03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

What I Like (And Hate) About Sarah Palin

Like many people outside of Alaska, the first I heard of Sarah Palin was back in August 2008, when John McCain announced her as his running mate. My first reaction: Smooth move, John. We wanted a woman in the Oval Office, now you might be giving us one. My second reaction: How sexist and condescending can you get. We can't have Hillary, so any old female will do? And my third: Dear Lord, please don't let this woman end up in the White House.

So here's my confession: I was -- and still am -- an ardent Obama supporter. Politically speaking I'd say Sarah Palin and I are just about polar opposites. (You say, "Drill baby;" I say, "No blood for oil.") I shudder to imagine her holding a national political office. But, the thing is, well ... see, it's like this ... I kind of like her too.

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Yep. As much as I hate to admit it, I can't help but find certain things about Sarah Palin admirable ... and, dare I say? ... almost role model-ish.

I roll my eyes at half the stuff she says; I wanted to strangle her when she kept winking during her debate with Joe Biden. Just the other day, I laughed out loud when she told Oprah it was not lucky but, rather, "providential" she kept all those journals as a kid (Yes, Sarah, God wanted you to write a bestseller)... but at the same time I admire her spirit, and her guts.

I don't agree with her pro-life stance (you say "Pro-life," I say "Anti-choice"), but I honestly commend Sarah Palin for living by her beliefs. She, as they say, doesn't just talk the talk, she walks the walk - in an area of life that is one of the hardest and most personal. And as a woman, and a mother, I take my hat off to her for that. It was brave and estimable of her to admit to wavering over her decision to carry her Down syndrome baby to term. And, while I'm thankful she actually got to MAKE a choice (oh the irony), I think the decision she made was full of courage. It couldn't have been an easy one.

I hate how she takes every opportunity to lambaste the "mainstream liberal media" (Sarah, I think it's called fact checking, not "opposition research."), but damned if I didn't applaud her mama bear approach to ripping into David Letterman for his nasty jokes about her daughter. Yeah, yeah I know David was talking about Bristol, not Bristol's younger sister, but either way I'd have wanted to scratch his eyes out, too. There's no such thing as below the belt when it comes to our babies.

And yes, I truly respect how she is able to accomplish so much and be a mother of five. Frankly, I'm a bit in awe.

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It makes me tear my hair out when I hear Sarah spouting her "death panel" nonsense. But, at the same time, I can't help but admire how she is able to weather the continuous, venomous criticism that is directed her way. I have trepidations about putting my own name on this very article, knowing how rabid both lovers and haters of Sarah Palin get. Meanwhile, she takes hits all day and every day, and still she stays true to herself.

Which brings me, finally, to the thing I (begrudgingly) admire most about her. Sarah Palin believes in herself. To be sure -- I think a lot of the stuff she believes, and espouses, is, what's the word, whack -- but as a model of the power of ambition, self-confidence, and plain old dreams ... well, Sarah Palin sets an example.

Oh Sarah -- if only you weren't a creationist conservative zealot. You'd be my hero.

Would I vote for her?

No way in hell.

Would I like to take my daughter to meet her? You betcha.

This post is cross-posted at BettyConfidential.