[W]hen Sarah Palin embarked on her own 15-city swing Tuesday in Easton, Pennsylvania, she plunged herself into the heart of a debate roiling the Republican Party between the moderate establishment on one hand and Tea Party fist-raisers on the other.And so on and so forth. She's touring the country like the kids in Scooby Doo, going from town to town to try to knock Old Man Jenkins out of his comfy Republican seat in favor of, well, whatever nutcase the locals can dredge up.
Consider just the first few stops. Bethlehem is represented by Rep. Charlie Dent, one of the leaders of the moderate faction of House Republicans who led the charge to broker an end to the government shutdown and who faced a primary challenge from the right in 2012. In Columbus, Ohio, Rep. Pat Tiberi has been targeted for a Tea Party challenge by the conservative blog Red State after receiving a 66 percent lifetime rating from the Club for Growth. And in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a group of Republican business leaders is trying to snatch first-term libertarian Rep. Justin Amash’s seat away from him. [...]
Next is Texas, where John Cornyn, the Senate minority whip, still hasn’t received the backing of Tea Party favorite and fellow Texan Ted Cruz in a seat that the grass roots feel should belong to them.When you're trying to boot John Freaking Cornyn for the crime of insufficient conservatism, you have officially jumped aboard the crazytrain. You have not only jumped aboard the crazytrain, you have climbed out a window and now are standing on the roof, shouting things at passing cows.
Palin is a conundrum at this point (no, Sarah, conundrum is not a musical instrument.) Does she herself believe she has any deeper purpose than self-promotion? And should we be happy or sad that she is still around? On one hand, she is a key player in the very conspicuous endumbening of our discourse; on the other hand, if we are going to have an endumbened discourse, having someone be so transparently bad at it that they're constantly giving the game away is the best thing an opponent could ask for. In practice, I think if Sarah Palin went away tomorrow the crowd that believes in things like U.N. conspiracies and death panels would find a new heroic figure by the end of next week—she is filling a deep-seated need among a certain portion of the public for public figures as dimwitted and gullible as they are—so we should probably be thankful that Sarah Palin is channelling this energy and using it on something relatively harmless to the rest of us, i.e. to sell some ridiculous books about, for example, how not to boil a Christmas bear skull.