I think back on her as the Alaska governor, with a 90 percent approval rating and a maverick's commitment to taking on the corrupt elements inside her own party. I think of the pragmatic Wasilla mayor who championed a sales tax to pay for law enforcement. If McCain had chosen someone else, in a couple of years, Palin might have become a seasoned politician, a smaller target and more surgical debater.
Instead -- as pundits dissected Palin's performance as a mother and feasted on her daughter's teen pregnancy -- an ugly trial-by-fire brought out the worst in Palin. With her tweets and Facebook pronouncements, she's become a virtuoso at pressing liberal buttons. It's too bad that, like the people who live to hate her, she doesn't know how to stop.