Palin and her behavior have become a part of the crucial pre-mortem. For those hoping to affect the next generation of conservative thinking. McCain could still win. But as his fortunes appear to dim, those with the first explanations for his failure stand the best chance of shaping the post-McCain party. With so many permutations and mixed motivations, the Palin saga is starting to feel like a Restoration play. What does Sarah actually think? Who knows? Unlike previous vice-presidential candidates and most other politically ambitious people, she doesn't have a political hack who has been at her side for years, protecting her political portfolio and spinning the press to preserve her reputation. If she really wants to have a national political future, now may be the time for her to go out and get herself one. This spin, the Palin-as-a-lone-wolf story, had the advantage of allowing McCain himself to remain above the fray while his campaign reaped the benefits of Palin's attacks. But if Palin-as-rogue was the strategy, and there's some evidence it was,it was a failure. Palin pressed to have the campaign compete for Michigan voters when strategists had given up on the state. She disagreed with McCain's opposition to a marriage amendment. She disagreed with McCain's opposition to removing North Korea from the list of terrorist nations. She thinks the campaign should talk about Barack Obama's ties to his former pastor Jeremiah Wright.A vice presidential candidate's job is to agree with the candidate at the top of the ticket. The only exception is when campaign strategists carefully orchestrate a schism and we know when these moments are coming because everyone in the press is invited to watch. Palin's disagreements don't appear to be a part of a larger strategy. So, political insiders have started asking whether Palin is simply undisciplined or is intentionally ignoring the playbook. And if it's intentional, the question becomes: Is she putting her own political self-interest ahead of her running mate's? Sunday, Palin appeared to call another audible. While McCain was defending his campaign's robocalls attacking Barack Obama, Palin was knocking them. She said they were irritating voters and represented the old conventional ways of campaigning. Palin appeared to be joining with Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and other Republicans who oppose the tactic. Plus, she used the word conventional to describe the McCain tactics. That's a word Obama uses to attack. Several Republican veterans thought she was trying to distance herself from campaign strategy, which has been roundly criticized in GOP circles, to maintain her political viability for the future. I agree with those tha tsay she is just off message.