Really? I hadn’t noticed. Do go on.

I understand that a great many of Palin’s supporters, myself included, have felt on the defensive for a while. The media genuinely hates this woman. The left is more revolted by Palin than they ever were by Bush.

I get that.

But I also get that there are Republicans who like — even love — Sarah Palin who think some of her handlers might not give her the best of advice or think she should or should not do one thing or another. And i’m finding, both from personal experience and the experience of friends, that when those points are brought up, the person raising the point is often inappropriately attacked as a Palin hater…

If the people who love Sarah Palin and lack the discernment to distinguish between real attacks and honest criticism or suggestions fly off the handle at everything other than unwavering support, they are going to have a hard time being advocates for Governor Palin in the future. With all the attacks against her by the media and the left, she is going to need all of us defending her.

Attacking me or any other Palin supporter for saying something in public we think needs to be said is fair from the love and war standpoint, but when the rest of team can’t have a rational conversation because everything other than hagiography is viewed as an attack, why even be on the team?

The punchline: Someone posted the link on Free Republic with the subhead, “Whose side is Red State on, anyway?” I’m actually shocked that this piece didn’t get wider play in the media today considering who wrote it. It’s Erick Erickson, who was on Colbert last week, is regularly treated as a spokesman in the media for tea partiers and other grassroots conservatives, and is given to saying things like, “The top priority right now is beating the Republican Establishment.” Not a guy who’s known for carrying water for Beltway GOPers. Yet even his conservative cred is suspect for uttering an occasional discouraging word about Sarahcuda.

Exit question: How did she get to this rare, exalted, and enviable position? Erickson’s surely right that part of it comes from an instinct of wanting to defend her after the relentless media nastiness towards her, but obviously it’s more than that. Is it cultural identification, that she’s blue-collar and familiar in a way that most cookie-cutter pols aren’t, which makes the slings and arrows of liberal “elites” sting twice as much? Is it a function of the leadership vacuum in the GOP, with the emergence of someone young and charismatic such a precious thing that some supporters will do battle with anyone who risks upsetting that? Is it just that she really is more unshakably conservative in her policies than anyone else? (If so, how come she went along with the McCain campaign’s stance on having a path to legalization for illegals?) I’m not quite as supportive of her as Erickson seems to be, but I do like her personally — and yet of course I get all the “Palin-hater” stuff thrown at me too when I dare to post, say, a poll that shows her numbers sinking. Here’s a better exit question, in fact: If even a guy as pro-Palin and pro-grassroots as Erickson is getting tired of this, why are Palin’s fiercest supporters so confident that it’s not going to create a wider backlash against her even among conservatives who might otherwise be well disposed towards her? Isn’t that a pretty good pro-Palin argument to mellow out?