The character question it raises is not that he is a sexist or that he lacks courtesy. It is that he folds under pressure. Obama has looked amazingly uncomfortable under the pressure that Palin has put him under. He relies on his cool - it is a core part of his appeal. So he looks bad when he loses it. During the Hillary contest he rarely came under any pressure from the media. When he did he reacted badly.Palin seems to have left the Democrats sounding increasingly desperate and intimidated. Some of these statements sound like recent comments that have been left on my blog. They don't make Obama look good or help endear people to his campaign.
So the problem caused by Palin isn't really about Palin - it's about Obama... Obama cannot change how Palin is seen anywhere near as much as he thinks he can. He needs to work on how he is seen. But, as Jay Cost argues, he hasn't been disciplined enough to do this.
One of the goofier claims is that Sarah Palin is not really a woman. Tyler Cowen links to a list of questions for Palin that made him snort. They had the same effect on me.
Like The Times said, Obama and the Democrats need to work on how they are seen and give voters solid reasons for voting for Obama, rather than spending so much time focusing on the Republican VP(!) candidate. Otherwise they will end up repeating what happened during the 2004 election. Kerry basically ran as "I'm not Bush." If Obama's campaign is seen as devolving into "I'm not Palin", they can expect a similar result in 2008.
(HT Glen Reynolds)