Putting aside Ken Mehlman's decision to come out to The Atlantic, a choice that surprised Jon Stewart because, quite frankly, who chooses to come out to The Atlantic? Moving on to the rest of the news.

Alaska was a surprise for everyone. How much influence did Sarah Palin really have?

A significant amount in a primary with relatively low turnout ... she endorsed Joe Miller, did radio ads for him, identified with him ... brought together all the strands of Tea Party elements that were supporting him. Merely by bringing attention to him, she significantly increased his visibility.

So is she a force to be reckoned with? She doesn't win every race she plays in, but absolutely. Her endorsement doesn't always sway voters in every race, but it draws significant attention and extends her brand. And she still has a loyal following in Alaska.

Is Joe Miller's win a bad sign for the Republicans?

It's another sign that this is an anti-PARTY year, rather than an anti-incumbent year. But I don't think Democrats have a chance to win the seat unless Lisa Murkowski runs on the ticket of the American Independence Party. But even then, Republicans will still retain the seat. Curiously, as vicious as some of the anti-Republican Republicans have been this cycle, they seem to welcome the embrace of the national party machine when they win primaries. Something about money and all that. 

In Florida, the state GOP was heavily tainted by a corruption scandal. And Rick Scott, through his outsize personalty and ambition, trampled over the party's guy in an "id" year.

Why did Sarah Palin weigh in on the Dr. Laura controversy?

The key to understanding Sarah Palin is realizing that at the core of her political identity is the sense that she's been rejected by the establishment, treated unfairly by what she calls the
"Lamestream Media." When she sees someone who goes through the same thing, she makes a connection.

Is she going to run for president?

I don't know. If she does run, her campaign will be very unconventional. It won't follow the tracks that we normally watch, but it will be something that has a head of steam when it launches

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