WILL: She's a lagging indicator of American political developments. There's a rising generation of young Republicans, men and women, governors, senators, et cetera. And why in the world, with this budding all-star team, there, would they turn to Sarah Palin? STEPHANOPOULOS: Let me push you on that, a little bit. Because Sam Tanenhaus in the New York Times today, who's authored a new book on the rise of the -- rise and fall of the conservative movement, points out -- he says that the Republican party "used to be a model of lockstep discipline. Now it has entered a period of inner confusion, verging on dysfunctional."
Well, the title of the book is "The Death of Conservatism, yet another obituary.
It's quite a good book, actually.
Republicans were never that disciplined. They've always been tough, but they unite at the end of the fight. That's different from discipline, all the way down the line.
It is the case, however, that, facially, there are competent people that you don't have to begin with the problem of saying, actually, appearances notwithstanding, this person is competent.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Fewer in the last couple of months, with -- Sanford's out. Ensign's out. Palin, we'll see.
BLANKLEY: Yes, look, I mean, I think the Republican Party is going through what parties go through when they're smashed, which is chaos and inner fighting, and you don't know what you stand for. And first, you're defensive and you say, we just weren't loud enough and clear enough. and then you figure out you've got other problems.
I mean, the Democrats went through that, after '80 and again after '94.
So I'm not particularly concerned about, I think, what's, sort of, typical for what happens to a party, at this point. What I do know is that the only positive energy being driven by a politician in the Republican Party right now, of any substance, is coming from her. And to -- you may not like it. But the fact is, that she
STEPHANOPOULOS: Positive energy?
BLANKLEY: For the Republicans. Yes, I mean, she -- who's drawing a crowd? She can draw a crowd, more than other contenders can draw a crowd. We can't -- the media can't take their eyes off her. There's a lot of pulsating going on there.
Now, it's got to be managed. It could be destructive. We'll see. But you don't -- I don't -- I wouldn't want to walk away from that level of energy for a prospective candidate who might be good.
DOWD: I just -- one thing I want to say, and that is, it's like -- to me, that's akin to saying a circus comes to town and everybody's running and screaming about it.
BLANKLEY: Have you noticed presidential campaigns DOWD: Well, I have. And that's the ones that you just (inaudible) that don't have something substantive to offer. I think -- I agree with George. I think this is systematic of a problem, that everybody's focused on Sarah Palin, when we have nothing else to talk about, from a vision perspective, in the Republican Party.
And if Sarah Palin is generating that kind of energy, it's a huge problem.
STEPHANOPOULOS: And creating an opportunity, probably, for the president. One of the things that he's seen in the last several months is the fact that his opposition is divided and fractious has helped him on his agenda.