It seems to me that Palpatine was a good instigator and manipulator, and it was true that he was extremely powerful with the dark side of the force, however, the rebellion gave birth and 'caused years of disharmony for the Empire. That was one of Palpatine's flaws, was that he couldn't control an population, unless by force, and so he knew this and built the death star. One of my favorite scenes in ROTS is when Mace Windu and Palpatine break the glass window and they are standing there fighting, with the wind going on about and then it appears to me that he takes a HUGE chance and lets Mace hit the lightsaber blade out of his hand and then cowers to the floor, anticipating that Anakin would enter; or, that maybe really wasn't that powerful, but just knew all the tricks of the dark side trade, and used them, as well as what he did best, manipulate. I think it is quite possible that Palpatine was not, or is not, the most powerful Sith, and lacked power himself - he didn't see Vader (or anticipate) that he would kill him in ROTJ. So I think his true strength was like playing a good game of chess, antipaticing the next move, manipulating and then moving in for the kill. Unlimited power, he had power, but he was a crafty politician and good actor. Just thought this would make for good discussion. I've watched Revenge of the Sith too many times to count in these past couple of weeks.