Actually, it's conservatives who ought to be afraid of Sarah Palin. Were she to win the Republican nomination, she would probably end the Republican party as a force in American politics for decades. But Hannity is undeterred. He is convinced in this segment where he laughs at liberal efforts to read 24,000 Palin emails that such a thing would a) never happen if the tables were turned; and b) is happening because liberals are just simply terrified of Sarah Palin.
I spent some time reading through the emails this weekend. I focused on key points: the last 4 months where she was nominated as McCain's running-mate, April 2007 when Trig was born, and the early days of her administration.
Other than the one email with the Koch mentions, they paint a picture of someone who is fairly disengaged in the day-to-day need-to-know information, focuses on signature accomplishments but leaves their implementation and analysis to others, and who loves her Blackberry. She can spell fairly well, is best when she's unhappy with someone in her administration or the press, and fights for socialist ideas like distributing royalties back to Alaskans from drilling in the state.
If one thing surprised me, it was how moderate she was in certain respects. She didn't deny climate change, fought hard so Alaskans would receive the maximum royalty dividend possible as early as possible, and especially fought for a gas pipeline through Alaska into Canada to boost revenues and business interests. Besides the gasline, she was passionate about a parental notification bill which failed in the state senate. Alternative energy was a big part of her agenda, too, at least to the extent that she paid lipservice to it.
Equally obvious was how disconnected she was from the operations of the government she governed. Here's a notable example. On June 30, 2008, Leo Von Scheben from the Alaska Department of Transportation wrote to Palin for approval of a transaction with a deadline of July 3rd. Her response? "Why must this be done in the next day or two?" To which he replied as patiently as anyone could that the deadline was um, July 3rd.
That style is characteristic. In the nightmare where she is elected President, I can imagine her texting and tweeting everyone in the White House with "where are we on this or that" over and over but having no clue what they're actually doing, because that's how she ran Alaska. It's one thing to manage things and another to hire staff, sit back and hound them via Blackberry followups about where they are on things.
The other picture the emails paint is one where she's pretty obsessed with her public image. She stomps her feet at mean bloggers and reporters, while playing up the PR wherever possible for the friendly ones. The term that came to mind for me was "spokesmodel". It's what she did best -- the public events and the bells and whistles, but I don't really see where she ever climbed down in the weeds far enough to actually know what it was she was cheering for half the time.
Oh, and she just loves Sean Hannity to death. Nothing but good things, so there's that. But Hannity is completely off base when he says liberals are afraid of Palin. It isn't liberals. It's the true conservatives who actually understand policy that should be afraid of what she can do, given enough populist momentum.