Is Sarah Palin responsible for the defeat of John McCain? Or did John McCain's campaign badly mishandle Palin, the next Ronald Reagan?
These are the central questions in the ugly debate brewing within the Republican Party. These are not questions that the Republican Party can avoid; Sarah Palin has already begun her 2012 campaign for the presidency.
So, is Sarah Palin wildly unprepared to be vice president? Is she dogged with ethics problems that are only now becoming known under the national spotlight? Or is all of this McCain's fault for refusing to let her do interviews and dressing her up in designer clothes?
I believe that Palin is unqualified for national office. She lacks the knowledge and temperment to lead the United States. There are many Republicans who agree with me, including many of the leading intellectuals of the Republican Party.
But there are many Republicans who believe that Sarah Palin is the next Ronald Reagan, a transformational conservative leader that will sweep their party back into power in 2012. Because of the way she has been used by the McCain campaign as a star attraction stump speaker, Palin has had an opportunity to build a strong base among the Republican grassroots.
It will be interesting to watch the pro- and anti-Palin factions on the Right battle it out over the next four years. I think this battle has the potential to split the Republican Party down the fault line between intellectual and libertarian conservatives on one side and the Religious Right and social conservatives on the other side.
What do you think?