The only possible way the critics could be in the right is if the writer really believes Palin is unfit to serve. I have a hard time believing that a bad interview demonstrates that. ~Hunter Baker

How about a mediocre debate performance and a substance-free convention speech?  These are the other main things that have led her fans to deem her worthy of high executive office, and in the end they demonstrate very little.  Perhaps an unremarkable, thin governing record might tip the scales in favor of the skeptics.  Hard as it may be for him to believe, the critics who have declared her to be unfit really do believe it.  I certainly do.  I assume that others who have said so aren’t just saying something provocative just to say it.  If the tables were turned and we were talking about Kathleen Sebelius (who might be more qualified in certain respects), not only would there be no controversy about this but I suspect most conservatives would be trying to outdo one another in their efforts to prove just how unfit for such an office she was.  The people who would have regarded Tim Kaine as an absurd choice will now lecture us on the value of Palin’s qualifications.  For my part, I have made no secret that I welcome McCain’s defeat, so you might say that I am so biased against the ticket that you should ignore what I say, but it seems clear to me that the ever-declining standards that conservatives have set for what makes a candidate acceptable to them and the declining quality of the political leadership they have received are very closely related.     

Baker appeals to edification, as if the endless treacle about her family and spunkiness routinely offered up in Palin’s defense could edify anyone.  Have any of the paeans and gushing, embarrassing panegyrics to the virtue of Gov. Palin contributed anything worthwhile?  If you think so, I suppose that’s nice for you.  Could we all acknowledge that the dispute between her critics and her loyalists is an honest disagreement about the appropriate criteria for judging the merits of candidates?  Probably not, since most pro-Palin arguments have largely appealed to being a team player and seem to follow the lousy instincts of mass politics that demand conformity and silence. 

I happen to find her biography, stock “populist” appeals, cultural cues and irrepressible cheer to be poor reasons to become enraptured by her, while others seem to place great store by these things.  Some people go further and claim that she has a record of accomplishment that bears scrutiny, but I think it is fair to say that there isn’t much there.  That her defenders largely avoid talking about her thin record says something about the weakness of their case.  It seems a fairly reasonable objection that supporting candidates based on these things has turned out quite poorly during the Bush years, and a little more emphasis on expertise and preparedness might be in order.  She manifestly has less of both than any major party VP nominee in memory, perhaps ever, and her defenders need to account for why this is not a problem.  That, however, is apparently unedifying and adds nothing to public discourse.  So, three cheers for moose hunting, not blinking and winking!  I feel more edified already. 

Update: Baker responds:

Are there conservatives who are going to argue her record is less than admirable?  I don’t think it can be done.

Think about it a bit more.  Last I checked, raising taxes and increasing spending were not considered admirable on the right.  Leaving her hometown servicing a large amount of debt to build a little-used facility doesn’t seem admirable to me, but it is a fine, old Republican tradition.