Having watched the debate, and waded through the downstream spin, analysis, punditry, and posturing, some zones of clarity have emerged.
I'm less concerned with the predominant topics that existed before the debate - all of which have carried over post-event, not surprisingly - such as Sarah Palin's readiness or lack thereof, her "folksy" quality (which seems to have grown exponentially as she emerged on the national stage), or her chronic inability to form cogent thoughts and translate them into coherent messages.
Something else has become clear - Palin is frightening in an all too familiar way.
Examining her governing history, as mayor of Wasilla (crystal meth capital - is that on the brochures?) and then as guv'ner of Alaska, there are a couple of things that are strangely reminiscent of the current Bush-Cheney agonizingly-slow steam locomotive to hell, powered in part by the shredded remains of your civil rights with a hint of the crushed dreams of millions, squeezed like a wedge of lime into their cocktail of incompetence.
Let's start with the fact that she is a true believer. Pesky items like facts and history and subject matter experts have no place in her decision making process, unless they can package the facts, history, and expertise to directly support her "gut" feeling. True believers are the most feared of all leader types, because they don't usually respond to reason or intelligence. The end justifies the means.
She has a documented past of employing intimidation, coercion, and pressure to dictatorially push her own agenda, often to the detriment of the citizenry. Palin has hired unqualified friends and associates, posting them to roles for which they have no background or talent, sometimes at an inflated wage.
Her inability to weather criticism without escalating inappropriately is shocking. What happens to those who disagree or speak out, or somehow wrong Palin in ways real or imagined? Inventory the mound of figurative bodies that litters the Alaskan countryside. Count the number of times her story on Troopergate has changed as bits and pieces of truth have leaked out. Inquire about the numerous pledges made to cooperate with the Alaskan legislature's investigation, and how Palin promised that her staff would play along too, until such time as the herd of McCain campaign attorneys descended on the state and began the same sad song of judicial intimidation, executive privilege, character smears, government business on private email accounts, legal filings, lawsuits, and attempts to have the detective work done not by a bipartisan, independent committee and investigator, but instead attempt to move the query to a small group appointed by the governor herself, as if she was a student of the Bush administration Justice Department and attorney general three step hustle school of law.
As her debate answer pointed out, Palin has drunk the Cheney-aide that renders her sequestered in a media-proof undisclosed location, where she schemes and plots on how to extend the scope of the office of Vice President beyond the executive branch to apply influence and control to the judicial and legislative branches, in clear violation of the basic tenets our forefathers anticipated when they brainstormed checks and balances as a control mechanism to keep America king-free.
Finally, exactly how insufferably pretentious is it to have a first-time campaigner for federal office ignore the campaign-agreed rules of the debate to unilaterally decide which questions she will answer, even going so far as to overtly shoot off a flare to advise both the debate moderator and her opponent that she has absolutely no reticence about refusing to respond to inquiries the moderator poses and her opponent WILL answer, but will instead putter off on her own tangents to prattle off her series of bullets and talking points so obviously placed on her lectern. Her head bobbed down so often I was wondering if she had been bitten by a tsetse fly while cramming at McCain's Arizona ranch and was doing her best to power through a tragically timed case of narcolepsy.
Abuse of power, true believer, ignorer of the rule of law when needed, wrapped up in a sweet candy coating of "the rules don't apply to me - I'm a rule maker". Be afraid. Be very afraid.