….a former editor-in-chief of Ms. Magazine will praise Sarah Palin as a brainiac.

But yes, it’s happened. Elaine Lafferty, a self-proclaimed pro-choice Democrat, blogged this riposte (on the Daily Beast, former New Yorker editor Tina Brown’s competition to the Huffington Post) to the scads of liberal feminists-plus some conservative pundits whose names we shall not mention–who have assumed that Palin must have a brain the size of a lentil because she’s deeply religious and anti-abortion, she dresses Middle American even with a Saks wardrobe, and she stumbled over a couple of questions posed to her by that mental giant, Katie Couric:

“As Fred Barnes-God help me, I’m agreeing with Fred Barnes-suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.”

Lafferty continues:

“Now by ’smart,’ I don’t refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don’t really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a ‘quick study’; I’d heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her ‘confidence’ is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is…..

“For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That’s it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel-the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decisionis nonsense. I digress.) Palin’s role in this campaign was to energize ‘the Republican base,’ which she has inarguably done. She also was expected to reach out to Hillary Clinton ‘moderates.’ (Right. Only a woman would get both those jobs in either party.) Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I’m tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women’s rights, deeply and passionately.”

And yes, Palin does. She’s a woman who believes that it’s possible for a woman-and a mother of five children at that-to hold down a full-time CEO job overseeing a multi-billion-dollar budget in a state that, resource-wise, is one of the most massively wealthy in the nation, and also to seek the second-highest office in the land. Women’s rights? Palin personifies women’s rights.

When Elaine Lafferty took over the faltering Ms. in 2003, she immediately boosted its circulation by 30 percent and brought life back into that dreary, faltering granola-feminist journal. Now, I almost wish I’d subscribed to Ms. during the Lafferty years. I’m a registered Republican, and on issues such as abortion Lafferty and I don’t see eye to eye. But that’s true about a number of women whose brains and honor I deeply respect. Elaine Lafferty finds common ground with Sarah Palin. I find common ground with Elaine Lafferty.