Palin's fatal 2012 flaw

Were I reviewing the tools Barack Obama used to secure victory, I’d note that long before he ran for president, he gave serious foreign policy speeches articulating specific critiques. And despite demonstrating knowledge of the world commensurate with Senator Clinton, an older hand, he still found himself justifiably criticized on the right for a lack of foreign affairs bona fides. As a talented writer at The Weekly Standard once put it, reflecting on The Surge in Iraq, and the 2008 choice between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain, “Contrary to conventional wisdom, experience cannot be separated from judgment. Experience matters,” Mr. Continetti wrote. “It was a lifetime of service and involvement in national security issues that gave McCain the perspective and insight to urge a change in strategy as early as 2003.”

Like candidate Obama, Ms. Palin could conceivably find her popularity rising, despite her thin resume: the American citizenry is increasingly fed up with its governing elites. A healthy response might be to advocate systemic reforms so that elected officials are less often incentivized to sell out regular citizens. But the conservative base has instead seized upon a quixotic candidate from Alaska, invested itself in her dubious incorruptibility, and persuaded itself that if only someone as pure were elected, everything would be different. It’s a bandwagon I’ll never join, having concluded long ago that investing in any politician being different is the toxic asset of our democracy.