In February, 2007, Adam Brickley..., a self-described “obsessive” political junkie who recently graduated from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, told me that he began by “randomly searching Wikipedia and election sites for Republican women.”...Here's that first Instapundit link, back on September 22, 2007: "THERE'S A BLOG AIMED AT DRAFTING ALASKA GOV. Sarah Palin for Vice President. I don't see that as terribly likely, but I certainly like her action on the Bridge to Nowhere, and I wouldn't mind seeing her fill Ted Stevens' seat." It's Instapundit's third mention of Palin, the previous two being "porkbuster" posts.
Brickley registered a Web site—palinforvp.blogspot.com—which began getting attention in the conservative blogosphere. In the month before Palin was picked by McCain, Brickley said, his Web site was receiving about three thousand hits a day. Support for Palin had spread from one right-of-center Internet site to the next. First, the popular conservative blogger InstaPundit mentioned Brickley’s campaign.
Back to The New Yorker:
Then a site called the American Scene said that Palin was “very appealing”; another, Stop the A.C.L.U., described her as “a great choice.” The traditional conservative media soon got in on the act: The American Spectator embraced Palin, and Rush Limbaugh, the radio host, praised her as “a babe.”...The plot thickens! First, a lone blogger. Then, that crazy National Review cruise ship! Oliver Stone should buy the movie rights to this article. William Kristol and Fred Barnes step into the story, landing by boat on the uncharted territory of the frozen north. There's the first Thanksgiving:
Brickley is an authentic heartland voice, but he is also the product of an effort by wealthy conservative organizations in Washington to train activists. He has attended several workshops sponsored by the Leadership Institute, a group based in the Washington area and founded in 1979 by the Christian conservative activist Morton Blackwell....
While Brickley and others were spreading the word about Palin on the Internet, Palin was wooing a number of well-connected Washington conservative thinkers. In a stroke of luck, Palin did not have to go to the capital to meet these members of “the permanent political establishment”; they came to Alaska. Shortly after taking office, Palin received two memos from Paulette Simpson, the Alaska Federation of Republican Women leader, noting that two prominent conservative magazines—The Weekly Standard, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, and National Review, founded by William F. Buckley, Jr.—were planning luxury cruises to Alaska in the summer of 2007, which would make stops in Juneau.
Kristol brought his wife and daughter; [Michael] Gerson brought his wife and two children. Barnes, who brought his sister and his wife, sat on one side of Governor Palin, who presided at the head of the long table in the mansion’s formal dining room; the Kristols sat on the other.... The menu featured halibut cheeks—the choicest part of the fish. Before the meal, Palin delivered a lengthy grace. Simpson, who was at the luncheon, said, “I told a girlfriend afterwards, ‘That was some grace!’ It really set the tone.” Joe Balash, Palin’s assistant, who was also present, said, “There are not many politicians who will say grace with the conviction of faith she has. It’s a daily part of her life.”Cheeky!
During the lunch, everyone was charmed when the Governor’s small daughter Piper popped in to inquire about dessert. Fred Barnes recalled being “struck by how smart Palin was, and how unusually confident. Maybe because she had been a beauty queen, and a star athlete, and succeeded at almost everything she had done.” It didn’t escape his notice, too, that she was “exceptionally pretty.”Oh, how the governor played those geezers from Washington.
You can read the rest at the link: Barnes and Kristol pushed Palin, McCain supposedly had his heart set on Joe Lieberman, Peggy Noonan and Christopher Buckey spoke out against Palin, and now -- according to a "longtime McCain friend" -- "John’s personal comfort level is low with everyone right now. He’s angry. But it was his choice."