Palin’s usefulness lies not so much in her political utility (she’s pretty bog standard, when it comes to that) but rather in an almost devout conviction among conservatives that she Pisses Off Liberals [tm]. They’ve even invented an amusing (if grim) little myth that liberals hate her because she refused to abort one of her pregnancies. How this makes any sense at all—how exactly it’s supposed to enrage pro-choicers—is never quite detailed, but details aren’t really what matters. In a way, I admire Palin. Far from hating her, I find her an almost quintessentially American creation: A relentlessly, catastrophically self-assured grifter who uses her purported love of country like a cudgel, and who when she’s not nattering on about “liberty” and “freedom of speech” is quacking insults and volleying outrageous slanders at those who disagree with her. Her tweets about ordinary Americanness emanate from her enormous mansion and the thumbs of a paid employee, and the rubes are so besotted by it all that even though they never take their eyes off the hustle they never quite manage to see it. What’s more American than that?