I start my reply with the full disclosure that I was the RNC’s Online Communications Director in 2008, and in that capacity had to do a lot of the defending of Palin, both on and off the record.
Now, with that being said, here’s the thing about Sarah Palin: There are actually areas of policy she knows a lot about. I would say energy and good government are foremost among them. Anyone who doubts this should go find a copy of the PBS energy special they ran in 2008, I believe first before she was selected as VP, but also during the convention in Minnesota, and watch the portion(s) of it in which she features. Also, folks should look at various reforms she instituted in Alaska in order to deal with what she likes to call the “old boys’ club” and her general approach to taking out members of said club politically. A look at specific things like her refusal to go along with a proposed ban on same-sex marriage, which was politically popular but also not kosher from a legal perspective, is also merited.
Fact is, she’s not a moron (I’m also not arguing she’s as clever as Bobby Jindal, mind you). But she is someone who has, sadly, abandoned her former persona as a serious, relatively heavyweight leader with a high approval rating (I think when she was nominated VP, she had the highest approval rating of any governor in the US) for the role of political celebrity, critic-in-chief and entertainer. She is probably as good at this as she is taking out members of the old boys’ club in Alaska. However, it (theoretically, anyway) pays better and gets her more praise (and indeed more hate). In this role, she says a lot of inflammatory stuff that comes off as alternately shrewd or daft, and focuses more attention on trolling people than on, say, crafting sound energy policy.
I’d like to see her get back to the way she was, which was no more or less conservative, but was definitely more weighty where policy savvy was concerned. I think it would be good for her personally, for her image, and good for the country.