NYTimes Columnist Judith Warner ponders the unenviable position of Sarah Palin in a column so well-reasoned and well-crafted that I won't excerpt it here. Basically, she goes beyond the hype and the tribalism of the election campaign and considers the person herself.
Granted, it's probably a hopelessly liberal position to identify with your opponent on this level, but I think there are a few belief systems that demand it. As one reader comment put it:
There she was, a moderately successful governor of a modestly populated state, a big fish in a small pond. While I don’t agree with her conservative views, to her credit she did some good things ... And then along came McCain ... To select *any* small-town mayor or rookie governor without proper vetting, or even a modicum of serious pre-acceptance coaching and discussion about what life in the national limelight is like, seems unusually cruel. I am saddened for her personally since I fear she will be permanently caricatured in the national memory, much like Dan Quayle. How miserably unfortunate, especially for a woman so young, with so many years left to live it down ... I’m coming to realize Sen. McCain’s choice says far more unflattering things about *him* than it does about the Governor. Thanks, Judith, for expressing for her the compassion that any human being deserves when they’ve gotten themselves into a mess they don’t recognize until it’s too late.