Sarah Palin's Future Still Looks Bright to Some GOP Insiders

"She's got to go from sexy to studious," says one Republican strategist.

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Sarah Palin's career in national politics is far from over, prominent Republicans say.

Yes, her star has faded appreciably as she has run into trouble pushing her agenda as governor of Alaska and as the media publicized her family's personal troubles, especially her daughter Bristol's breakup with fiancé Levi Johnston and their dispute over custody of their son. But Palin still enjoys strong support among conservatives, who believe she was badly mistreated by the media during the campaign, when she was John McCain's vice presidential running mate.

"If she is to have a future, it's got to be because of her record as governor of Alaska, and she's got to go from sexy to studious," says a prominent Republican strategist who advised George W. Bush.

Expressing views widely held among GOP insiders, he says Palin should concentrate on building a conservative record of success as governor while also gradually placing herself in situations that demonstrate her knowledge of national and international issues.

These could include participating in forums of political leaders or policy experts at prestigious universities or giving a series of speeches at think tanks or conservative gatherings. "She needs to show that she's more substantive than people think," the strategist adds.