Every once in a while an American citizen is plucked from obscurity and held up as the perfect embodiment of the political moment. These citizens are used as props by politicians, made into household names, and then, when the moment passes, are promptly discarded. But a small hitch in this noble tradition is that the newly-semi-famous citizens do not let go of their fame just because they are no longer useful. This kind of political celebrity has a long tail.
The most famous of these citizens right now is George Zimmerman, who was acquitted this summer of second-degree murder in the killing of Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman was held up by many conservatives as a victim of the "civil rights industry," someone attacked by a liberal lynch mob that cries racism where none exists. But now that his trial is over, Zimmerman is not, as Salon's Joan Walsh pleads, going to "go away." He toured a gun factory. His brother Robert gave interviews to Fox News and The Daily Caller saying President Obama was showing a double standard by commenting on Martin's death but not on the death of a white guy who was shot by black teenagers. On Monday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Zimmerman's lawyers plan to file a motion requesting the state of Florida pay $200,000 and $300,000 of Zimmerman's legal fees. Since Zimmerman was acquitted, Florida law requires the state to pay all legal fees but the cost of his lawyer. Florida agencies have already spent $902,000 to try Zimmerman, meaning that if his lawyers file the motion and it's successful, the total cost to the state will be well over $1 million.