there are already candidates out there who can do the job ... or whether there’s nobody willing to do it, to make the tough choices and not care what the critics are going to say about you, just going forward according to what I think the priorities should be,’ Palin told Hart while the two sat in the former governor’s home in Wasilla, Alaska.

Palin can already count on one vote in an important state. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush last month said that he would cast his vote for the maverick if she ran against Obama. Wonder who Rove would vote for?

-- Tony Pierce