Probably one of the best analysis I've seen on this subject, particularly in relation to Obama and Palin, comes from commenter Jake Peachy.
“After all, we can only elect humans, not an omniscient all wise deity.” Unfortunately it appears far too many of the Obama faithful seem to think he is a deity. But he is not. He is a man, and he is fallible, despite the Democrats claim to the contrary.
There is this problem of confusing smartness, IQ, and academic achievement with wisdom. There is no fool like an educated fool that does not have the correct big picture outline to properly organize information, and you cannot start with the details themselves to create big picture reference points.
What is so often missing with this contrived theoretical knowledge is that sense of three-dimensional understanding--- that intuitive depth perception called the wisdom, (a lot of which is formalized in religious and cultural heritage and tested by history) that gives you the big picture framework to properly place the details. The unwashed masses are more likely to sense intuitively the correct big picture framework because of a closer relation to real world experience.
Intellectual folks are enamored with a theory of knowledge used effectively by hard sciences. Since there is no concrete definitives in the so-called "social sciences", these definitives are then invented through the use of rigorous logic that seems airtight. From this base, a lovely complex edifice of theory appears that is erroneous at the base. The intellectual folks fall in love with their handiwork and think themselves wondrously wise because they understand it, using great words with mysterious meanings known only to the practitioners, while the great unwashed masses do not bother with it ----- because it is obvious to them that it does not square with reality, a reality that is vastly more complex than the most sophisticated theory of intellectual derivative.
Sarah Palin's real-world experience gives her that intuitive depth perception, that she may not be able to effectively articulate. In the microcosm of her experience with Alaskan government, she understands very well the greed of power, the sense of entitlement by the political class who do not see themselves as servants of the people, but their masters. This gives her the correct big picture outline in foreign-policy because the single biggest driver of history is about the intoxication of power, that drive and will to power with the development of a belief system that justifies absolute power. It is these belief systems that allow men to become as gods controlling the lives of millions. Thus the endless wars of unrestrained quest of power.
She also understands very well, from real-life experience, that the cycles of economic growth and wealth creation that comes from a free trade free market economy, where participants connect horizontally versus top-down control. As of yet, her ability to effectively articulate is not equal to the skill of Ronald Reagan.
If she does become president, I have full confidence in her perspective and if she surrounds herself with very able advisers, she would do very well. A presidential candidate doesn't necessarily have to have full experience when very able experience is available for hire. After all, we can only elect humans, not an omniscient all wise deity.
A side note: During the presidential campaign in 2008 the Democrats kept slamming Sarah Palin for her lack of experience. They made a bigger deal out of Palin than John McCain, not realizing they were not comparing between McCain and Obama, but between Palin and Obama. If one looked honestly at that comparison, Obama came up short in a number of areas.
Palin was a serving governor, meaning she was the commander-in-chief of the Alaska National Guard. It also meant she had some foreign relations experience, dealing with both Canada and Russia. Obama had only been in the US Senate for two years and had spent most of that time voting 'present' or running for president.
Palin cleaned house in Alaska politics, routing out corruption in state government wherever it was, not discriminating between Democrats or Republicans. Obama on the other hand is a product of the corrupt Chicago political machine.
Palin is a successful businesswoman. Obama managed to piss away $110 million of Annenberg Foundation funds with nothing to show for it.
Palin speaks plainly. Obama obfuscates when he orates.
Palin went to a state university (Idaho). Obama when to Columbia and Harvard Law School.
Palin is just plain folks. Obama is an arrogant elitist, condescending to us 'plain folk'.
All that being said, is Palin more intelligent than Obama? No, probably not. But she is smarter, and that's what makes the difference.