Todd Purdum’s new “hard-hitting" Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin has reignited a high-profile “Republican family feud,” said Jonathan Martin in Politico. GOP pundit Bill Kristol accused McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt of feeding Purdum anonymous quotes about Palin’s “mental state” and possible post-partum depression; Schmidt accused Kristol of libel. This “blistering” rehash of 2008 could be a preview of an insider feud over Palin in 2012.

That’s why Purdum’s “lurid” article is more than a 2008 “post-mortem,” said Chris Good in The Atlantic. Sarah Palin ties with Mike Huckabee as the most popular politician among Republicans, so her “political fortunes are still very much alive.” The question now is whether she can expand her base. Her 2008 national debut was probably a mixed blessing, but the “aftermath is now hers.”

In that sense, Purdum’s “nasty little hit piece” could be good news for Sarah Palin, said Carol Platt Liebau in Townhall. One explanation for his article is that his audience—liberal “coastal elites”—are “afraid of Palin as a potential candidate.” If so, Purdum’s ”contempt and condescension” will just push normal Americans—not just Republicans—to drop any “lingering doubts” about Palin.

Purdum goes out of his way to not count Sarah Palin "out of the political game,” said Dave Cook in The Christian Science Monitor, but Republicans might want to listen to his description of her as “at once the sexiest and the riskiest brand in the Republican Party” before they decide if 2012 is the year they get their luck back.