The problems with Palin

Her fans have come to view her as the living antithesis of everything they find offensive—the mainstream media, cultural elites, out-of-touch Washington. She so embodies this role that it is no longer clear whether her backers support her in her own right or support her because they so dislike what she dislikes.

Mrs. Palin’s initial mistreatment, by a press (on the right and the left) that was both jeering and patronizing, has in fact resulted in an unfortunate phenomenon. It has allowed Mrs. Palin to dismiss any criticism of her—no matter how straightforward—as yet more hostility from opponents, or as hoity-toity blather from inside-the-Beltway mopes.

This isn’t healthy. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty—all have already been through the wringer, and at the hands of conservatives focused on obtaining a competent nominee. If Mrs. Palin wants the most powerful job on the planet, she shouldn’t be averse to the same critical questioning…

Whatever you think of Mr. Romney’s health-care plan, at least he’s got one. Mr. Gingrich may not be brave on Medicare reform, but he’s willing to get into specifics. What is Mrs. Palin’s position on Social Security? What’s her idea of corporate tax reform? How would she handle Pakistan? Good leaders inspire, but they also perspire over the painful nitty-gritty of policy. If Mrs. Palin gets in, she starts from way behind.