The Palin will be doing the bus tour of the America, stopping at symbolic sites along the way in order to collect easily falsifiable anecdotes for the next few months.
This seems an obvious prelude either to a presidential run or a soon-to-be-canceled History Channel show, but I'm sincerely hoping it's a presidential run. Part of it is because her showing up at a political event is like watching your shitshow coworker show up at an office party: you know something's going to happen that you'll be talking about for the next few months, and you know that whatever it is, it's going to involve inappropriate gibberish slurred at a high volume.
But, for the sake of seeing the Republican primary turn as messy as possible (and, hopefully, giving Obama a clear path to a second term with enough political capital that might actually result in constructive action on jobs), Palin should get in and get in spectacularly. Not just because I anticipate her attacking Taco Bell as the first vanguard of Mexican invasion, or because she's going to spend half the campaign traveling to places where people were shot and making finger-guns at children; no, it's because her presence in the race immediately sucks up all available oxygen for the other candidates.
Look at Memeorandum. Palin is the top story, despite having announced a bus tour with no stops…and no bus. She's the subject of a propaganda film that she wants to see released nationwide. The topic of the movie? How she gets too much attention.
The benefit of Sarah Palin to liberals isn't simply that she makes a fool of herself. Newt Gingrich does that, Rick Santorum does that. It's that she can't let the limelight go, and will do anything in her power to make sure that people are talking about her. Paul Ryan's Medicare plan gained so much traction because the pundit class decided it was "serious" and "adult", but it was in the position to decide that because it was the easiest and loudest thing to focus on. They got to look like they were doing their jobs by going after low-hanging fruit, but will immediately pivot to whatever loud and shiny thing is over there.
You're Tim Pawlenty and want to talk about reforming something? Fuck you, Palin just tried to take a hunting rifle into an elementary school. You're Mitt Romney and want coverage for your bland serenade of College Republicans? Kiss my ass, Palin just said the national GDP of the United States was orange refrigerator, then bit a cat. The GOP can't do anything with her around, which means that she should be around as much as humanly possible. And seeing as how she's not human, but instead a trickster spirit from another dimension, she should be around as much as possible for a member of her magical race.