The XX Factor

What About Sarah Palin Is Political, Exactly?

Megan McArdle and I don’t agree on a great deal about what the world should look like. But we do agree that we don’t like Sarah Palin-mainly because she doesn’t like us. Dropping her name in a (virtual) room of city-bred eggheads with ovaries is like aiming one nuclear warhead at another. We can’t coexist with Palin because we are full of contempt for the choices she is making or has made. Not a great stimulus for insightful debate. Megan and I made a go of it anyway, chatting about Palin’s new memoir , Going Rogue , without being too insulting, I think. We touched on the Newsweek cover kerfuffle, the Oprah interview, the crazy-cakes July resignation speech, and the future of the Republican party. Watch:

By way of summarizing and deepening the conversation, let me repeat that part of my bewilderment with Palin is that, while she has every right to enter the free-market space and to write a book that will make her money in the midst of a recession (of which she intentionally made herself a victim), she isn’t even pretending to be a politician anymore. It’s all celebrity ( thank you, John McCain ). Her influence, let’s recall, is primarily Facebook-based. What’s more, she hasn’t used her substantial platform to hammer down poles for a political tent under which her followers can gather-or to which her detractors can set fire. No fair!

If she’s really interested in politics or policy, or, God forbid, higher office in future, she’d have been better served by writing a “here’s what I believe” kind of book (like Barack Obama’s The Audacity of Hope ), rather than a desperate spin job about past events. Obama providing a complicated case in point, I suspect celebrity alone can’t carry you to the presidency.

Megan and I also speak at length about terrorism, the Stupak amendment (whose language has since been scrapped from the Senate health care bill scored today), and whether a meatless Thanksgiving is even possible. Check it .