In a lengthy, updated profile of Sarah Palin, WaPo's Robert Costa, formerly of National Review, does his best--and it's pretty darn good--to make her seem ghostly irrelevant:
Four years after using her unique position to propel a number of conservatives ... in the tea party wave of 2010, Palin is today a diminished figure in the Republican Party. Even as she travels to Iowa and elsewhere to bolster her handpicked candidates, her influence in these midterm elections has been eclipsed by a new class of stars and her circle has narrowed.
While true, that goes not nearly far enough. What Costa omits is that prominent Republicans with visions of higher office still don't dare to publicly put Palin in her place.
Hers is of course a small, small-minded, viciously small-hearted place that will, as long as Palin is treated with undeserving deference, keep reflecting on the GOP, keeping it just as small. But aspiring, saner Republicans won't risk alienating the pea-brained Palinites out there. Today's elections always trump the party's tomorrows. Yet the party has no future beyond its reactionary fortresses, mostly Southern, as long as the likes of Palin are unsafe to renounce.
That's quite the dilemma for the saner ones. It's also the much deeper and bleaker story, which Costa chose to elide.