Sarah Palin has publicly disagreed with John McCain on several issues, from giving up in Michigan, to the gay marriage ban, to attacking Barack Obama’s connection to Rev. Wright. A VP hopeful’s job main job is to agree with the ticket, notes John Dickerson for Slate, so why is Palin so frequently off-message? A degree of her roguishness is probably campaign strategy—so McCain can appear above the fray of, say, Ayers-themed mudslinging.
But that strategy isn't working: Palin’s mud has instead tarnished McCain in the eyes of voters. So is she staking out a more conservative position to preserve her far-right credibility for the future? Who knows? "With so many permutations and mixed motivations, the Palin saga is starting to feel like a Restoration play," writes Dickerson. "I hope in the end all the characters come onstage and all is revealed."