I called Kristol and asked him if he thought Palin could grow into the next Reagan, reminding him that he was outnumbered by conservatives recoiling from her.
“Conservative eggheads are my friends,” he said, “but politically they’re a contrarian indicator. If they’re down on Palin, things are looking up for her. With all due respect for my fellow eggheads, they are underestimating the importance of a natural political gift or star quality. It matters a lot.”
He suggested that she has a shrewdness and toughness — “like Andrew Jackson” — beyond what you get with a Yale law degree or Harvard business degree. “That may be hard for my conservative intellectual friends to grasp,” he said.
I didn’t seem to be soothing the waters. I called Brooks, who conceded: “Her political delivery skills are incredible.”
So you agree with Kristol that she might be a star in the party? Could Palin be the nominee in 2012?
“The short answer is no,” Brooks said. “She has reinforced the worst of talk-radio culture. The party will need a leader to strike out in a new direction, a fiscally conservative president more like a high-tech Teddy Roosevelt. Someone with gravitas.”
October 15, 2008
Maureen Dowd asks her NYT op-ed pagemates: