Ross Douthat, the New York Times op-ed conservative who does a better job of pretending to be reasonable than Bill Kristol did, is kind of sad about this Palin thing. Because it means the death of the American Dream.

During the "pretending to be reasonable" bit of the column, he acknowledges that Palin's political career is over and that her performance on Friday was a "bizarre, rambling resignation speech." (Bill Kristol meanwhile declares it a brilliant and shrewd political gamble.)

But then we get into the bit about how we coastal liberal elites don't get that Palin's appeal is that she represents, once again, the Nixonian silent majority. Her populism is more real and important and honorable than Obama's because he went to Harvard and she didn't. That is, in Douthat's formulation, "the democratic ideal" rather than "the meritocratic ideal," which really just goes to show that you can't win with Conservatives, even when you do pull yourself up by your bootstraps and make a name for yourself without handouts, or whatever the fuck they claim they want the nation's massive underclass to do. Nice job achieving all that fancy-pants shit, Obama, but your story would be so much more inspiring and democratic if you'd stumbled through getting a communications degree.

Behold, Sarah Palin as embodiment of the American dream:

Sarah Palin is beloved by millions because her rise suggested, however temporarily, that the old American aphorism about how anyone can grow up to be president might actually be true."

See, all this time, we didn't realize that old aphorism meant that even complete idiots could be president. (They still can, of course! But only if one of their parents was president first, as the Founders intended.)