Despite the fact that Sarah Palin did not hold public office at any point in 2010, she resolutely refused to go away. Let's take a look back at her book-pluggin', fish-clubbin', common-sense-defyin' year.
Palin started out 2010 doing some of the same things that made her (in)famous in '08 and '09. For instance, she took to Facebook to claim that "the pro-life movement is pro-women, and it empowers women with the message that we are strong enough and smart enough to be able to pursue education, vocations and avocations while giving life to a child." We didn't buy it.
Also classic Palin: doing something dumb and pretending that it's awesome. After she was filmed with notes on her hand at a Tea Party rally, she made the gaffe into a joke by writing "Hi Mom" on her palm. Message: you liberals who disapprove of my "handoprompter" are just humorless elitists.
Palin's hands-off-my-kids rhetoric got some extra ammo early in the year when Family Guy featured a character with Down syndrome whose mom was "the former governor of Alaska." Except the show didn't exactly play into stereotypes about people with disabilities — and in some ways, it kind of subverted them. That didn't stop the Palins sounding off via Facebook, though. Because nothing does.
Of course, most of the time the Palins appeared on TV in 2010, they put themselves there. First up: Bristol on The Secret Life of the American Teenager. And Bristol again, doing a PSA about how much teen pregnancy sucks if you don't come from a famous family, and thus lack the opportunity to do PSAs.
The Palin saga would not have been complete without Bristol and Levi's fairytale engagement — or their fairytale breakup a mere two weeks later. Causes of the split may have included Levi's pregnant ex and some Facebook photos of some other girl — because without these factors they totally would've been a match made in heaven.
Sarah Palin proved herself a great communicator to rival George W. "Nucular" Bush when she coined the word "refudiate" to describe what real Americans should do to the Ground Zero mosque. When criticized, she compared herself to Shakespeare. She later refudiated her refudiation — sort of.
The Palin TV Takeover continued with Sarah Palin's Alaska, a hotly anticipated inside look at the most bland, dull, and inoffensive aspects of Palin life. Cupcakes were made. Grizzlies were watched. Politics were discussed obliquely, but always in a "non-political" way — to avoid inflaming Tea Partiers, and to convince independents that Sarah Palin is a totally nonthreatening awesome mom-lady who will take everyone fishing if she's elected president.
Bristol Palin's turn on Dancing With the Stars seems like something that would be in South Park, but in fact it was in Real Life. Also South-Parkian: the Tea Party's alleged vote-fixing efforts to help Bristol win. Bristol didn't triumph, but her family's efforts to remain consistently in the public eye (despite repeatedly insisting that they not be publicly commented upon) did.
Not to be left out of the Palin family media circus, Willow Palin raised a stink by using homophobic slurs in a Facebook spat. Her mom criticized her use of a "bad word," but praised Willow's chutzpah — because as we now know, being objectionable on Facebook is a great route to fame and fortune.
Also, Palin wrote another book. Whose leaking was a matter of national security.
Which pretty much brings us to the present — a time when the Palins have completed their metamorphosis from visible political family to multimedia empire. Are they moving to Arizona? Will Todd be on Dancing With the Stars? Speculate about them as you would about celebrities — they've basically become the Jolie-Pitts of the Tea Party, which we have to assume is exactly how the Mama Grizzly wants it. But a few questions remain: will celebrity help her win in 2012? And when will we see Palin: The Movie?
Earlier: The Pro-Life Movement Is Not Pro-Woman: An Open Letter To Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin And The Palm Platform
Family Guy's Down Syndrome Episode: Adding Insult To Interesting
Sign Of The Mediapocalypse #412: Bristol Palin To Play Herself On TV
"What If I Didn't Come From A Famous Family?"
Bristol and Levi's Engagement Is Sarah's Smartest PR Ploy Ever
Bristol, Levi Break Their Fairytale Engagement
Palin Speaks Jibberish To Express Her Xenophobia
Sarah Palin's "Non-Political" Show Is Still Pretty Political
Sarah Palin's Alaska Is Afraid Of Its Own Viewers
How Palin Conservatives Are Cheating The DWTS Voting System
Willow Palin's Homophobic Facebook Fight
Palin Sees No Difference Between Wikileaks & Her Book Leak
Is The Entire Palin Clan Headed For Arizona?