I hadn't seen Sarah Palin speak in person since the 2008 elections. If one just watched or read mainstream media accounts of her paid speeches and appearances since then, including some accounts that have been featured on this site, one may have come to the conclusion that Palin was just a money-hungry ex-politician devoid of conviction, half-heartedly speaking to various interest groups and causes to line her pockets or raise her national profile to peddle books that she didn't even write herself.
Curious about how such memes can develop among supposedly intelligent commentators (most of whom are on the left, but the right has its fair share too), I went to Palin's speech in Washington, D.C. on Friday, where she spoke at a breakfast hosted by The Susan B. Anthony List, an extremely influential pro-life organization.
Nowhere did I see a caricature of a bumbling dolt just going through the motions. What I did hear was substance. Warmth. Humor. Unapologetic feistiness. And an optimistic belief in conservative values and principles. And what I saw was the makings of a potentially transcendent and transformational figure not only for the conservative movement but for American politics.
I don't know if Palin wants to or intends to run for President. And though her speech was delivered to those who would most likely comprise her base if she chose to run, this speech - perhaps more than any of her others - showcased some themes for a potential campaign against Democrats, liberals, and President Obama that would be more than formidable and could possibly attract a fair number of independent voters as well. It definitely struck me as a rough draft of something larger down the road.