It’s obvious that Palin would have serious weaknesses in a general election campaign, starting with her raging unpopularity among swing voters. In a new Harris Poll, 47 percent of independents say an endorsement from President Barack Obama would make them less likely to vote for a candidate — but 62 percent would be put off by a Palin blessing.

What is overlooked is that she would have big handicaps in a Republican presidential contest as well. Palin has made her name railing against Obama, congressional Democrats, mosque-builders, the news media and other conservative targets. In a GOP primary, those positions would make her stand out about like one Cheerio stands out from the others. So other considerations — competence, experience, temperament, electability — would dominate.

Instead of making the case that she would be an improvement on Obama, she’d have to explain why she would be preferable to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty or former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, among other possible contenders.