A comparison of this Andrew Sullivan and this Ross Douthat post re: Palin is an instructive exercise. I find myself more on the Sullivan side–particularly this dangerous emphasis on strength and truthiness (which even Ross finds disquieting), i.e. the Dubya-ization of the Republican Party/our politics.
I think relative to Ross’ point about how the real Anakin Palin is in there (the reformer) whose only been turned Vader-esque by the Emperor McCain (or is it Steve Schmidt?) and can still be saved, I’d half agree.
Namely she strikes me as a careerist pol. She is uber-ambitious and seems to me willing to do whatever/say whatever she needs to do to get power. So IF the kind of party/reformist agenda Douthat advocates (and I generally support–at least on heterodox economic views) were to become electorally viable and the Republican Party after having a lost were open to such a shift in order to re-gain power, then I can absolutely see Palin becoming that kind of politician/voice. But I don’t think it’s because that’s who she really is deep down more just because that is what would be in her political interest to do. And she could pull it off given her life story, it would look legit, so all the better. I tend to think she ran her reformer/anti-Republican corruption campaign in Alaska because she screwed over for her spot in the party machinery–i.e. she should be a Federal Senator right now.
On a broader note, I’ve been getting more new readers of late discussing these topics, (welcome folks!!!) so for the benefit of those (or anyone who doesn’t know) I’ll say that while I have a deep affection for a number of conservative philosophers and thinkers (both historical and current blogger types), I’m in the Andrew Sullivan–John Cole school re: The Republican Party. Namely that it is a poison in the political body and that it should die a horrible death so that it can become resurrected (hopefully) as a party of serious human beings who are not driven by gut-instinct, ideology, put short term political gain over a serious proposal for governance of the country relative to the actual problems of today (as opposed to say the ones of the 1970s). And while I disagree with the Democrats on a number of points, I’ll take them over the alternative at this point. They’ll screw some things up to be sure, but I have no sense they can f–k up as badly as the Republicans have and will in my mind continue to do under a McCain-Palin administration.
Edit I: While the stuff about Trig was out of bounds imo, I generally agree with Ta-Nehisi Coates that last night’s Palin interview validated some of Sullivan’s key points vis a vis Palin and countered the charge of him being (on the whole) hysterical.