The more Gov. Sarah Palin agrees to meet the press, the less likely she’ll ever become president of these United States.

In her days as the GOP vice-presidential candidate, Alaska’s governor revealed herself more as a shallow demagogue without substance than a sharp politician with promise. And in news conference after news conference since the election, Palin proved repeatedly that she rarely ‘pals’ around with people of intellect.

Asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer to comment on the $700 billion bailout, Palin responded with platitudes and gibberish. Whenever a question required a thoughtful answer, Palin dodged and duck, providing neither substance nor insight. In a stunning comment on a sitting governor, CBS anchor Katie Couric reportedly suggested that Palin needs to acquire more basic knowledge. Economics 101 and World Geography, I suspect, might prove useful. Still, a sizeable segment of these United States seems willing and ready to select a ‘you-betcha’ presidential candidate, oozing with charisma even if she doesn’t have a clue about solving the nation’s problems.

A recent poll suggested that Republicans (64%) favored Palin over any other possible candidate for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination by a wide margin. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee finished second (12%) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was third (11%).

So what’s up with Republicans disdain for logic and analysis? Just business as usual, I say. This is, after all, the party that formulated the basis of its current philosophy years ago when the Dixiecrats left the Democratic party in droves to become Republicans. Shortly after President Lyndon Johnson ushered in the Civil Rights Era by rejecting the South’s white supremacy mentality, the Dixiecrats ran as Republicans.

Former South Carolina senator Fritz Hollings spoke openly about the GOP congressional conversion during the Civil Rights Era in a 60 minutes interview in Dec. 2004. Hollings, who served 38 years in the Senate as a Democrat told CBS’ Mike Wallaace that opposing Thurgood Marshall for a Supreme Court seat was the one vote he cast that he knew was wrong. On why he cast it, Hollings, then a Republican, said, “I couldn’t get elected, that’s the honest truth. And if I had voted for him, I might as well withdraw from the race. It was political.”

Hollings, once a staunch segregationist, witnessed the South’s switch from a solid Democratic force to a Republican stronghold during his Senate career.

We had a sweetheart deal with the National Democratic Party,” Hollings said. “We’ll go along with your programs, if you’ll go along with our segregation. But once that Civil Rights Billl passed in 1964, then Lyndon Johnson friend became Lyndon the enemy.

And now, the Republican party is white, and the Democratic party is the majority black. I would say (in South Carolina). And in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia. You can just go right across the spectrum.”

What are you saying, that all of these folks that keep voting Republican are racists? Mike Wallace asked.

Not quite. They are conservative. They honestly don’t believe in government like we do in the Democratic Party,” Hollings said, laughing.

“We believe in feeding the hungry, and housing the homeless, and educating the uninformed and everything else like that. They believe in private education, a privatized Social Security, privatized energy policy – privatize, privatize. They don’t believe in ‘We the people’ in order to form a more perfect union.”

Philosophically, too many Republicans still aren’t eager to make life better for all Americans, particularly citizens of color. And the GOP continues to serve as a haven for those still clinging to the racially divisive ways of the old South. Right wing pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity thrive on stoking those hateful flames and don’t seem to care about the harm they might cause.

That is why those charged to protect president-elect Barack Obama must be more vigilant, more suspicious and more concerned about crackpots within that bloc of voters who would discount intelligence and common sense when determining presidential qualifications.

Obama’s election demonstrated our nation’s commitment to move beyond racial barriers, but the GOP’s obsession with Sarah Palin exposes a dangerous malignancy in its psyche … and heart.