PUSHING FOR A GRACEFUL EXIT…. Kathleen Parker, a columnist syndicated by the Washington Post Writers Group, is not exactly a moderate. In May, she wrote one of the more offensive columns of the entire presidential campaign, defending the notion of judging candidates’ patriotism based on whether they have “blood equity” and “heritage.” Obama’s “bloodlines” were deemed unworthy, because they are not traced “back through generations of sacrifice.” It was like reading a Know-Nothing Party tract 160 years later.

I mention this background to provide some context about Parker’s ideology, before noting her latest column on Sarah Palin.

Palin’s recent interviews with Charles Gibson, Sean Hannity, and now Katie Couric have all revealed an attractive, earnest, confident candidate. Who Is Clearly Out Of Her League.

No one hates saying that more than I do. Like so many women, I’ve been pulling for Palin, wishing her the best, hoping she will perform brilliantly. I’ve also noticed that I watch her interviews with the held breath of an anxious parent, my finger poised over the mute button in case it gets too painful. Unfortunately, it often does. My cringe reflex is exhausted…. If BS were currency, Palin could bail out Wall Street herself. […]

McCain can’t repudiate his choice for running mate. He not only risks the wrath of the GOP’s unforgiving base, but he invites others to second-guess his executive decision-making ability. Barack Obama faces the same problem with Biden.

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

Do it for your country.

This, of course, seems like a highly unlikely scenario. But the fact that a fairly high-profile conservative columnist is even broaching the subject — in print — strikes me as fairly remarkable.

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Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.