Sarah Palin might have had a shot at the presidency, writes Ross Douthat, but she blew it—10 months ago, when she accepted John McCain's offer to join the ticket. Instead of easing her way into the national spotlight, she was catapulted before she was ready, exposing her inexperience and putting her children "through the tabloid wringer." For the New York Times columnist, Palin's failed transformation from hockey mom to "Mrs. Spiro Agnew" was probably fatal.
From avoidable scandals to disastrous interviews, Palin has fallen short of the up-from-nowhere ideal of a Harry Truman. But "the media and political establishments" have been brutal, mocking her faith and political record—and men and women alike have attacked her with jibes no male candidate would face. Barack Obama might suggest anyone can be president, but Palin teaches another lesson: if you're a woman from the wrong social class, "don't even think about it."