I'm sure hundreds of people have had this thought already, but it just occurred to me, so I'm going to type it out.
Sarah Palin may be the best thing to happen to politics in a long time.
Think about this. Palin looks to be positioning herself for a third-party run on the presidency on the Tea Party ticket. If that is the case, she will be siphoning off many of the wackos in the Republican party (and maybe even some in the Democratic party). All that will be left in the Republican party is a bloc of people who still have most of their teeth and know how to spell protest signs.
So, as the 'Pubs position themselves for a run in 2012, they realize that they have lost the wingnut vote, but they also realize that the wingnut vote has no chance to actually gain the presidency. So they decide they no longer have to pander to the loudest and angriest voters (the teabaggers). Thus, having purged themselves of their extremists, the 'Pubs are now allowed to spend more time appealing to the reasonable among us.
In other words, the Tea Party's rise may be the Republican party's best chance to become the party of ideas it once was (a lot of bad ideas, granted, but ideas nonetheless) instead of the party of populist rage it has become.
You may say I'm a dreamer, but (I hope) I'm not the only one.