It is true that conservatives are often asked questions that are never asked of liberals and in ways that seem condescending and superficial. But that is an opportunity to give an answer that can skewer the questioner while making the point you wish to make.
Do I wish Palin had more intellectual depth like Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ronald Reagan's United Nations U.S. ambassador? Of course. But that can be developed if she gets serious about it. Because of her notoriety she can surely command the best and the brightest tutors.
Still, if she is as bad as her detractors say, why are they wasting so much time dumping on her? One might think they would be cheering the prospect of her becoming the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, thus guaranteeing in their mind a second term for President Obama.
Victimization plays well with the conservative base and that's a problem. If conservatives don't rise from the muck of feeling excluded, disrespected, ignored and mocked, they will continue to suffer all of these things. There is nothing like proving the worth of your ideas to put the mockers in their place. Victimization can raise money, sell books and get one face time on TV, but it doesn't advance the ball.
Sarah Palin is a force the Republican establishment must reckon with. She has energized a sizable portion of the GOP base. If the party ignores that base and nominates another candidate in 2012 who is part of the inside-the-beltway crowd, it could lose. And that would be a double tragedy -- for the GOP and the country -- as President Obama keeps giving Republicans issues that make a conservative agenda far more attractive than the hard-left one he is attempting to impose on the country.
Palin's optimism is refreshing. If she can sharpen her intellect, in three years she won't be mocked; she will be feared.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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