Noah Millman imagines a parallel universe:
[H]ad John McCain lost with Tim Pawlenty as his running mate in 2008 (and he would have), Pawlenty would have had at least as good a shot as Mitt Romney of taking the nomination this time around, his uninspiring persona notwithstanding.
As things stand, Larison wonders why Pawlenty is getting the Serious Candidate treatment. And this, of course, reflects something most don't recognize. Sarah Palin is the incumbent vice-presidential candidate. That she is not considered the next-one-in-line is only because of what she revealed about herself almost as soon as she was picked, which spooked the GOP establishment. But that establishment has already anointed her, however much they now want to scram.
Hence the dog-whistle of the propaganda movie title, "The Undefeated." Those who live in the reality-based world will note that the last time Palin ran for anything she was brutally defeated in an historic wipe-out. If she had stayed on as Alaska governor, the current polls suggest she'd be thrown out on her elegant heels. No: "The Undefeated" is designed to indicate that she remains undefeated by the Republican establishment and the media that actually asks questions of politicians.
This is a populist once anointed by the establishment, now running against it. In these times, none of the other candidates has such a pedigree. Or her kind of will to power.
(Photo: Grace Bollert, 7, waits for former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to sign her new book 'America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag' November 23, 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona. By Eric Thayer/Getty Images.)