Freddie deBoer, reader and blogger, e-mails:

There's a creeping incoherence in your continued struggles to find where, exactly, you and other social conservatives really stand on sex, abortion, family and sex. It's exactly the sort of thing that you used to be so good at, genuinely considering those conflicts within your faith and your politics. And it's very sad for me to see that it's been lost in your hard partisanship that's developed lately. Isn't it at least possible that, in fact, you've become in the tank entirely for Sarah Palin, and that you've suspended your critical capacity completely when regarding her? I read these latest posts and there is absolutely no question in mind that, no matter what, you will turn any question or controversy around until Sarah Palin is on the side of the angels. No question at all.

But I haven't been writing about Sarah Palin herself all that much this week - I've been writing about liberals who've used her daughter's pregnancy as an excuse to attack social conservatives for being hypocritical, racist and insufficiently enamored of abortion. Now maybe I'm in the tank for social conservatism: I'm certainly deeply committed to certain aspects of that agenda, and while I really, really don't think the Bristol Palin controversy has exposed the deep tensions and wild hypocrisies in the pro-life movement, I'm by no means an impartial observer on the question. (But then who is?)

As for Palin the politician (as opposed to Palin the culture-war rorschach test), I'll try to offer more thoughts in the days to come (and in the forthcoming NR), but in general not that much has happened or been revealed in the past week to change my general read on her candidacy: She's promising conservative politician with an impressive if limited record and a great personal story; her level of experience is neither ideal nor disqualifying for the vice presidency; the political boost the pick has provided speaks well of McCain's instincts, but his campaign's lack of preparedness for last week's media feeding frenzy reflects poorly on his judgment and leadership ability; I'm still instinctively rooting for her to succeed; I'd like to see more substance and more evidence of non-Alaska-related creative thinking from her; I'd like to see her give some interviews; and I'm happy to rebut smears against her character and record. These were my views a week ago, and they're essentially unaffected by the argument about whether her claim to have had said "thanks, but no thanks" to the Bridge to Nowhere counts as a barefaced lie or a normal political exaggeration that reflects underlying truths about her record in Alaska, which apart from the unresolvable debate over her qualifications seems to be the only truly substantive controversy about Palin-the-politician ongoing at the moment.

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