IF SHE’S LOST BARNES…. There’s stiff competition, but I’m comfortable describing Fred Barnes, of Weekly Standard and Fox News fame, as the nation’s most hackish, reflexively partisan pundit. Pound for pound, word for word, it’s hard to match Barnes’ vacuity and inanity.

With that in mind, it was interesting to see that even Barnes can’t put a positive spin on Sarah Palin’s bizarre resignation.

Forget about Sarah Palin as the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 and probably ever. She may have no interest in seeking the GOP nomination. But if she does, her chances of winning the nomination have been minimized by her decision to resign as governor of Alaska. […]

I say this reluctantly because Palin, in my view, is the most exciting Republican figure to emerge in decades. She mesmerizes crowds in a way that no other Republican leader can come close to matching. She has what can’t be taught — real charisma.

But personal magnetism is only one of the legs, or underpinnings, for a successful race for the Republican nomination. The other two are experience in office and enough knowledge of foreign and domestic issues to talk about them persuasively. By stepping down, she’s cut her experience short: it now consists of a meager two and a half years as governor of a thinly populated state. And, from all appearances, Palin has made little headway on the issue track.

Even a super-abundance of charisma cannot make up for her shortcomings in experience and knowledge. It might be enough if she were running for a lesser office…. But running for president on charisma alone? I don’t think so.

Keep in mind, Barnes is approaching this as an enthusiastic Palin supporter. Indeed, his column goes on to say he’d like to see Palin run for the House in 2012, the Senate in 2014, and then launch a presidential bid in 2020, at which point Barnes thinks she’ll finally be ready.

His forward-thinking strategies notwithstanding, when a shameless Republican cheerleader like Barnes believes Palin has done serious damage to her own, brief career in politics, it’s a strong hint that Friday’s bizarre announcement hasn’t been well received among party sycophants.

For her part, Palin isn’t saying much. She delivered an odd, poorly-written, rambling speech on Friday; wrote an equally silly Facebook message on Saturday, and then published a 28-word tweet yesterday: “Critics are spinning, so hang in there as they feed false info on the right decision made as I enter last yr in office to not run again….”

Granted, Twitter’s space restrictions make it difficult to express detailed thoughts, but Palin’s message is, again, incoherent. I don’t doubt that she wrote it herself, but that only reinforces the problem.

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.