Sarah Palin will always be a Hail Mary Pass. She is a last-ditch, slapdash shot for a win. Regardless of facts, faux pas or folly, conservatives will continue to tout her as an asset as long as she continues to act like a battering ram to their opposition.
If she still throws jabs, utterly doe-eyed to the implications (i.e. ripping on teleprompters in a prepared speech), the dreaded "elites" of her party will still use her for what she's worth.
She'll stay a paid contributor on Fox News and the others on the same payroll will try and gush over how great she is, her best quality being liberals "hate" her. Because everything liberals hate must be good. The enemy of Fox News' enemy is always good for the country.
The bar will continue to be set lower, and Palin will sink deeper into self-parody as she becomes even less blinking, more emboldened and more resigned to her belief some divine force (bigger than her PAC even) wants her to be the President of the United States.
Serious conservatives don't want their voice to be a folksy, fibbing bridge to nowhere. They don't want a tabloid queen who writes snarky half-baked Facebook entries to the White House Chief of Staff to be their nominee in 2012. But their deal with the devil is they enjoy Palin's swift merciless offense from the sidelines, and because of that "talent" she will be given the lectern. And therefore, some legitimacy as a "thinker."
Her enthusiasts mark her media storm as the reason why she's a leader in the party (some party, whether it be the Tea Party she's now synonymous with, or the RNC which she fits right into). But equating someone's ability to lead with the ability to get coverage is like saying Britney Spears' singing voice is the reason she was the object of an extended media frenzy. It's simply not true.
Being just super and awesome is not what makes the media obsessed with you. It's actually the opposite. Being horribly flawed and recklessly stupid gives people something to use all those "barrelsful of ink" on. If Palin was competent, we'd be bored with her by now. There would be no story.
It's her incompetence coupled with this brazen lust for power and the lack of any self-irony or doubt that sparks the press. It's certainly not her ideas, because they are not hers or ideas. They're overly-digested Republican platitudes. And candidly, fact-checking Palin is like critiquing a squirrel on his algebra.
Sen. John McCain's choosing the then-governor as his running mate was a myopic gamble to get a bump in the polls. He got it for a couple of days, until Palin was vetted in the press. Because of this staggering snafu, there were moments in the campaign where Palin appeared more like a wife than a running mate. After the McCain campaign got to know her "challenges" (ethical and otherwise), the team covered for her as she galvanized voters to elect Barack Obama in a landslide.
But as Donald Rumsfeld once said, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you want. The right-wing picking up the pieces found Palin. She's clearly lacking, but she's the best they have at the moment.
There's a degree of pessimism in conservative groups like News Max and others buying her book in bulk to inflate the sale numbers. It shows they didn't think it could do well on its merits. Moreover, letting Palin in on what softball questions you are going to lob at her in front of an adoring crowd (as indicated by her writing the answers on her palm), shows Judson Phillips, the founder of Tea Party Nation didn't think Palin could do well on merits either.
The more she's excused, rationalized and hyped by the right-wing, the more she'll become a symbol of cynicism for conservatives. If they're peddling Palin, it shows they've given up. Or to quote the source, "How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?"
Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the editor of FishbowlLA.com. Tina can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.