This smart take on Sarah Palin points to lessons she and others might extract from both campaigns. First, four years is an eternity. The next GOP nominee might be in a state house, for all we know. The last thing anyone wants to see right now is anything that smacks of a presidential campaign. Second, candidates really need to be about something. Palin will need to define what she is about. quite apart from the McCain campaign. Third, elections are about connecting with people. Even if a candidate can learn policy and hone a message, it does her no good if people ultimately don’t connect with her. (This was also the Mitt Romney lesson.) And finally, it pays to stay away from Washington. The fresher, the more distinctive, and the less burdened by years of deadening time spent in Congress, the better. She has a unique opportunity to do things, but far away from Washington.
She has been caught in the cross fire of an intra-party and intra-pundit war, was the subject of withering media criticism, and attracted more attention than virtually any VP candidate in recent memory. She seems unbowed and unbroken. She, like the party she may want to lead, has work to do and much potential. Luckily for her, conservatives like her more than virtually anyone else in the GOP. That’s not nothing.