In any debate the goal is to convince the audience, not your opponent.
I don’t think ARI Watch argues ad hominem. Even the latest article ("Birds of a Feather") overstates its initial apology (see the end of the Preliminary Remarks section) in that regard (see the beginning of the Conclusion section).
Defending Palin is a lost cause. I assume readers keep up with current events. Under her two previous incumbencies government spending rose significantly, yet now like any political hack she advertises herself as the small government candidate. Clearly someone else must be writing her speeches because she is inarticulate – glib but uninformed – on her own. She’s being puffed endlessly by neoconservatives like Bill Kristol, David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes to name just three. In turn she talks the usual neoconservative points: support Israel, bomb Iran. All this can be summed up in a few choice epithets.
Sure, "inarticulate" etc are in turn personal attacks. You want me to waste my time transcribing examples of Palin’s Q&A. And that’s not enough either, maybe the interviews were faked by Martians taking over the television transmission, so that must be disproved too.
Come on guys and gals, Palin is a fraud and it’s obvious. She’s Bush the third.