A new profile of Sarah Palin in the Atlantic by Joshua Green offers a surprising (at least to non-Alaskans and her legions of critics) assessment of her tenure as governor. It's downright flattering in parts, explaining how she took on entrenched oil interests and her own party to improve Alaska's finances. "Palin demonstrated many of the qualities we expect in our best leaders," writes Green. "She set aside private concerns for the greater good, forgoing a focus on social issues to confront the great problem plaguing Alaska, its corrupt oil-and-gas politics. She did this in a way that seems wildly out of character today—by cooperating with Democrats and moderate Republicans to raise taxes on Big Business."
The piece, though, is headlined "The Tragedy of Sarah Palin." Green lays out her accomplishments to pose a question: What if this Palin became the national candidate, instead of the one who from her first national speech began turning into "the guardian-enforcer of a particularly martial brand of conservatism." Palin has been a massive influence on the GOP over the last few years, "but in a way that is almost the antithesis of what she did in Alaska," writes Green. "Had she stayed true to her record, she might have pointed her party in a very different direction." Click for the full article. (Whether this would have saved us from questions about whether Bristol Palin had cosmetic surgery is a whole other can of fish.)