Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, conservative columnist Peggy Noonan said that the "populist" tactics being deployed by Sarah Palin was "not helpful to the country" and painted her candidacy as built on class warfare.
"She is a natural," said Noonan, "But I will tell you, I feel increased concern about... what she thinks of as populism, as her populist approach. There are two ways, you know, her stuff about, 'I'm main street, you are the elite, I'm Joe six-pack.' She actually says 'I'm the Joe six-pack candidate.' This has me thinking, gosh, would Lincoln say 'I represent the backwoods type?' Would FDR say, 'the New York aristocracy deserves another moment in the sun, vote for me?' There's something weird about it. But there is also something, for me, concerning. Populism as a tactic is justified often in politics. 'I need this program, the people want it.' Populism as a strategy, 'we're the good guys, you're the bad guys,' is not good. And if that's the road they are going, that's not a good road to be on. It is not helpful to the country."
Noonan has been skittish about Palin's candidacy from the get-go, though not always publicly demonstrative about her concerns. She was caught, off camera, calling the vice presidential pick as cynical. But she has also, on occasion, praised Palin for energizing the Republican base and for her debate performance.
On Sunday, Noonan expanded on those compliments, arguing that Palin did an effective job on Thursday night but one that amounted to a political infomercial.
"I'll be frank, she convinced the American people -- though they had seen her crater in the interview after interview in the previous few weeks before that debate -- that she was capable of coming forward and simply debating," said the Wall Street Journal columnist. "I think she showed that she is a woman of great and natural competence about the show-business of politics, if you will: the ability to look over the camera, to think that the camera is your friend, all of that stuff. But there are questions about other areas."