There is a very clear, tested, tried-and-true rule in evaluating how a political figure is viewed by the former mainstream media. The more the candidate embraces their own leftist political agenda, the more they like the candidate and shine a heavenly, positive light upon them. The more traditional the candidate, the more conservative, then the more they are feared and thus the more they are attacked.

There are few political figures that the left has feared more over the past year than Sarah Palin. It is very easy to spot their fear in the viciousness of their attacks on this wholly traditional and exceptional woman. From CBS to NBC, from the Huffington Post to NPR, no Republican politician has been slammed, sliced, diced, and dirtied more than her.

It was at about this time last year that struggling Republican presidential candidate John McCain announced that she would be his running mate as the Vice-Presidential candidate. At the time, few outside of her home state of Alaska, and hard core politicos, knew her. Within days she was a rock star.

The lefties were reeling as the ‘hockey mom’ from Wasilla took the nation by storm and energized the McCain campaign. The nation saw a regular person, a wife and mother who had taken on the Alaska political establishment and won. Palin rose like a meteor from city council in 1992 to mayor in 1996 to governor in 2006 to the VP nomination two years later.

To that leftist media she seemed to come out of left field, and they were dazed. It didn’t take them long to figure out how best to approach this new problem, however. Attack, and attack hard, at any and all perceived or developed flaws in Palin’s personal armor, her family, her business dealings. Anything that could even remotely be painted in a bad light would be, and would be with an entirely exaggerated slant.

The election was lost thanks to an excruciatingly lukewarm campaign run by John McCain. Sarah Palin, who so electrified the Republican National Convention in early September with her speech, was largely stifled, buried, and left miscast and misused. But before that happened we got to see that she was a true conservative with traditional American values, and she emerged from the McCain debacle as a serious 2012 contender in her own right.

Today, Sarah Palin begins the next phase of her public life after formally stepping down as the Governor of the State of Alaska. The media has continued to bash her over the head at every turn: alleged ethics charges in Alaska with no substance; a teenage daughter who gets pregnant and jilted; even the sudden resignation just 2 1/2 years into her Gubernatorial term.

What Sarah Palin has been subjected to both personally and politically in the past year would devastate many lesser people. It’s no wonder that she would seek to take a break for herself and her family from the spotlight for awhile. But there is no doubt that she will emerge again. A book deal. A television program. And of course, 2011 will roll around and the serious campaigning will begin.

There are probably very few people, perhaps not even Sarah Palin herself, who know exactly what lies next, or what lies ultimately down the road, for the hockey mom from Wasilla. Though the constant political attacks have decimated her overall positive public approval rating, her rating remains higher than Democratic congressional head Nancy Pelosi, and she remains 3rd behind only the high-profile Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in Republican 2012 presidential preference polls.

One thing you can count on is that when this traditional, conservative politician and woman sticks her head out in public again the mainstream news media will be there waiting to bash that pretty head in with their clubs. They will be trying to strike her early and often. That is how much they fear her personality and her politics. And that is why so much of traditional America loves Sarah Palin.