I wrote this the other day in response to a question I received from another poster here asking if I was concerned at all about Palin given the shaky performances she's had in some of her early interviews. Long story short, I'm just as excited about her now as I ever was... here's why: I don't know how much of a polished politician Sarah Palin is at this point. Clearly with a few more years on the national stage under her belt, she will be much better. All that's a double-edged sword, however. The longer she's in office, the greater the chance that she'll be corrupted by the system. That's one of the beauties about her right now. She hasn't been around long enough to really sell out. It's almost unprecedented for a politician to reach the pinnacle of their career without having to sell their souls multiple times, and she's right there now and relatively pure in that respect. It's a unique situation. I think in four years she'll have a lot more polish and will not get tripped up as much in these interviews... but she has to get there first. Right now she doesn't have the luxury of getting used to the spotlight. She's under the glare and the media will be doing all they can to trip her up and expose her. There's still a decent chance that they get their wish and can succeed in painting her as a bumpkin or an idiot beauty queen. But I hope she does well enough from here on out to keep that from happening. She's done well enough so far despite every word she says being parsed and every idiosyncrasy of her's being over-analyzed. If she can keep from being defined by her ideological enemies, then I think she is poised to be a leader of the party in 4-8 years. If you're asking if I think she's "smart" ... or "smarter than she looks in these interviews" ... I don't really know. I don't mean to sound flip, but I really don't care so much about that. Her instincts are rock-solid, and she really believes in conservative, limited government... that much I'm convinced about. And that's good enough (actually more than good enough) for me. I don't need my President to be an Ivy League PhD. I'd much rather have them have solid values, a good compass, and the wisdom to surround themselves with the right people. Liberals make fun of Ronald Reagan's intellect, and I'm sure he wasn't the most intelligent guy we've ever had in office... but he was the best President we've had in a very long time. He had great instincts and great values. And that's far more important than having someone with a flawless grasp on the issues (as strange as that may sound). When it comes to having the right instincts, Palin is really one of the best I have seen in a very long time... I think probably since Reagan. You can just tell by listening to her. In fact, when she's talking about something where you can tell she's not completely well-versed on the issue, you can see that while her grasp of the details is (sometimes embarrassingly) imperfect, her instincts are good. It's in many of those instances where she inadvertently disagrees with stated McCain policy. : As a conservative, I think we're really lucky to have her. She just has to make it through this next month. And as a fellow conservative, I'm going to defend her as much as I can, when I think she's being attacked... because she truly is the potentially the best defender of our values that we have had on the national scene for a very long time. And when you get right down to it, that's WHY she's being attacked. She's not being attacked because the liberals think she's not prepared, they attack her because of her values and because of what she believes in. So I refuse to fall into the trap that is being set, letting the liberals set our expectations for us (the same trap that some conservatives like that columnist Parker have fallen for). We don't need a President who can ace a pop quiz on foreign policy or the intricacies of budgetary minutiae. We need a leader... not a professor. And don't let them fool you... Obama, Biden, Pelosi... none of those politicians would satisfy the snob politics that they are trying to apply to Palin. So far, nothing that I've seen or heard from her has given me pause. I still think she has the potential to be one of the best we've had on the national scene in a very long time.