Why do I hold Sarah Palin to a more exacting standard than I do David Frum? Simple: because Palin and Frum fulfill different roles in the conservative movement. Palin is a political leader; Frum an intellectual leader. As an intellectual leader, Frum has much greater leeway — and an obligation really — to challenge conservative orthodoxy. Palin, by contrast, is abandoning conservative policy positions that she does not yet fully understand and has not yet fully thought through.
Given her public record as governor, and given her pronouncements on public-policy matters, no one should be surprised by Sarah Palin’s refusal to endorse prominent conservative candidates for national office. Why, then do some conservatives (like FrumForum’s Tim Mak) seem to expect Palin to act differently? Why do they expect Palin to act more like a true conservative politician?