That's the refrain coming from the usual suspects. My question: how does Bill Kristol know who Palin is at all? I think he met her once - the same level of scrutiny that McCain gave her before deeming her fully 080928_benblogpost_nyer qualified to take over the Oval Office at a moment's notice. We have no real evidence that she isn't being herself in these cringe-inducing performances. Her pre-veep performances don't show her any better. And the real test of this, anyway, would be a real press conference, with follow-ups. But that, incredibly, won't happen. For the first time in American history, a candidate who could become president will not have a press conference in the campaign! No, you're not hallucinating. Welcome to Vladimir Putin's idea of election campaigns in America.

The truth is: Palin was a concept, a great concept, if you live for political gimmicks, tactics and drama, as Kristol and McCain do. But if you're actually hoping for a president capable of making decisions in a crisp, yet reasoned and fair way, why would anyone pick a total newbie with a history of pathological lying, small town vindictiveness and religious extremism? Conservatives used to be marked by a skepticism toward airy concepts and an eagerness to understand actual reality.

Kristol, in this sense, is a degenerate form of intellectual and a particularly anti-conservative apparatchik.

He has long since stopped thinking about ideas and reality, focusing on short-term tactics and marketing for his company brand, the GOP. He has lots of brilliant ideas that may or may not have any basis in reality - Saddam's WMDs, the lack of sectarian tension in Iraq, a belief that Arab democracy could spring up overnight come to mind from his now laughably bad book, "The War In Iraq". For Kristol, Palin was just such a marketing concept to sell the new war with Iran and a deeper occupation of Iraq - out of a genuine but misguided fear for Israel's security. The trouble is: just as with the Iraq war, the facts on the ground simply deny his dreams.

So like most elite intellectuals, and unlike actual conservatives, Kristol simply clings to his abstractions, even now, even with so many dead bodies and tortured prisoners lying in his wake. One day, Paul Johnson should write a book about him.

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