Sarah Palin isn't ready for the presidency... yet, says Quin Hillyer in The American Spectator. She has far too little political experience, and her limited record, including two spotty years as Alaska's governor, is troubling. Still, says Hillyer, Palin has "the right stuff" to be a strong conservative presidential candidate — "the right values, the right determination, the right gumption, the right toughness" — as long as she and her supporters have the patience to wait while she prepares herself. In a fiery reaction to Hillyer's argument, The Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan says the only reason that a "delusional, ignorant nutcase" like Palin has become a national political figure is that she's escaped scrutiny by constructing a "sealed media cocoon." Here's an excerpt from Hillyer's piece:
"Sarah Palin, 55 percent unfavorable poll ratings notwithstanding, is a political phenomenon the likes of which American public life rarely has seen. There's something distinctive, something deeply personal, about the way her legions of strong supporters rush not just to defend her but to counter-attack any and all of her critics. Palin has a way of establishing a sense of connectedness with her backers — such a strong, attitudinal sense that she is not just like them but one of them — that she has created what amounts to a one-woman, conservative "identity politics" writ very, very large.
Yet if conservatives are to continue a political love affair with this admirable and galvanizing woman, we need to insist on more than mere identity. And more than mere attitude.
We know that Sarah Palin shares our conservative values. But is she the leader conservatives need?"