My first impression of Sarah Palin was that she is the most libertarian-leaning of all four major-party candidates. Others are starting to weigh in with the same impression, noting that, for example, she vetoed 300 pork projects in her first year in office. She is also, of course, a social conservative. However:
Even when advocating for "moral" issues, Palin's approach is a soft sell. Palin does not support gay marriage (neither does Obama, it should be noted). Yet, in 2006, Palin's first veto as Governor was a bill that sought to block state employee benefits and health insurance for same-sex couples.
We cannot bore into Palin's soul to see her true feelings about gay couples, but, at the time, she noted that signing "this bill would be in direct violation of my oath of office" because it was unconstitutional. For most libertarians, the thought of politician following any constitution, rather than their own predilections, morality or the "common good," is a nice change of pace.
On the counterproductive War on Drugs, Palin is no warrior. Her Republican opponent in 2006 primary, incumbent Republican governor Frank Murkowski, made recriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot a priority. Palin, though she does not support legalization, believes enforcement should not be a high priority.
"I can't claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled," Palin once said. This sort of honesty is a welcome change from the standard hand-wringing about marijuana's supposed disastrous consequences.
Tough on economic issues, soft sell on the moral issues. Not bad, not bad at all. The Republican Party itself has always been a marriage, sometimes smooth, sometimes rocky, between the economic and social conservatives. Here we see it played out in one individual.