3. Palin has always set herself up as the anti-Obama. She told me last November that the only path to victory is by drawing the strongest contrast. But, as Human Events notes, she’s also the anti-McCain: Beloved by the base and at odds with the media. She’s also becoming an outspoken union critic (despite the fact that she used to promote herself as the wife of a union man). This past weekend in Madison, after lavishing praise on Gov. Scott Walker’s battle with the public sector unions, she proudly announced: “The 2012 election begins here!” and “Mr. President, game on!” There weren’t any other potential 2012 contenders in the crowd.

4. Palin has always promised to be an untraditional candidate who refuses to kiss up to the establishment (In Madison, she declared: “I’ll take on the GOP establishment… We didn’t elect you just to rearrange the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic. We didn’t elect you to just stand back and watch Obama redistribute those deck chairs. What we need is for you to stand up, GOP, and fight.”) It may be old news, but there’s no escaping the fact that she has made all the traditional motions of a presidential candidate in waiting: She published two books; she endorsed, campaigned and raised money for midterm candidates in 2010; and she traveled abroad to Israel earlier this year, an essential pilgrimage for any Republican presidential wannabe.