[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/05/art.palinwave0705.gi.jpg caption="Republican strategist Karl Rove said Sunday that Gov. Sarah Palin's decision to step down risky and not clear."]
(CNN) - The "architect" of George W. Bush's successful presidential campaigns has questions about Sarah Palin's resignation as governor.
"It's a risky strategy," Republican campaign mastermind Karl Rove told "Fox News Sunday."
Palin's unexpected announcement Friday that she will step down with 18 months left in her first term has left many in her party "a little perplexed," said Rove, whom Bush dubbed "The Architect" for managing his two victorious campaigns in 2000 and 2004.
Palin, who was John McCain's surprise vice presidential candidate in the 2008 election, said she already knew she would not seek a second term, and decided against being a lame duck governor for the next 18 months.
She also complained that too much time and taxpayer expense was going toward fighting ethics investigations, and that the mainstream media continued with unfair attacks on her and her family.
Some analysts believe Palin will seek the 2012 Republican nomination, and that her resignation is intended to free her to prepare.
Rove said stepping down now won't lessen the media spotlight, and in fact takes away her platform as governor for controlling her agenda and message.
"The media, if she wants to run for president, is going to be following her for the next 3-1/2 years," Rove said.
He called her move unclear and therefore a potentially harmful strategy for a politician.
"Effective strategies in politics are ones that are so clear and obvious that people can grasp," Rove said. "It's not clear what she's doing and why."
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska criticized Palin's decision as abandoning the state's voters. Palin defeated Murkowski's father in winning the gubernatorial election in 2006.
But Alaska Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, also on the Fox program, said Sunday that Murkowski's statement disappointed him because it failed to recognize all that Palin has accomplished in her 2-1/2 years in office.
"She doesn't need a title to effect change and bring some hope to people who need it," said Parnell, a Republican who stands to become governor with Palin's resignation.
In an Independence Day message to supporters, Palin said she was leaving office for a "higher calling."
"How sad that Washington and the media will never understand; it's about country," Palin said in a statement attributed to her on her Facebook page. "And though it's honorable for countless others to leave their positions for a higher calling and without finishing a term, of course we know by now, for some reason a different standard applies for the decisions I make. But every American understands what it takes to make a decision because it's right for all, including your family."
Palin said her administration had "accomplished more during this one term than most governors do in two."
"We have accomplished so much and there's much more to do, but my family and I determined after prayerful consideration that sacrificing my title helps Alaska most," she said. "And once I decided not to run for re-election, my decision was that much easier - I've never been one to waste time or resources."
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008, noted that Palin will remain in the media spotlight regardless of whether she is governor.
"The challenge that she's going to have is that there will be people who will say, look, if they chased you out of this, it won't get any easier at other levels," Huckabee said. "It could be a brilliant strategy. The point is we don't know."
Huckabee called a presidential campaign "brutal," and said a Republican primary will ratchet up the pressure on Palin.
"When your opponents within your own team spend millions of dollars to redefine you, it's very very difficult," Huckabee said.