Palin and the Post-Bush Politician:
I enjoyed my co-blogger Todd's insights about Sarah Palin being a post-Boomer politician. At the same time, I tend to think that what makes her so interesting — what causes such strong reactions to her on both sides — is that she is a post-Bush politician rather than a post-Boomer politician.

  Here's my thinking. For the last eight years, the Bush Administration has defined the GOP. The Bush Administration's tremendous emphasis on loyalty helped ensure that few if any successful GOP politicians could define themselves independently of the Administration. And with the Bush Administration unpopular for so long, it meant that there were few if any popular GOP politicians for the last eight years. There was no apparent farm team, no new generation of leaders to take over when the Bush Administration ended. Unsurprisingly, the GOP ended up fielding a relatively weak set of Presidential contenders for the '08 race. Indeed, the winning candidate was known largely for his opposition to Bush in the 2000 race. And he wasn't trusted by many Republican insiders for not adhering to the party line during the Bush years.

  I think the reason Palin is causing such a stir is that she is a post-Bush politician. To both her supporters and opponents, she seems to have come out of nowhere. She hasn't been in the limelight for the last few years, and she hasn't yet had to take public positions on many of the Bush Administration's signature (and in some cases, quite unpopular) positions. Her physical distance from Washington is an appropriate symbol here: While everybody else has been focused on DC, she was spending the Bush years way out out in Alaska.

  In light of that, it makes sense that Palin's candidacy leaves many Republicans exhilarated and many Democrats exasperated. Palin has no direct connections to Bush, or to the Bush Administration's distinctive issues. For many Republicans, Palin is a fresh start after several years of a very unpopular President. For many Democrats, Palin's candidacy is a completely unfair effort to avoid holding the GOP accountable for its loyalty to George W. Bush.

  Anyway, that's my best sense of things. Perhaps my take is idiosyncratic, but if so I'm sure I'll hear about it in the comment threads. Actually, I know I will hear about it either way. Oh, and I should add for purposes of full disclosure, as I have before (although I stopped doing so because it was getting repetitive), that I have endorsed McCain and I'm on a McCain advisory committee on judges. I'm of course speaking only in my personal capacity here, as always, but of course you're free to take my associations into account if you think it's relevant.

  UPDATE: I should add, as a loyal reader of Talking Points Memo (traditionally one of my favorite blogs, by the way, even if it has become unusually shrill recently), that of course there are a lot of suspicions among Democrats that Palin is just a Bush clone. I understand the meme, but I don't see the evidence that backs that up.