Yesterday afternoon, Atrios noted, "Sarah Palin is still getting more press attention than Joe the Biden, and he's going to be Vice President and she's not." Soon after, CNN's Jack Cafferty added, "When's the last time a losing vice presidential candidate was still in the news a week after the election? Nobody seems interested in interviewing Joe Biden, or for that matter, John McCain. But we just don't seem to be able to get enough of Sarah Palin."
They're both right, of course. Palin was a ridiculous candidate on a failed ticket. Her candidacy was a national embarrassment, and insult to our political system. And yet, like a car crash, it's hard to turn away.
At first blush, it's hard to put one's finger on why, exactly. Maybe we haven't quite gotten out of "campaign mode." Or perhaps some are thinking ahead, keeping an eye on Palin with an expectation that she'll seek national office again fairly soon.
But I think it's more than that. Kevin noted this afternoon, "We've simply never seen someone so completely unmoored from the normal requirements of national office before." I not only think that's right, I also think we're still coming to terms with just how serious this fiasco really was.
Well, as Annie Savoy points out in Bull Durham, "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self-awareness." But Palin's just a lot more entertaining than all those boring people like the guy who is actually going to be the Vice President, and if anything, our media now insists that news be entertaining. Why else is it that when I go online on Monday mornings, on the "Entertainment" section of my homepage (MSN.com), they always have among the headlines of actual goings-on in the entertainment industry the events of the previous night's episode of Desperate Housewives?
As George Carlin pointed out regarding the fact that Mickey Mouse's birthday gets reported as though it's an actual event, "No wonder nobody in the world takes our country seriously! We waste valuable television time informing our citizens of the age of an imaginary rodent!"
Sarah Palin is the perfect political media star for the unserious media.