Sarah Palin has become another litmus test of the cultural divide. She's either a budding superstar or another amiable dunce. This Wall Stree Journal editorial has a more balanced look:
Only 44 years old, and now with a loyal conservative following, Mrs. Palin is nonetheless well-positioned to help shape the Republican future. Her grasp of energy policy suggests she's capable of mastering subjects when she wants to, and if she wants a national future she's going to have to do the same on national issues.
Our advice would be that she also broaden her appeal beyond the politics of cultural division. One unfortunate campaign decision was to turn Mrs. Palin's initial response to press criticism into a consistent theme. The Governor's stump speech took on an us-versus-them cast, framing the election as a battle between the "real America" and blue-state elites. Hard as it may be to believe, New Jersey is part of America too.
This was an odd turn for Mrs. Palin, given her reputation in Alaska of taking on her own party and reaching across the aisle. Her commitment to a set of principles -- cleaning up government, taking on crony capitalism -- is what earned her 90% job approval. Her decision to jettison that appeal in favor of a base-rallying cultural pitch turned off many independents and suburbanites.
The Journal doesn't quite come out and say it, but the implication is that she could become the Ronald Reagan of this generation of Republicans. Maybe close, but not quite. Reagan had a bedrock philosophy and core beliefs that he had shaped over a long lifetime. "Mastering complext subjects" isn't exactly on that level. But she's a gifted politician and a quick study. Those on the left who dismiss her are as dumb as some of them claim she is.