GOP officials wonder: What is Palin accomplishing with this bus tour?

Even Republicans who are critical of Palin concede that she has made a career – and a rather successful one – out of breaking political rules. Now, though, she appears to be in danger of crossing the fine line between flouting expectations and just flat-out ignoring the essential mechanics of the political process.

Palin hasn’t made it particularly easy for fans to seek her out, interacting with supporters largely at impromptu events that haven’t been announced in advance. That means she’s not just blowing off officials, but also regular voters. While the media can’t quit Palin, there are many more GOP voters and activists who won’t try twice to meet a candidate…

Former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen, who noted that “the normal laws of political gravity don’t seem to apply to Sarah Palin,” said the catch-me-if-you-can act has to end sooner or later, all the same.

“At some point the establishment has to be paid its due,” he said. “She gets sort of an initial pass, but at some point the goodwill gets used up.”

That point may have been this week, when Palin stole the political spotlight and gave little in return to either her party’s establishment or its grassroots.