Sarah Palin has been called the new face of conservative politics and a possible Republican presidential candidate. But, lately, she's made a series of controversial endorsements that has political analysts and even some Republican strategists questioning "the shrinking powers of Palin's fairy dust." Vaughn Ward, her gaffe-prone pick for the Idaho congressional GOP primary went down in flames despite a 6-to-1 fundraising advantage and an "11th hour" Palin intervention — and her pick for governor in South Carolina, Nikki Haley, has been embroiled in accusations that she had an affair with a political blogger. Is Palin damaging her own image with ill-considered alliances? (Watch Palin's ad in support of Nikki Haley)

Yes, Palin's "brand is toast": "It’s early in the campaign season, but these car wrecks on the Palin highway are piling up," says Timothy Egan in The New York Times. Vaughn Ward, the "Palin protege" in Idaho turned out to be "willfully ignorant. When told that Puerto Rico was not a country [as he'd suggested], he said, 'I don’t care what you call it.'" Then there's Clint Didier, the Palin-endorsed Senate candidate in Washington who slams government spending while pocketing $140,000 in farm subsidies. "Whenever a candidate with the Palin blessing blows up, she blames it on the 'lamestream media,' not personal responsibility."
"The Palin brand"

Dismiss Palin at your peril: For a woman dismissed as a dolt by Democrats and many mainstream Republicans, says Mark McKinnon in The Daily Beast, Sarah Palin "sure gets flattered with obsessive attention by her opponents and the media." That's probably because Palin's brand is "resonating with an increasingly vocal electoral bloc." Palin and the other GOP women she calls the "mama grizzlies" — including Rep. Michele Bachmann (MN) and Gov. Jan Brewer (AZ) — seem to be some of the only politicians out there "who are tough enough to say exactly what they think."
"Sarah Palin's 'mama grizzlies'"

The jury's still out on whether Palin has lost her touch: Even Sarah Palin's "fellow Republicans have noticed" these endorsement fiascos, says Andy Kroll in Mother Jones. After Palin endorsed former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina in the California Republican Senate primary, GOP political strategist Matt Rexroad posted on Facebook that "if Sarah Palin endorsed me I would be too embarrassed to tell anyone." That smarts, but let's wait to see how Fiorina and other remaining Palin-backed candidates fare "before deciding whether Palin's support amounts to a golden touch or the kiss of death."
"Sarah Palin's endorsement curse"