Palin isn’t going away (at least not yet) because in her own way she represents what Barack Obama represented for many Democrats: someone who stands apart from the corrupt and cynical Washington system that has let true believers down. Republicans remember that Palin stood up against the crooked Republican establishment in Alaska—while out-of touch GOP senators in Washington actually applauded Alaska’s crony-in-chief, Ted “Bridge to Nowhere” Stevens, after he was booted out of office amid scandal.

The rank-and-file are tired of the bland phonies running the GOP. They are tired of Republican compromises that bloated spending and expanded the federal government. And they feel helpless against a team of buddies running each campaign more cynically than the last. GOP voters just might be ready to burn their village down in order to save it. You can almost hear the line now. What’s the difference between a hockey mom and Robespierre? Lipstick.