A few years ago, people joked that Fox new was running a jobs program for has-been, hoping-to-be-again Republican politicians dreaming of defeating Barack Obama in 2012. Among the personalities emploted by the network during Obama's first term were Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, and of course, Sarah Palin. Palin had the best deal by far: a $1 million a year salary, a studio buily in her house so she wouldn't have to go anywhere, and a schedule of appearances so relaxed that she ended up getting paid more than $15 for every word she uttered on the air. And the thing of it was, she was terrible at it. She's always had some talents, but speaking extemporaneously on current affairs is most assuredly not among them. After one too many halting, inarticulate appearances on Hannity and The O'Reilly Factor, Roger Ailes quite reasonably cut her loose at the beginning of this year.
Yet just a few months later, she's back. Fox has rehired Palin, lest the world be deprived of her insights for any longer. One can only imagine the concessions Ailes extracted from her (who knows, maybe she's paying him to let her get in front of a camera). To which we say, thank heavens. We'll admit we missed her, and there is truly no one in American life quite like Sarah Palin. What other politician would resign halfway through her first term, and proudly proclaim that doing the job she was elected to do would be "the quitter's way out"? Who else is so desperate to engage in public beefs with somebody, anybody? (Right now it's Bill Maher, but in the past she has created protracted feuds with the likes of David Letterman and the estimable Levi Johnston.) Who else brings that magical combination of self-regard and resentment at the elitists keeping her down?
So welcome back, Sarah. Don't ever change.
SO THEY SAY
I’m a teacher, a scientist, and my most famous moment was beating the computer in Jeopardy.
—New Jersey Senate candidate Rush Holt, who says he's "no Cory Booker"
DAILY MEME: "I AM SORRY"
- "You have never been my enemy. I am very sorry that I have been yours," begins the second-to-last paragraph of Alan Chambers's apology to the LGBT community on behalf of Exodus International.
- "The foremost advocate of gay conversion therapy" announced it will shutter that program last night.
- The evangelical Christian group has promoted "reparative therapy" for gays since the 1970s.
- "Now, with one of the worst-of-the-worst anti-gay groups having disbanded, and with such heartfelt attrition, there is significantly less cover for political leaders on the bubble about gay marriage," writes The New Republic's Molly Redden.
- In act of clairvoyance, Lisa Murkowski became the third Republican to endorse same-sex marriage on Tuesday.
- Meanwhile, former W. Bush operative Ken Mehlman "is seeking to convince fellow Republicans that gay marriage is consistent with conservative values and good for their party."
- The president has already made his stance clear.
- But what about the third branch of government? The justices are dawdling.
- When the decision does come, there will be more than one way gay marriage can win at the Supreme Court.
- That ruling, by the way, will likely be handed down next week. Here's how a few of the possible options will play out, state by state.
- The people have spoken as well: a majority say same-sex marriage is just fine, and 54 percent believe "homosexual relationships are not a moral issue."
- Alan Chambers is not among them: “I cannot apologize for my beliefs about marriage.”
- All the same, another victory was struck on the side of gay rights. As Chambers old The Atlantic last night: “There's good and there's bad. But it's time now to focus on something new and to do something that's relevant for the time that we're living in.”
WHAT WE'RE WRITING
- We are not seeing the beginning of the “Daddy Wars” because they exist even less than “Mommy Wars,” writes E.J. Graff. Work-life balance is a concern for both genders, so let’s discuss it as a family issue.
- Most Americans now view marijuana as a relatively harmless drug. But if that's the case, writes Jamelle Bouie, then why do so many teenagers die in pot's California hometown?
WHAT WE'RE READING
- "It should always be remembered that America ... was attacked in 1860 by a formidable rebel faction seeking to protect the expansion of slavery." Ta-Nehisi Coates responds to a new brand of Civil War revisionism.
- Bald-headed Lebron James vanquishes head-banded Lebron James.
- Globe-trotting, polyglotting, economist/historian/philosopher Albert O. Hirschman "was hard not to fall for."
- Putting cash straight into the pockets of the poor is the next big thing in the fight against global penury.
- Massive civil unrest comes to Brazil, sparked by an increase in bus fare.
- We have finally hit peak cars.
- What form of worldwide economic calamity hath Ben Bernanke, the Bearded One, wrought?
POLL OF THE DAY
Though there is an ideological divide, 48 percent of Americans like the job the Supreme Court has done, and 48 percent don’t, according to a new poll released today by CNN and Opinion Research Corporation International. Only 37 percent of Republicans are satisfied with the bench’s performance, while 53 percent of liberals and 58 percent of moderates think the justices are doing good work.