I think Palin really does have the potential to embody the kind of change the GOP desperately needs: In a party that’s dominated by entrenched interests, she demonstrated that it’s possible to take on the establishment and win; in a party increasingly riven by ideological feuds, she’s demonstrated that it’s possible to be a populist and a pragmatist, a social conservative on some fronts and a libertarian on others.
That first part sounds like a description of the Feel Good Hit of the Summer, and that is basically what Palin amounts to. I have yet to see anything more to her than a politician with an attractive family who competently spouts rightwing boilerplate. When she denounces the war party, supply side theology, the bogus “drill, drill, drill” claptrap, or any other reigning orthodoxy of the Republican Party; I will take notice. But anyone willing to do that wouldn’t be on the Republican ticket in the first place.
I’m sure that I’m politically a couple of timezones away from Douthat and if he is happy with Palin that is fine, but he shouldn’t fool himself into believing that she breaks from the past in any area other than personality.