MSNBC is reporting, as the Wall Street Journal has as well, that after today’s rally, Sarah Palin will fly to McCain’s compound in Arizona to do debate prep for Thursday. One can only imagine how the campaign is feeling about the debate in St. Louis at this point.

Meanwhile, the more experienced advisers assigned to her by the McCain campaign are accustomed to working with seasoned candidates, not someone “completely green on the national stage,” one strategist said. Several Republican backers have griped that the campaign has put the candidate in difficult situations, from sitting for high-profile television interviews to popping into meetings with foreign leaders, some of whom made sexist remarks, said several officials.

“It’s time to let Palin be Palin — and let it all hang out,” said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist.

I can’t imagine what Palin “letting it all hang out” would sound like. As far as I can tell, Palin is being Palin, which is the problem. Talking points wrapped up in political spin blizzard to hide ignorance on issues she’s nowhere near prepared to address at the point is what she’s got to offer.

The truth is that after the Couric interview –she’s speaking with Couric again today evidently– Sarah Palin has only one way to go. Up. The bar couldn’t be set lower. But Palin set that bar herself. It will be difficult for her to miss it.

Even Romney has now joined the “Free Sarah” chorus, amidst some conservatives calling for Sarah to be dumped. Ironically, it’s likely Mitt who’d get the second call from McCain, because he’s the only one who could be sold to the right-wing radio base. But unless Palin further self-destructs on Thursday, which is unlikely, McCain’s stuck with her. Someone who clearly is anything but ready to be vice president, let alone president.

One thing’s for certain. The entire Republican party will be holding their collective breath on Thursday, while anyone remotely interested will be watching. That includes SNL fans who are waiting for the next installment delivered by Palin herself. I still say that after McCain team’s debate camp, Sarah Palin will come out prepared and ready to take on Barack Obama. There’s no way we’ll see a repeat of the Couric train wreck, but there’s also no way she can acquire the deep knowledge needed to prove she’s anything but Bush in a skirt. The stage is set for big headlines for Sarah on Friday. The question is whether they’ll be “Sarah Bows Out,” as some conservatives are hoping.

Either way, Sarah Palin could cost John McCain the presidency. It’s my guess she knows this by now and is not about to let it happen. Question is whether she can stop it now.