A reader writes:

I love to see you grapple with trying to explain this woman and her thought processes. You are Tcs2 missing something obvious though.  She believes in the literal truth of the Bible. She believes it informs on matters of science, biology, evolution, physics, cosmology, etc. So if there are multiple creation versions in the Bible what do you do, make up your own reality. If there are contradictions in it, ignore them. Just like you ignore inconvenient facts about day-to-day life.

If you BELIEVE the bible is the literal inerrant word of God what do you do?  Well then you ignore all contrary facts, like the earth revolving around the sun, like the age of the earth.  You are seeing in Sarah Palin the fact that she has translated her biblical literalism into a way of attempting to deal with the real world and hence as you put it, her alternative universe.  I think what is going on is that she has internalized the fundamentalist way of thinking to such a degree that she no longer has much of a grip on reality.  She has taught herself to ignore reality in matters of faith and has transposed that way of thinking into her regular life.

The first chapter of my book on how conservatism destroyed itself in America is called "The Fundamentalist Psyche." I don't think you can understand what happened under Bush and what Palin represents unless you grapple with the mindset that can deny empirical truth in favor of Divine Truth. The resistance to debate, the inability to see your own faults and errors, your final surrender to the will of the Almighty as a way to cope with the massive errors involved in your own management of the material world: this is Bush's world and Palin's world. Their magical thinking, combined with the mainstream media's defensive crouch, made a great deal possible. And Cheney took advantage.

It can work for a while. But real conservatives know that dogma can never work in managing a fallen world. In the end, it collapses. And Obama walked confidently over the wreckage. Until conservatives understand this, there will be no recovery.