Weigel responds to the Levi-Bristol break-up by shaming the media:

Why assume that [Sarah] Palin was behind [the Levi-Bristol engagement], cleaning up a problem before a possible 2012 run? It’s because the alternative, truer explanation is dull. Palin as tabloid joke is a story for 2008. The story for 2010 is that she’s a master plotter, a recruiter of grizzlies, whose book sales and TV deals prove that she’s outsmarted everyone.

This theory doesn’t have many takers inside of Alaska, where Palin’s celebrity and national designs are frowned upon by people who wanted her to serve out her term. But outside of Alaska, Palin has had so much success with a memoir and a Facebook account that we assume she’s about to outsmart everyone in some other way. In this case, the assumption was that Palin thinks so far ahead that the idea of a Bristol-Levi shotgun wedding, something treated as a joke when rumored in 2008, became an example of Machiavellian strategy and media manipulation. Well, now we knowPalin cannot actually force her child into a loveless marriage to fix a political problem.

I cannot quite fathom through the intricacies of this saga. But it does seem I was wrong to worry that the Bristol-Levi reunion was a function of Palinite political hardball. Dave is right about the banality of all this in the end. What I fear he is wrong about is this deranged person's ability to appeal to the identity politics of the right in such a way that she can barge through the door of the GOP nomination. She is the Jesse Jackson of the right. But he was never a former vice-presidential candidate when he did so well in the 1988 primaries. And the rural white right is far more powerful within the GOP than the urban black left ever was for the Democrats.

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