by Patrick Appel
[L]et me try to explain why the Palin phenomenon cannot be left behind quite so fast.
In 2008, the Republican party nominated for the office of vice-president a person who is now pretty universally agreed to be unfit for the presidency. (Even Taranto agrees with that.) Concededly: it’s not the first time in the history of the republic that this has happened. But here’s the difference between Palin and, say, Spiro Agnew or Henry Wallace. The Palin nomination elicited a huge outpouring of argument from Republicans and conservatives denying that competence mattered at all in a potential president.
Admittedly, much of this defense was insincere. But unfortunately not all. Palin we could quietly consign to the attic of Republican embarrassments. The apparatus of excuse and justification that surrounded and protected Palin until the day before yesterday that still chugs away over at the Wall Street Journal that apparatus remains an overwhelming impediment to any hope of a more responsible conservatism of the future.