Someone once said that Timing is Everything.
Sarah Palin's entry onto the stage of American politics and celebrity (which are now more intertwined, almost co-terminous, than ever) in 2008 was exquisitely - albeit accidentally - timed. The Democrats trot out a shiny bright, progressive (OK OK, perhaps pseudo-progressive, now that we know him better), African-American candidate to run against the record of a monstrously failed George W. Bush presidency. His handlers aware that their candidate needed the political equivalent of a 6-pack of Red Bull to revv up their changes, John McCain brought aboard Ms. Palin.
Lo and behold, she turned out to be the incarnation of the wettest of wet dreams for the Republican base: cheerleader-cute, even hot; brassy; energetic and energizing. She was also very White (from one of the Whitest of the 50 states), yet married to a high-school sweetheart who was also part-Eskimo/Inuit and a man's man; she could aim and fire a shotgun (and from a helicopter or plane, no less!) and dress a carcass as well as any man; and she practiced a brand of Jesus-is-Lord, Israel-must-reign Christianity that won her the fealty of the amped-up hyper-Christian Zionists who dictate American politics these days.
A bit more than three years later, she's done.
Turned out that Ms. Palin was all hat, no brains. The signs were there from the get-go, for anyone to see if they simply took the time - and cared enough about the future of the USA - to look closely. She couldn't identify for Katie Couric the newspapers she read. She was woefully ignorant of history or international affairs (but claimed front-line expertise because, she said, she could see Russia from the farthest shores of Alaska).
But none of that mattered to her devotees. And that says it all about the parlous state to which the Republican base has declined. Surely there are still some moderate, reasonably sensible Republicans out there; they're Mitt Romney's core support, and biggest hope. But Sarah Palin did so well, and hung around as long as she did, because she epitomized what have become the values of the GOP base: whiteness, hyper-Christianity, SEC football, Toby Keith (or Hank Williams, Jr.) country music, America-uber-Alles, gospel-according-to-Limbaugh - and a world view that boils down to "pointy-headed intellectual 'elites' can go f*ck themselves, because only "real people" like us know what's best for America."
And in the end, as she exited the stage of electoral politics, Sarah's timing was way off. Her announcement was hugely upstaged by the news of the death of Steve Jobs, a man who contributed more to the life and future of the US - and the planet - than a thousand Sarah Palins ever could have.
And a final irony for Sarah to ponder: Mr. Jobs was the biological son of one of those nefarious Arabs whom Sarah (for Israel's sake) loved to hate, a man from Syria whose girlfriend gave their baby son up for adoption, and who himself wound up becoming a university professor - one of those pointy-headed intellectuals.
Sayonara, Sarah. If you truly care about the good of the country, go back to your Alaska deep-freeze - and give your fans a chance to forget you - and, perhaps, to wise up.