When Palin emerged on the scene in August 2008, she spoke as an authentic voice of non-coastal, upper-middle-class cultural conservatism. It was believable when she said, in her speech to the 2008 RNC, that she wasn't much different from your average hockey mom. Not anymore. In the years since, Palin's become something different -- a global celebrity who fuses politics and entertainment in new and startling and occasionally discomfiting ways. She's also become incredibly rich. But, as her personal wealth has increased, the number of people who think she is qualified to be president has decreased. The Palin brand is more and more powerful, but for a smaller group of people.
I believe that until her approval ratings drop below 30% she is a credible challenger for the GOP nomination in 2012 (especially since the talent pool in the GOP is currently so shallow).