She’s not the vice president–elect, but at least “Sarah Palin didn’t come away from the 2008 campaign empty-handed,” said Alex Koppelman in Salon. The “right-wing magazine” Human Events named her their “Conservative of the Year.” And as an “extra special honor,” the announcement was written by Ann Coulter, who praised her “beauteous Sarah” for livening up the 2008 race and giving the McCain ticket a dose of real conservatism.

And for “annoying all the right people”—mainly liberals and the Obama-loving media, said Ann Coulter in Human Events. It’s enough this year that “Palin was a kick in the pants, she energized conservatives, and she made liberal heads explode.” Now she ought to spend the next eight years growing “older and wiser,” and preparing for 2016.

If Palin’s got a shot in 2012, “she takes the shot,” said Robert Stacy McCain in The Other McCain. As she notes in an accompanying interview in Human Events, John McCain messed up by not letting her do more interviews. A “former journalist” herself, Palin “knows more about media than most of the Republican ‘media experts’,” and she won’t make the same mistake when it’s her turn.

“As I recall, Palin seemed to run into trouble when she started doing media interviews,” said Steve Benen in The Washington Monthly online. Not everyone will agree on what went wrong for her in 2008, but blaming it on a lack of interviews is an “unusual idea” by any standard.

Palin’s many detractors miss that she’s got “the mark of a star,” said John O’Sullivan in The Wall Street Journal. In the four moments that counted—her rollout speech in Ohio, the GOP convention, the VP debate, and Saturday Night Live—she rose to the occasion. With her “obvious intelligence,” drive, and “Reaganesque likability,” Palin has the makings of a Margaret Thatcher. If liberals—and “conservative snobs”—“can’t see it, then so much the worse for them.”