Here's the problem for the liberal media establishment and their erstwhile allies in the Rockefeller wing of the GOP: their hatred and scorn does not ensure their victory. Every Republican who does not have any Ivy League degree, who draws significant crowds, who does not pay homage to government spending and social libertinism, is derided as a boob and a fool. "Ridicule," said Saul Alinsky, "is man's most potent weapon."
Only sometimes, ridicule does not work.
Ridicule does not work when the times are too serious to merit the quick and easy dismissal of a promising candidate. It does not work when a candidate is simply too likeable to be pilloried as a budding mass murderer (the Democrats achieved that image with Goldwater, but they failed with Reagan). It does not work when a candidate is seen not just as an ideological warrior, but also as a truly human hero by millions across the country.
Is Sarah Palin another Ronald Reagan? It's far too early to say. It's easy to write her off now, but if the economy continues to dive due to the Democrats' inflation of the currency and earth-shattering spending, Americans will be less apt to worry about Sarah Palin's moose hunting. If the war in Afghanistan continues to be a quagmire, and if President Obama embraces a Vietnam-style "graduated escalation" rather than a sudden troop surge, Americans will not be interested in Levi Johnston. If President Obama remains a failure in four years, Sarah Palin will look like a welcome alternative -- and her common sense speaking style and plain-spoken outsider status will contrast favorably with the corrupt dealing and Adlai Stevenson-esque rhetorical cloudbursts President Obama so adores.
After Reagan's presidency, reporter and ardent Reagan foe Sam Donaldson of ABC explained his appeal. "We thought he was a lightweight, and maybe he didn't know everything, but he was a tenacious fellow who knew what he wanted." In the end, the American people knew what Reagan wanted, and they embraced him for it. And all the ridicule in the world didn't matter.