The war on Sarah Palin's Christmas book

News that Sarah Palin is writing a book about Christmas has led to an explosion of comment in social-media spaces. Here are the most likely ramifications of this Palin development.

(J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Sarah Palin will be releasing her third book in November, criticizing the commercialism and homogenization of Christmas.

Yes, Sarah Palin is writing a book about Christmas. The former Alaska governor has inked a deal with HarperCollins to produce “A Happy Holiday IS a Merry Christmas,” scheduled for November release. The semi-memoir will include details of Palin Christmases past while criticizing the “over-commercialism” and “homogenization” of Christmas, according to a publisher news release.

“This will be a fun, festive, thought provoking book, which will encourage all to see what is possible when we unite in defense of our faith and ignore the politically correct Scrooges who would rather take Christ out of Christmas,” Ms. Palin said in a statement released by her publishers.

As you might imagine, this development has led to an explosion of comment in America’s social-media spaces. Given the unrestrained nature of electronic communication, much of this discussion has been less than profound. It ranges from Sarah supporters chanting “2016! 2016!” to opponents expressing gratitude that something will soon fill empty remainder bins at the remaining brick-and-mortar Barnes & Noble stores.

Calm down, everybody. Neither nirvana nor the apocalypse has arrived. Let’s run through the most likely ramifications of this fizzy development.

Christmas won't change. Conservatives such as Bill O’Reilly have been railing against the War on Christmas for years. It’s a Fox News staple once fall wanes. A quick search for “war on Christmas” books produces a lengthy list including John Gibson’s “The War on Christmas: How the Liberal Plot to Ban the Sacred Christian Holiday Is Worse Than You Thought,” published in 2005.

Yet over-commercialization starts earlier every year. Retail chains have become ever-more dependent on holiday-season shopping. Palin might have better success sparking a political revolt against the war on Thanksgiving. Squeezed between Halloween candy and costume sales and Black Friday shopping sprees, the simple family turkey dinner of yore is truly endangered.

Palin's not coming back. She's always been right here. Some pundits are putting two and two together and getting political comeback. Palin’s got a new book coming out, and she’s been given an extra-long speaking time at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference.

“Could it be time for a mini-comeback? You betcha,” writes Daily Beast D.C. bureau chief and veteran Washington pundit Howard Kurtz.

No. And can we stop with the “you betcha”? It’s funny when Tina Fey does it. You’re no Tina Fey.

Palin is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of modern US politics. Her positives are high, and she has millions of excited supporters. But her negatives are really low, and she has tens of millions of excited opponents who love to read bad things about her, like how she screwed up the story of Paul Revere’s ride.

She didn’t run in 2012 because she would have lost. She won’t run in 2016 because she would still lose. She’s got stiff competition from Rep. Michele Bachmann, among others, for the role of GOP folksy firebrand.

She is what she’s been since the end of the 2008 campaign: a celebritician, or polebrity, if you will. She combines conservative political positions with personal fame to advance both ideological positions and the Palin brand.

Mr. Kurtz writes that Palin “does need a bigger platform than Twitter or Facebook if she’s going to get back into the cultural relevancy game.” Great! Call when you find a bigger platform than Facebook: We’ll open an account. If only she’d signed on with Newsweek. Oh, right.

Palin lost her speaking gig on Fox News because she’s not impressive as a commentator. She got an extra-long spot at CPAC because she’s great at giving set speeches. End of story.

It's all about the Wilsons. The highest denomination of US currency ever printed was a $100,000 bill featuring the portrait of Woodrow Wilson. Though only issued for a few months in 1935, the Wilsons illustrate our point that besides whatever ideology motivates Palin, this is mostly about making money.

It does not mean she’s desperate. The very funny Alexandra Petri writes in her Washington Post humor column, “Christmas books are like Christmas albums: They are not things you make and announce in March when your career is going anywhere good.” Not true! Bob Dylan issued a Christmas album in 2009 (although we don’t know when he announced it). He’s not exactly Kenny G.

As the Associated Press story on the Palin book notes, the terms of her contract were negotiated by Washington lawyer Robert Barnett. What it does not say is that Mr. Barnett is the most insider, establishment, blue-chip book attorney in the nation’s capital. He’s negotiated lucrative deals for everybody from Bob Woodward to a then-little-known lawmaker named Barack Obama.

That means Palin will be making a hefty sum – probably via a lucrative holiday speaking tour as well as pure book sales. That’s the Barnett way.

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