No one thought Richard Nixon — a far less personable commodity than Palin — would come back either after his sour-grapes “last press conference” of 1962. But Democratic divisions and failures gave him his opportunity in 1968. With unemployment approaching 10 percent and a seemingly bottomless war in Afghanistan, you never know, as Palin likes to say, what doors might open.From the point of view of those who sympathize with neither Nixon or Palin, what should worry us about Palin is her natural charisma. Nixon had none. Nixon had to work harder and hustle more than anyone to get where he got, everything about him was forced, sweaty jowled and unnatural. Palin on the contrary irradiates whatever it is that makes (some, a lot of) people like or identify with her.
That we don't like her is nothing for her to worry about. That, despite the Republican establishment's disparagement, Palin's base still supports her gives the GOP a lot to worry about and should probably trouble the rest of us too.
I think that Sarah Palin is frightening many Republican "realist" (read pro-business) commentators because they realize that she is a monster that the party has been creating since Nixon's "Southern Strategy". The fiscal conservatives have been using the social conservatives and the just generally resentful and racist elements as cannon fodder to win elections and now they finally see what Nixon hath wrought.
The Republican rage against her is because they see that they have fallen into a trap of their own construction: the party of the rich, which catered to the yokels is now in danger of being taken over by the yokels... which could be catastrophic for American business interests all over the world.
Certainly continuing high unemployment with no relief on the horizon is the recipe for populism. Since left wing populism is out of the question in America, then it would have to be right-wing populism. Palin would be a perfect poster girl for such a movement.