It seems rather serendipitous that the New York Times would publish an amazingly flattering article about Sarah Palin on the same day the East Coast got walloped by a massive snowstorm.
But to see the Gray Lady quote an Alaska editor saying the former governor is "as big a celebrity as Princess Di” gives one the feeling hell really hath frozen over.
Readers are encouraged to strap themselves in tightly, for Mark Leibovich's "Palin, Visible and Vocal, Is Positioned for Variety of Roles" is by no means what conservatives have grown to expect from the Palin-hating media:
Ms. Palin represents a new breed of unelected public figures operating in an environment in which politics, news media and celebrity are fused as never before. Whether she ever runs for anything else, Ms. Palin has already achieved a status that has become an end in itself: access to an electronic bully pulpit, a staff to guide her, an enormous income and none of the bother or accountability of having to govern or campaign for office.
"Few public figures not in office have leveraged the nexus between media and political positioning as Sarah Palin has," said the Washington lawyer Robert Barnett (who negotiated, among other things, Ms. Palin's lucrative deal with Fox News, an arrangement with the Washington Speaker's Bureau that pays her a reported $100,000 a pop, and a deal with Harper Collins to write her memoir, "Going Rogue," which has already earned her upward of eight figures).
As you might expect, this piece wasn't all glowing praise, as Leibovich managed to slip in some problems in front of Palin:
As she jumps more into the national political swamp, Ms. Palin is proving as divisive in Republican circles as she was within the fractious McCain campaign.
Her scheduled appearance in Nashville on Saturday incited cries of "sellout" from other Tea Party factions that objected to the high cost of tickets to the convention ($549). Many of her "establishment" supporters were confounded by her decision to endorse Mr. Paul, who is facing Secretary of State Trey Grayson in the Kentucky Senate primary and who is the son of Ron Paul, the former presidential candidate of libertarian bent.
"I'm disappointed by her endorsement of Paul," said William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard and one of the conservatives credited with "discovering" Ms. Palin in 2007. "But they always disappoint you."
But get a load of this conclusion:
"She has expanded her house and turned it into a compound," said Rebecca Braun, who edits the nonpartisan Alaska Budget Report. "She is basically invisible in Alaska but as big a celebrity as Princess Di everywhere else."
Wow! This from the New York Times?
Makes you wonder if this huge snowstorm hitting at the same time means something.