Whoop-inducing as all this was, it flat-out depressed some in the crowd.

Why? Because “that was the speech that could unify the Republican Party,’’ said Iowan Craig Bergman. “If we picked our candidate with the applause-o-meter, we’d have our nominee” in the former Alaska governor. “I think the Republicans are not going to win because she’s not running.”…

Others at CPAC described Palin as a pivotal figure, but inferred that she belongs to history now, like Paul Revere:

“People still respect the groundwork she laid,’’ said Jackie Walorski, who in ’10 narrowly lost her Congressional race with Joe Donnelly in the Indiana swing-district that includes South Bend. She is running for the seat again this year. “I respect her because she’s a woman who got out there on the national stage and took on the media – no offense – and made it easier for people like me to run.”