A year and a half ago, around the time thoughtful conservatives started to realize that George W. Bush might not in fact be a combination of Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill, National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote a cover story pinpointing the source of the president’s failings: He had a competence problem. Going forward, Lowry suggested, the party might want a new leader a bit less, well, meatheaded than the incumbent. Republicans would seek out someone who “doesn’t run the government like George W. Bush,” he predicted–someone “detail-oriented” and “proven (in jobs more demanding than part owner of a baseball team or governor in a state where the office is weak).”
Yet the Republican who has emerged from the wreckage of the 2008 elections having captured the loyalty of the party faithful–Sarah Palin–does not quite fit this description. The base does not appear concerned. “At a recent meeting of conservative activists,” writes an approving Midge Decter, “the very mention of her name set the whole room cheering and the women present all but dancing on the tables.”
more from TNR here.