To know her, it seems, is not necessarily to love her.
Over the course of a single weekend, in other words, Palin went from being the most popular White House hopeful to the least.
What happened? I'd argue that Palin's considerable novelty is starting to wear off. In part it's the result of a steady stream of unhelpful stories: her unfamiliarity with the Bush Doctrine during last Thursday's interview with Charles Gibson (video above); her refusal to cooperate with the Troopergate investigation; her repeated stretching of the truth on everything from earmarks to the Bridge to Nowhere to the amount of energy her state produces. That stuff has a way of inspiring disapproval and eroding one's support. (Interestingly, Palin's preparedness numbers--about 50 percent yes, 45 percent no--haven't budged.) But mostly it's the start of an inevitable process. Between now and Nov. 4, voters will stop seeing Palin as a fascinating story and starting taking her measure as an actual candidate for office. Some will approve; some won't. It remains to be seen whether Palin's recent slide will continue, or hurt John McCain in the polls. But it's hard to argue that the journey from intriguing new superstar to earthbound politician--a necessary part of the process--doesn't involve a loss of altitude