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Posted at 12:17 PM ET, 01/24/2011

Sorry, Dana Milbank -- I won't quit Sarah Palin

By Jonathan Capehart

Hi, I'm Jonathan, and I'm, um, a Pali-holic. But not in the way that Dana Milbank or Ross Douthat thinks. Sure, I've written at least 34 posts with "Sarah" or "Sarah Palin" in the headline. Yes, I'm fully aware of the crack-like impact her name has on the blogosphere. But I have tried to write about Palin not as a politician but as a small-screen star playing a politician, a figure with outsized influence on a very vocal wing of the Republican Party on TV (and Facebook and Twitter and Fox).

I thought Douthat nailed it with his column this month on the media's obsession with Palin. And this is where Douthat and I are in total agreement.

Cover Sarah Palin if you want, but stop acting as if she's the most important conservative politician in America. Stop pretending that she has a plausible path to the presidency in 2012. (She doesn't.) Stop suggesting that she's the front-runner for the Republican nomination. (She isn't.) And every time you're tempted to parse her tweets for some secret code or crucial dog whistle, stop and think, this woman has fewer Twitter followers than Ben Stiller, and then go write about something else instead.

I have never thought of Palin as the most important conservative politician in America. I would probably give that honor to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.). I've never thought Palin had a plausible path to the presidency in 2012. Every chance I get I like to point out that folks might like her on television but they don't want her anywhere near the Oval Office. I've never suggested that Palin is a front runner for the nomination primarily because I never thought she was running in the first place. And I haven't jumped at her every tweet and Facebook musing to divine her innermost thoughts.

But I have tried to hold Palin accountable and responsible for some of the things she says, does or writes. I mean, if she's going to play presidential make-believe (she was the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee, after all) the least I can do is play along when I feel like it. And I'll continue to do so when warranted. So, as much as I'd like to join Milbank in dubbing February "Palin is History" month, I'll politely decline.

By Jonathan Capehart  | January 24, 2011; 12:17 PM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

"palin" and "accountable". those two words just don't work in the same sentence.

Posted by: ebproducer | January 24, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Gorgeous, gracious, gifted Gov. Sarah Palin is the People's Princess & the Queen of American Conservatism. She is a superstar celebrity and a social & cultural icon. Ignore her, and risk becoming irrelevant.

Posted by: bubbasouth | January 24, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Well, Jonathan, seems I find myself between you and Milbank. I think Palin deserves all the NON-attention she may get. But Milbank's "Palin-free February" is gimmicky, and of course his delimited time span is arbitrary. Bottom line: Palin should be ignored as far as reason permits, but she shouldn't get a free ride on making outrageous pronouncements without being called out on them.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | January 24, 2011 12:53 PM | Report abuse

I believe it was Lawrence O'Donnell who said that the only thing Sarah Palin is running for is millionaire. She can't quit the money -- speaking engagements, book signings, etc. Killing a living creature on national television is the woman's idea of entertainment. Explain to me again how anyone could possibly take her seriously, or think she is anything but a demented diversion from real American politics?

Posted by: Karen60611 | January 24, 2011 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Methinks that you doth protest too much. If you really want to know who the American Left regard as the true leader of the Conservative movement, the simple test is; Who do they hate most with the hatred of despair? Who do the libel most? Who do they heap the most ridicule upon? Whose character, intelligence and competence are assassinated on a daily basis. There is only one answer. No one hates paul Ryan, or Mitt Romney, or Huckabee . . .

Posted by: genecarr100 | January 24, 2011 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Goofy, gratuitous, a grifter (former, half term)Gov. Sarah Palin is the Village Idiots's Princess & the Queen of American Wingnuttiness. She is a trivial celebrity and a Twitter & Fox News icon. Ignore her, and risk becoming sane.

Posted by: Wasilla1 | January 24, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The most amuzing aspect of this split is that one will give up 'making things up' about Governor Palin while the other has decided to go on 'making things up'. In the meantimes Obama's career goes unscrutinized lest the American people discover the truth.

Posted by: genecarr100 | January 24, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but Capehart is a member of the media and shares the "media's obsession with Palin". Like all good liberals, he must have someone to demonize, someone to hate, because he lacks the depth to talk issues on their own merits.

Palin sells what the media produces. Admit your addiction but don't tell us that "I can quit anytime I want".

Posted by: kitchendragon50 | January 24, 2011 1:16 PM | Report abuse

I think it was Euripedes who once quipped that theatre can blind reality. Let's all be honest; Sarah Palin is plainly theatre. The moose hunting, snow shoeing ex-Governor of less people than there are in Delaware having risen from a Mayorial post in a town with less people than those in all the cars of a 7th Avenue Express train at 10AM, is not, can't be and never will be a candidate for anything. Unless gravitas is totally discounted as a qualification for serious public office, Palin is a joke. Is she popular? Sure she is, but consider the source. She's popular with people who think on the same level as she does 'golly gee, gosh darn'...can you imagine the reaction of a David Susskind or Ronald Reagan to Sarah, may they rest in peace. I enjoy a good joke as much as anyone, but enough, it's old, stale, and played out. Let's stop paying attention just for the sake of seeing who her loyal followers adopt next...Miss Piggy? There's eenough serious political theater going on to waste time.

Posted by: michaelsternberg730 | January 24, 2011 1:18 PM | Report abuse

if Palin has no importance on the political scene, then why are two columnist fighting over their hate Palin credentials? What is wrong with these hypocrites with planks in their eyes, ranting about the mote in Palin's? Vile men from the generation of vipers continue in their Palin derangement, narcissistic, elitist, envy mode and it makes most people sick.

Posted by: LETFREEDOMRING2 | January 24, 2011 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Now that Paris Hiltonmania is over, someone had to take her place in the media.
Who better than Sarah?

Posted by: rjregan | January 24, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

No one has to make things up about Palin. And please don't stop talking about her. She is a comedian in my mind. I can't wait for her next gaff.

Posted by: fishinfool | January 24, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Amen.
I wonder if FOX News understands how much they have damaged their reputation for " Fair and Balanced " and " We Report , You Decide "
by their obsessive and excessive coverage
of all things Palin .
They should have a disclaimer to their motto-" Except when there's negative news regarding Mrs Palin . "
Then they paper it over by tip toeing around the subject or ignoring it completely.
CNN and especially MSNBC were known for doing likewise to President Obama , but , the trend at both sites lately
is to allow correspondents and panel contributors to take off the gloves and criticize President Obama.
Ironically, even Keith Olbermann would get tough with President Obama.
FOX is instead supplying their anchors and panel members with heavy duty kid gloves to handle the latest Palin
contretemps.
Poor Sean Hannity looked like a fool carrying Mrs Palin's water last week.
I assume he was ordered to play this role,
can't imagine anyone degrading themselves
this way voluntarily.
Other political FOX contributors like Mike Huckabee , Karl Rove and Dick Morris handle their rare self inflicted controversies
all by themselves.
FOX News doesn't feel the pathological need to constantly prop them up to the point that it's parody.
When it became impossible to distinguish the FOX News Palin segments from SNL skits ,
FOX News should have realized that they had a major problem.

Posted by: CaptainKarl | January 24, 2011 1:31 PM | Report abuse

genecarr100, how about one, that's right just one thing that has been made up about palin in this newspaper by any person. Show us one lie that was written about palin. I love the way if you report facts in a newspaper that "conservatives" don't like, they call it a lie or untrue. It's hilarious. You read an article stating what a person did in public in front of thousands of people, and if it wasn't good the repiglets start crying and whining about how the "liberal media" is attacking their darling. I've forgotten, why do we allow people with IQs of 42 and weak little sheep brains vote?

Posted by: red2million | January 24, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

letfreedomring2 palin is popular with a tiny segment of our society, mostly wingnuts like you. If it's a generation of vipers, then I'd call palin one of the biggest America hating snakes there is. I love the way you people have handles that include freedom, and patriotism, and all of that when people like palin are the most un-American hypocrites to ever live. freedom? Yours is the party that believes everyone is free to be like you, and anyone who is different in any way is evil, stupid, and they need your kind to save them from themselves. Yours is the party that wants to take away birth control because since you've got those hangups about sex you don't want anyone else enjoying it. Then when there's an accidental pregnancy and it's people you don't even know, you want to make personal decisions for them. freedom of religion means free to worship baby jesus. I could go on for weeks, but what's the point, it'd be over your head anyway with that little pea for a brain.

Posted by: red2million | January 24, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

paul ryan -- the most important conservative in the country??? seriously, dude? they are in a lot more trouble than worrying about simple sarah if that is true.

Posted by: johndoe11111 | January 24, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin is like a bad rash that won't go away.

Posted by: JBrooks57 | January 24, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Sarah Palin says "she will not shup up"
Of course, if she shuts up she loses her income. How will she make a living?
Will her sycophants have to think for themselves?

Posted by: kbm1 | January 24, 2011 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Learn Sarah's recipe for a Fabulous Blood Libel Stew:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXSj3ft7PK0

Posted by: joemoprod | January 24, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I suppose that's fair. Me, I'll be avoiding her like the plague, but I do think, at the very least, the media should stop acting like she's the second coming.

Posted by: ravensfan20008 | January 24, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Milbank is a hopeless case. He has Palinism in his scrotum. He declares a Palin-free February, only to ejaculate 17 Palin columns in March.

Posted by: diving6 | January 24, 2011 3:08 PM | Report abuse

There was a time when 'Palinism of the scrotum' was a rare disease. Lately it has become more wide-spread.

Posted by: diving6 | January 24, 2011 3:32 PM | Report abuse

I have an important bulletin for all you folks who are addicted to Sarah Palin. Michelle Bachmann is now revving up her engine and will probably succeed in making as little sense, only she is an elected representative to the Congress of the United States channeling Glen Beck. It should be interesting to see them trying to drown each other out.

Posted by: carolyn4driving1 | January 24, 2011 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure Palin's every breathe depends on whether you two dweebs write about her or not. It appears to me that both you and Milbunk need to get over yourselves.

Posted by: alexandria6351 | January 24, 2011 4:18 PM | Report abuse

You forgot the main reason you won't join Milbank: GENERALLY, NOBODY READS YOUR COLUMN BECAUSE YOU'RE A TWIT!

Posted by: joachim1 | January 24, 2011 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Jonny, you must be starving for attention.


Posted by: lindalovejones | January 24, 2011 4:36 PM | Report abuse

TO: bubbasouth who wrote:
“Gorgeous, gracious, gifted Gov. Sarah Palin is the People's Princess & the Queen of American Conservatism. She is a superstar celebrity and a social & cultural icon. Ignore her, and risk becoming irrelevant.”

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You can put all the lipstick you want to on that pig, but it’s still just a pig.


Posted by: lindalovejones | January 24, 2011 4:40 PM | Report abuse


Blah,blah and blah,Sarah Palin,blah,blah.

Posted by: insaneinthemembrain | January 24, 2011 5:01 PM | Report abuse

genecarr100, how about one, that's right just one thing that has been made up about palin in this newspaper by any person. Show us one lie that was written about palin. I love the way if you report facts in a newspaper that "conservatives" don't like, they call it a lie or untrue. It's hilarious. You read an article stating what a person did in public in front of thousands of people, and if it wasn't good the repiglets start crying and whining about how the "liberal media" is attacking their darling. I've forgotten, why do we allow people with IQs of 42 and weak little sheep brains vote?

Posted by: red2million
==========================================
"..why do we allow people with IQs of 42 and weak little sheep brains vote?" I don't know, maybe the same civil rights allowed to the robotic, left-wing political bloggers who used the the tragedy in AZ as a tool to amp up their vicious attacks on Palin. Sorry, bloggers, the vile comments that have been made against Palin and her family are not facts because the left put them out there. You give yourself way too much credit.

Posted by: bethg1841 | January 24, 2011 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"And I haven't jumped at her every tweet and Facebook musing to divine her innermost thoughts."

What's sad picture of her is that all she has to contribute of her innermost thoughts is 140 characters or lees...

Posted by: AverageJane | January 24, 2011 5:09 PM | Report abuse

You obviously have nothing better to do. You liberal wing-nuts hate her, yet you keep bringing her back into spotlight. She no longer holds any political office, so she should be of no consequence. Of course if the real terrorist, Obama, actually was doing something you would have something to write about. So instead you have to try and draw attention away form the failure that is Obama to something else

Posted by: romeror2k | January 24, 2011 5:36 PM | Report abuse

Capehart and others will use Palin (and every gaff she makes) as a club to bash the Republican party. That's why she remains prominent in the liberal press. Not sure which is more tedious - Palin's face and constant whining about the status quo or columns like Capehart's. If Palin is playing "Presidential make-believe" then she must be inside Capehart's melon big time if he feels compelled to write about a noisy non-event every time she makes a political appearance. Palin is not going to be a candidate in 2012 but she is not going to go away. She will be a nuisance to those who do eventually run and she will have to be included in the GOP group-hug photos but she will never be shielded from public scrutiny by the MSM as they did for Obama who zealously protected Obama.

Posted by: Galasso | January 24, 2011 5:37 PM | Report abuse

As Milbank correctly pointed out in his column, op-ed writers are motivated to opine about Palin becuase she provides cheap publicity.

Honestly, did anyone really think Capeheart was going to take the high road on this? He's not "holding Palin accountable for what she says and does" -- he's using her for cheap web hits.

Capeheart just proved with this article that he's a talentless, second-rate journalist who can't come up with original or interesting ideas.

Posted by: diehardlib | January 24, 2011 7:04 PM | Report abuse

The public is finally coming around to seeing the true Sarah Palin. Instead of smiling and nodding while talking about murders and national tragedies, she should have shown some humility. I was compelled to create a visual commentary of her political rhetoric and its effects on my artist's blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/01/sarah-palin-made-me-do-it.html Drop by and let me know what you think.

Posted by: dregstudios | January 24, 2011 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Capehart can,t stop writting about Sarah Palin because it serves three purposes for him. 1.No one would be reading his one-sided pro-Obama, pro-liberal,drivel unless he was writting about Sarah Palin. 2.He has PDS and can,t help himself from "trashing" her on an almost daily basis. 3.He must keep his dwindling readership thinking about Palin so they won,t be thinking about mass unemployment,thousands losing their homes, gas prices going up, and myriad other Obama failed policies that are ruining our country!

Posted by: dexterdunk | January 25, 2011 12:20 AM | Report abuse

Nostradamus. ..... November, 2012. ... I have a bad feeling about this.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | January 25, 2011 5:56 AM | Report abuse

Completely bored the other night, I watched 3-4 Sarah Palin's Alaska episodes in a row, as I've always wanted to visit Alaska and am awed by it's beauty. Simply as a reality TV show star, mom, spokeswoman for a gorgeous state, Sarah is friendly, entertaining and agreeable enough. However, when she crosses over in the political arena she makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I become a Momma Grizzly anxious to protect my country from her. Wish she's wake up one day and realize that she can be more popular if she's just get out of politics and stick to promoting the natural wonder that is Alaska.

Posted by: ScoutieDog | January 25, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Completely bored the other night, I watched 3-4 Sarah Palin's Alaska episodes in a row, as I've always wanted to visit Alaska and am awed by it's beauty. Simply as a reality TV show star, mom, spokeswoman for a gorgeous state, Sarah is friendly, entertaining and agreeable enough. However, when she crosses over in the political arena she makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I become a Momma Grizzly anxious to protect my country from her. Wish she's wake up one day and realize that she can be more popular if she's just get out of politics and stick to promoting the natural wonder that is Alaska.

Posted by: ScoutieDog | January 25, 2011 8:43 AM | Report abuse

A fellow internet wanderer may have grasped all that there is to make of Sarah Palin’s continued chewing on the foot that she repeatedly keeps sticking in her mouth. He posted:

Reminds me of the exchange between the Army recruiter and Forrest Gump.... Recruiter: "Son, have you given any thought to your future?"… Gump: "Thought?"

Posted by: Islewood | January 25, 2011 9:02 AM | Report abuse

The more the media pretends to try to do Palin in the more they promote her. And that's a good thing.

Posted by: mlbduffy | January 25, 2011 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Capehart. With American patriots like yourself, we're still land of the free and home of the brave.

Posted by: rustingnpeace | January 25, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Mr. Capehart. With American patriots like yourself, we're still land of the free and home of the brave.

Posted by: rustingnpeace | January 25, 2011 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart; leftist DIMocRATS; all,

fwiw, i'm getting just a little tired of reminding everyone that Sarah Palin is NOT running for POTUS & that she will NOT be the candidate of the TEA PARTY. - in point of fact, NOT understanding that simple/incontrovertible FACT is why the more intelligent readers of "the washington COMpost" believe that the DIMocRAT left has "lost it" & is now: brain-DEAD.

but PLEASE spend lots of DNC/"progressive"/"hollywierd"/union/DIMocRAT energy, time & money over the next two years demonizing someone who is NOT running for POTUS so that the actual candidate of the TEA PARTY can waltz into the Oval Office on 01/20/2013.

otoh, it makes ZERO difference what "the left", "the progressives", "the smart set", the DIMocRATS "leadership" says/thinks/does, as the WH & BOTH branches of Congress will be solidly in conservative hands in 2013 & the DIMocRATS will be IRRELEVANT in all future national elections. = the majority of American voters no longer trusts the DIMocRATS with their money, their government and/or their LIBERTY.

personal to Mr Capehart: laughing AT you. your columns are, to quote my daughter, "sometimes semi-entertaining nonsense that is helping convince America,of just how ignorant, foolish, MEAN-spirited, arrogant & out of touch with reality that the left now is. the GOP should hire him full-time to sink the Democrats, permanently."

just my opinion.

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | January 25, 2011 10:53 AM | Report abuse

There are many other subjects vying for attention. The economy/DJIA could slip if IBM slips.

Try visiting -
www.ibmTheWidowMaker.com
Twitter - www.Twitter.com/MadamePJBailey

Posted by: MadamePJBailey | January 26, 2011 12:09 AM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart,

instead of wasting your time "trashing" Sarah Palin, since she is NOT running for POTUS, may i suggest that you practice saying: SENATOR PALIN?
(Sarah will win the next AK Senate election by a LANDSLIDE!)

btw, are you on the NRC's payroll to make the DIMocRATS Party look ignorant, FOOLISH & "out of touch with reality"? = if you are NOT, the GOP should hire your services full-time, as you are a positive SUCCESS at that task!

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | January 27, 2011 12:50 PM | Report abuse

Mr Capehart,

instead of wasting your time "trashing" Sarah Palin, since she is NOT running for POTUS, may i suggest that you practice saying: SENATOR PALIN?
(Sarah will win the next AK Senate election by a LANDSLIDE!)

btw, are you on the NRC's payroll to make the DIMocRATS Party look ignorant, FOOLISH & "out of touch with reality"? = if you are NOT, the GOP should hire your services full-time, as you are a positive SUCCESS at that task!

yours, TN46
coordinator, CCTPP

Posted by: texasnative46 | January 27, 2011 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Dana Milbank and Jonathan Capehart have a severe cases of SPOB. At least Capehart knows it.
See:
Progressive media in national OCD clinical study
http://garygaddy.tripod.com/blog/index.blog?from=20101001

Posted by: TarHeelReader | January 31, 2011 9:09 PM | Report abuse

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