Some admit their preference that she stay in Alaska and forget about any national ambitions.

“I am of the strong opinion that, at present day, she is not ready to be the leading voice of the GOP,” said Todd Harris, a party strategist who likened Palin to the hopelessly dated “Miami Vice” — something once cool that people regard years later with puzzlement and laughter. “It’s not even that she hasn’t paid her dues. I personally don’t think she’s ready to be commander in chief.”

Others suggest a delayed response to last year’s shaky campaign performance, now that the race is over and Republicans feel free to speak their minds.

“I can’t tell you one thing she brought to the ticket,” said Stuart K. Spencer, who has been advising GOP candidates for more than 40 years. “McCain wanted to shock and surprise people, and he did — in a bad way.”