For Truman and Reagan the key ingredient to successful statecraft was simplicity. "I say there are simple answers to many of our problems--simple but hard," Reagan liked to say; "It's the complicated answer that's easy, because it avoids facing the hard moral issues." Churchill wrote that he immediately liked Truman when they met for the first time in Berlin in 1945 because he could see that Truman possessed the "obvious power of decision." We can see already from Palin's record--unseating a governor of her own party, delivering a long-blocked pipeline deal--that she shares this trait; another six years in the governor's office isn't likely to tell us anything we can't already discern if we don't let status bias get in the way.
Reagan and Truman forced their way into grudging acceptance and eventual recognition by the establishment through genuine and hard-earned political success, and Palin too will have to prove herself. She shows signs of sharing their humility, power of decision, and simplicity toward self-government.
In her first innings, Palin has offered a unique display of the capacity that John Adams described as the essence of a "natural aristocrat" in America: "By an aristocrat I mean every man who can command two votes--one besides his own." Here Adams was reminding us of the centrality of substantive persuasion in political life, something Republicans haven't been very good at of late. The talking heads of the establishment deprecated Palin's debut. "Sure, she gives a good speech, but . . ." They should be saying to Palin, "Welcome to the aristocracy, governor."