Monday, January 24, 2011

What? No one wants to go Palin-free?

Responses to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank's idea for a Palin-free month of February continue to be written. The Post's Jonathan Capehart writes in "Sorry, Dana Milbank -- I won't quit Sarah Palin:"
Hi, I'm Jonathan, and I'm, um, a Pali-holic. But not in the way that Dana Milbank or Ross Douthat thinks. Sure, I've written at least 34 posts with "Sarah" or "Sarah Palin" in the headline. Yes, I'm fully aware of the crack-like impact her name has on the blogosphere. But I have tried to write about Palin not as a politician but as a small-screen star playing a politician, a figure with outsized influence on a very vocal wing of the Republican Party on TV (and Facebook and Twitter and Fox).

I thought Douthat nailed it with his column this month on the media's obsession with Palin. And this is where Douthat and I are in total agreement.

Cover Sarah Palin if you want, but stop acting as if she's the most important conservative politician in America. Stop pretending that she has a plausible path to the presidency in 2012. (She doesn't.) Stop suggesting that she's the front-runner for the Republican nomination. (She isn't.) And every time you're tempted to parse her tweets for some secret code or crucial dog whistle, stop and think, this woman has fewer Twitter followers than Ben Stiller, and then go write about something else instead. ...

Capehart's columns about Palin are always like a breath of fresh air, because his is one of the few reality-based views on Palin. He knows electability matters, and he has known for some time that Palin is unelectable.

The Week has some additional responses to Milbank's plan in its article, "Forgetting Sarah Palin: Should the press stop covering her?"

The conservative Frum Forum has a response, too. Their "Time for Palin Apologists to Let Go" considers what The NY Times' Ross Douthat and The WSJ's James Taranto have written about the media's coverage of Palin.

Douthat may have started the media's discussion of Palin coverage with his "Scenes From a Marriage," which castigates "palinistas" and "palinoiacs" alike. In "Scenes From a Marriage," Douthat expresses his belief that conservatives have actually damaged Palin by praising her (excessively). I think that's true, particularly when they compare Palin with former presidents. Palin isn't like any President. She suffers from the comparison, because she isn't presidential, at all.

(Capehart is quoting, above, from Douthat's "Scenes From a Marriage.")

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