[Palin’s rhetoric] is the sort of rhetoric that has inspired the Tea Party and the entire Republican base. It has made mincemeat of John Boehner’s and George W. Bush’s reputation with the GOP base. But it has also served to significantly strengthen the Republicans’ position, leading to the most [right-wing] incoming House freshman crew in the nation’s history. Sarah Palin’s approach to politics has been wildly successful for the [right-wing] movement, even as it no doubt harmed her personal popularity among moderates and her electability.
She herself will never set foot in the White House. But she has made it far more likely that a hardcore right winger will do so, even at the expense of the GOP establishment and its previously nearest and dearest leaders. By serving in that role, Sarah Palin has done more to help enact [right-wing] policies than half of the Republicans actually elected to public office. Combined.
It’s a lesson that Democrats who cringe at the slightest critique of President Obama from the left would do well to remember.