The latest PPP poll of Republicans finds Palin just at the top of the list of possible candidates, with the highest favorable ratings, followed a little after by Huckabee. Among Republicans, her favorable/unfavorable rating is 68/22. Among the entire population it's 39/52. As the GOP marinates some more and becomes increasingly sealed off from everyone else, those numbers may become even more distant.

I've been watching Sarah Palin's Alaska diligently, although I recommend some form of consciousness alteration if you want to dive in. The latest was quite something, if only as proof that she isn't the only smoking hot member of her family. Former-teen-vandal now soldier Track is a dream-boat (although his facial hair seems to fluctuate from one scene to the next). But he's also clearly useless. I don't know what they edited out, but his alleged attempt to take over his dad's salmon run was obviously a total dud. I counted very few fish. And he seemed unable to get up in the morning and wrecked the boat-trailer wheels.

There was also a rather moving segment with Sarah Palin brought close to tears by the thought of Trig growing up like another, older child with Down Syndrome that we met. I remain as always in awe of those who seek to rear and love children with special needs; and I think the show is worthwhile if only to provide a glimpse (an obviously manicured and propagandized glimpse) of what that means. No, my desire to know the facts behind the pregnancy and labor and birth has not faltered (it's my job to scrutinize strange claims by public figures). But I was moved nonetheless - and if I was moved, other surely will be. Whatever else you say about her, rearing Trig - and including him fully in family outings - is a blessed thing to do.

This is a reality show, of course, however preposterously Palin denies it. Do nature documentaries begin with portraits and names of family members?

And like most reality shows, it tried to coerce what would otherwise be an utterly banal attempt by one family to go fishing (and fail) into some kind of strained narrative. Palin kept repeating it to us - this episode was about Track finally earning respect from Todd. He didn't, obviously. It was silly, obviously. The outtakes would have been much more interesting. But without that arc - and just the sheer hathos of listening to Palin go on and on and on as if silence would kill her - the whole thing would have been beyond dull.

Still, I wouldn't under-estimate this kind of stuff. It's for her base, of course. But the propaganda is powerful, intense and the sheer energy she must expend doing all of this, while tweeting and speaking and flying all over the place is, well, impressive in a deranged kind of way. If anyone thinks this neurotic, delusional force of nature is not going to run for the White House, they should watch the show.

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