"A Reasonable Gamble To Take"

That's Bill Kristol's new take on the farce that was the Palin candidacy. He says just enough to give himself wiggle room if she is indeed the nominee. Meanwhile, there's an absolutely priceless piece of Palin analysis by Janet Malcolm over at the New York Review. She assesses the surreal "Sarah Palin's Alaska" reality show. There were times reading this at a Starbucks that I disturbed those around me with laughter. It begins thus:

The nine-part docu-series Sarah Palin’s Alaska, shown late last year on the cable channel TLC, has the atmosphere of a cold war propaganda film. It shows the Palin family during the summer of 2010, making happy trips to one pristine Alaskan wilderness area after anotherfishing, hunting, kayaking, dogsledding, rock climbingand taking repeated little swipes at the left. During a visit with her dad to a store in Anchorage named Chimo Guns, where she is buying a rifle for a camping trip in bear country, Palin remarks:

Out and about in Alaska’s wilds it’s more common than not to see somebody having some kind of weapon on their person, in fact it’s probably as commonplace as if you’re walking down in New York City and you see somebody with a Blackberry on their hip.

New York, of course, is code for all the things that Palin-style populism is against. I don’t have to tell my fellow Commies what these things are.

But the real jewel is Malcolm's account of the great Gosselin-Palin mashup in the pivotal episode. Malcolm then ends with a sharp observation of how the series did at times indeed seem real: Palin's obvious emotions regarding her last child. If you assume that everything that Palin has told us about Trig is true (which is, actually, logically impossible since she has given contradictory accounts), then Malcolm's peroration works. If you don't, it works as well - but in a different and just as wrenching kind of way.