That's the Washington Village's devout wish - from Palin's former spinmeister at the WaPo, Howie Kurtz, to increasingly embarrassed conservatives like Ross Douthat and now, more formally, from Dana Milbank. To my mind, this really is about the Village, not Palin. They have been deeply uncomfortable with her political presence for two years because she is such a farce as a candidate, such a congenital fibber, and so deeply unready for any political office (including mayor) that they don't know what to do, except squirm. Or attack her critics.
What they should have done is exposed this insanity from the get-go, demanded open press conferences before any exclusive "get" interviews, and treated McCain's worst misjudgment (among countless) as a campaign-ender. But they did not have the balls to do that because it would require leaving the safe box of Beltway normalcy. It might - and this is what so many of them really care about - hurt their reputations. Then there's the money factor, as Dana concedes. Their profession is crumbling economically and they are, as Milbank all but admits, scared of offending the third of the country who worships Palin as a cult figure, and just as desperate to get the readers she attracts.
My view is that the reason Palin gets so much attention from readers is not that they are shallow or petty or deluded. It is because they, unlike the MSM, actually see the radical danger of a Palin presidency, and the corrupt state of our politics that such a person could have ever gotten so close to power and even now is the one to beat in the primaries. They are concerned in a climate of polarization, recession and war that a far right cult-figure could easily go further than would normally be the case. Now, as Palin's star has faded somewhat - entirely because of her own missteps, not media scrutiny - these pundits want to move on because they think of this story as fluff. They want to pretend this never really happened. Or that it is still happening. All I can say is: There is as total a Beltway consensus on Palin's prospect's for the GOP nomination today as there was on Obama's as late as December 2007. They dismissed Obama then just as surely as they dismiss Palin today.
And what is their proposal now? To stop even the pretense of seriously scrutinizing someone who is still one of the most popular figures on the right. Well, I guess most of us won't miss much. But if news breaks in February that further exposes this person's haplessness, narcissism and endless odd lies, the Dish will be there. And, I suspect, the National Enquirer.
(Photo: Allison Shelley/AFP/Getty.)
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