My guess — based on nothing but hope for a change — is that Sarah Palin just needs some freedom. I don’t know who is holding her back but if John McCain wants to win this thing it had better not be him and his staff. When I watch these interviews, I see a woman who looks like she’s stayed up all night studying and is trying to remember the jurisprudential chronology of privacy vis-a-vis reproduction, the war on terror, and public figures (add 12 more things, described in the most complicated way possible, to the list to be more accurate). She looks like a woman who’s been cramming talking points and great Matt Scully lines and Mark Salter-McCain war stories and Steve Schmidt marching orders into her head since that first plane ride from Alaska. She looks like a woman who has ceased being the confident, successful executive who got herself elected mayor of Alaska without the full force of her party behind her and managed to have an approval rating of which most can’t even dream.
If Sarah Palin is John McCain’s secret weapon, let her go, whoever is holding her back. And, frankly, if it turns out that the “authentic” Palin of rallies and the Republican convention is just good speech delivery in a woman with some good spirit, I want to know that sooner rather than later. (Mitt’s still available. Someone in Washington who can actually run a business and knows something about the economy will come in handy once the federal government owns the U.S. banking system.) But if the Palin we know and love and have projected our hopes for sanity in American politics is the real Sarah Palin — then come out from the shadows, woman. You’re the one who is going to win this election. Be yourself. Otherwise, what’s the point?