Sarah Palin will be delivering her keynote speech at the Tea Party convention at 9pmEST this evening, and, lord help us, we'll be here to live blog it for you. Why bother? Well, for several reasons, actually:
While a popular response to anything remotely Palin-related on the site is "Who cares? Can't she just go away now?" it appears that Palin isn't going anywhere anytime soon, and ignoring and avoiding her, particularly when she's preaching to her choir, isn't necessarily helpful in the long run, as far as ultimately avoiding a Palin presidency someday. Whether we like it or not, Palin and her fans (the New York Times notes that she has 1.3 million on Facebook alone) are organized, vocal, and apparently important enough to grab the attention of MSNBC, who will break their regularly scheduled weekend programming of prison exposes and grisly murder scenes to broadcast Palin's speech live from the convention this evening.
The Sarah Palin media machine is a strange and seemingly unassailable robot: for all of the hits it takes, it keeps on ticking, and bringing Palin the type of celebrity and spotlight she was perhaps looking for when she noted in her resignation speech last summer that "we can effect positive change outside government at this moment in time, on another scale, and actually make a difference for our priorities." The Times notes that Palin's strategy is paying off somewhat, as she "represents a new breed of unelected public figures operating in an environment in which politics, news media and celebrity are fused as never before."
Kenneth P. Vogel at Politico notes that this speech may be Palin's attempt to officially become the leader of the wackadoo tea party movement, which is a terrifying thought for those of us who, you know, actually think the President of the United States was born here. To put this potential insanity all into perspective, all one has to do is note this headdesk-worthy quote for the ages from Mark Williams, an official with the Tea Party Express, who tells Politico that perhaps Palin could become "the media face of the movement, kind of like Al Sharpton is the official black guy." Good lord in heaven.
In any case, we'll be watching, and listening to (and, admittedly, probably mocking, to a certain extent) what Palin has to say this evening: as much as it will make us cringe, and as much rage as the speech may summon, it's important to listen to what the other side has to say, no matter how painful and irritating it may be at times.
Oh, and also: we'll probably have a drinking game to get you through it. USA! USA!