Nominate Palin and we'll lose 44 states

Yet Sarah Palin, who with 17 months remaining in her single term as Alaska’s governor quit the only serious office she has ever held, is obsessively discussed as a possible candidate in 2012. Why? She is not going to be president and will not be the Republican nominee unless the party wants to lose at least 44 states.

Conservatives, who rightly respect markets as generally reliable gauges of consumer preferences, should notice that the political market is speaking clearly: The more attention Palin receives, the fewer Americans consider her presidential timber. The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows that 71 percent of Americans — including 52 percent of Republicans — think she is not qualified to be president.

This is not her fault. She is what she is, and what she is merits no disdain. She is feisty and public-spirited, and millions of people vibrate like tuning forks to her rhetoric. When she was suddenly forced to take a walk on the highest wire in America’s political circus, she showed grit.

She also showed that grit is no substitute for seasoning.