It’s striking to me, though, that explicit “electability” arguments don’t seem to feature heavily in GOP presidential primaries. This is a huge contrast from the Democratic side, where both the 2004 and 2008 primaries ended up showing a heavy focus on those questions. All signs are that a lot of conservatives like Palin just fine. If she can connect with a donor base, it seems to me that she’d be a reasonably strong primary contender.
Democrats chose an "electable" Democrat in 1992 after having lost three straight presidential elections. In 2000, the Republicans had been out of the White House for eight years and chose someone who sure looked electable (Bush may not have been as popular as McCain, but he was way ahead of Gore in the spring of 2000). Then, in 2004, Democrats were desperate to win back the presidency and nominated someone that was perceived as being more electable than Howard Dean. This year, Republicans may not have talked much about electability during the primary season, but it seems probable that after four years of an Obama administration, that will change.