Saturday, December 04, 2010


On today's New York Times op-ed page, Charles Blow responds to Sarah Palin's ongoing celebrity/GOP A-list status with a harrumph:

\She was a vice presidential nominee. But she lost. She was the governor of Alaska. But she quit. Now she's just a political personality -- part cheerleader, part bomb-thrower -- being kept afloat in part by the hackles of her enemies and the people who admire her resilience in the face of them. The left's outsize and unrelenting assault on her has made her a folk hero. The logic goes that if she's making people on the left this upset, she must be doing something right.

Yet the left continues to elevate her every utterance so that they can mock and deride her. The problem is that this strategy continues to backfire. The more the left tries to paint her as one of the "Mean Girls," the more the right sees her as "Erin Brockovich." The never-ending attempts to tear her down only build her up.

I suppose Blow has a point about our side's responsibility for her continued fame -- although, it's just not that simple, because the right is perfectly capable of developing and sustaining personality cults with little or no help from liberals. (Chris Christie, anyone? I can assure you that Christie would become an instant top-tier candidate if he announced a presidential bid; please recall that he won the Virginia Tea Party's presidential straw poll two months ago.)

What's more, this isn't just the work of two factions, the left and the right. There's a third faction: the entertainment/gossip complex. There are all kinds of people out there who are adored by the right and actively, intensely reviled by the left -- but no one's ever going to pitch an eight-week reality series called Rush Limbaugh's Missouri (or Florida or whatever the hell state he now calls home, nor is anyone going to make a similar offer to, say, Glenn Beck or Ann Coulter or Newt Gingrich, because none of them have a non-political celebrity vibe. Palin does, alas.

But, well, OK -- let's assert for the sake of argument that it's lefties who are really keeping her name in the headlines. Blow thinks we should think that's a bad thing. But why?

Blow's column appears one day after this remark from a liberal Democrat, Senator Tom Harkin, about President Obama's eagerness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts:

"He campaigned on [allowing the rates for the rich to expire], was very strong on that, and sometimes there are things that are just worth fighting for."

And if he decided to compromise away from that, a reporter asked the senator.

"He would then just be hoping and praying that Sarah Palin gets the nomination," Harkin replied, insinuating that there would be few other Republicans that Obama could assuredly beat in 2012.

That's the obvious reason we don't refrain from fueling Palinism: we want her to be the 2012 GOP presidential candidate. Of the A-listers, she's the most likely to lose. Joe Scarborough knows that. So do Karl Rove and rest of the Bushie government-in-exile. Why doesn't Blow?

Blow writes:

People on the left seem to need her, to bash her, because she is, in three words, the way the left likes to see the right: hollow, dim and mean.

Maybe. But we also need her because, unlike the rest of the right, she seems beatable. The rest of the SOBs in her party seem capable of routing us at will. Palin is one of the few (Paladino, O'Donnell, Angle, and Miller are four more) we seem capable of besting.

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