In Christine Toomey's profile of Sarah Palin there is a short passage which gets to the heart of the doubts so many have about the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate.
"There is a high body count of people who have dared to disagree with Sarah Palin, shown a reluctance to do her biddingn her eyes, failed to support her wholeheartedly – among them some who say they too have been hunted, carved up and cast aside along her path to power. These people warn, as do even her closest friends and family, that in Palin’s eyes there are no grey areas, no room for doubt. There is only right or wrong, black or white, “good or evil”. Her father Chuck’s word for it is “stubborn”. One of her friends calls her “dogged”. If Palin believes something to be true, it is – no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway her, and everybody else had better believe it too."
If you like Palin the description makes her sound like Margaret Thatcher, only a little tougher and armed. But that section - "If Palin believes something to be true, it is – no amount of evidence to the contrary will sway her, and everybody else had better believe it too" - is damning.
All the evidence suggests she lacks any curiosity about ideas, others and the outside world. In these dislocated times, of economic crisis and multiple threats on the foreign policy front, that is the last kind of potential leader America or the West needs.
Thatcher, to whom some Republicans want to compare Palin, was intellectually curious, otherwise she would not have made the journey from the fairly bland small c conservatism which she advocated in the 1950s, 1960s and first half of the 1970s. She was open to new thinking. She became stubborn, or too dogged, only after she had turned around her country's economy and altered its standing in the world - not before.