Sarah Palin's tweets, Facebook notes and Fox News appearances have guaranteed exposure in the media, perhaps because they've been kept at arm's length. It's a very clever strategy.
She has achieved a great deal for her masters. Coming from anybody else, her statements would have been taken apart, rebutted and eventually dismissed. But this intriguing, unconventional myth of a person gets a pass. She sells copy. Love her or hate her, people can't resist reading her latest tidbit. And she plodded on, publishing ghostwritten notes, tweeting idiotic, snarky attacks on the President and indulging in her usual word salad on Fox News. In a process of repetition, repetition, repetition, she made the outrageous sound normal.
Now a number of GOP candidates feel free to say the most ludicrous things and manage not to get laughed off the stage.
The most notorious candidates are as bad as each other and definitely as bad as Sarah Palin. They're radical and divisive, but it seems that this is exactly what's expected of whoever emerges as the winner in the primaries. Moderates need not apply. Sarah Palin set the tone over these two years, helped the teabaggers win seats in Congress, derailed a few serious debates with her rhetoric and achieved a radical shift to the extreme right.
Most people know that Sarah Palin is profoundly ignorant and incredibly shallow. People laughed at her reality show, her tweets, her choice of clothes, hair, pedicure, you name it. The tabloids go on overdirve about her dysfunctional family. She appears to be harmless, a mere sideshow.
But has any other rightwing talking head had as much influence on the political discourse as she had in the past two years? Sarah Palin was paid to do a job and she did it, under a cloak of innocence, because she's too stupid, too tabloidy, too vulgar.
Ridiculous as she is, her fridge magnet philosophy became mainstream and her idiotic talking points incorporated in everyday political jargon.
Outrageous is the new normal and the declared GOP candidates are banking on it.
Thank you, Sarah Palin.
(There she goes, laughing all the way to the bank...)