Opposing Reactions to Michael Jackson's Real Death & Sarah Palin's Political One

The singer soars, the politician tumbles.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

There will be no more news until tomorrow--until the Michael Jackson Memorial is completed at not one but two stadia in downtown Los Angeles.

But it's worth comparing how Jackson's actual death and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's self-inflicted political death have had almost polar opposite effects on the American public.

In actual death, Michael Jackson has resurrected his career to a stratospheric level that he probably could not have achieved in real life. He was, as we've all heard zillions of times by now, about to embark on a global tour to try to reinvigorate his sagging star status. After death, however, his music shot back to the top of the sales charts and the sordid part of his personal life, remembered first and foremost while he was still alive, was buried much more quickly than was his body.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, has been called a "quitter" by her own people—hard-right conservatives—and worse, actually, by lots of other folks, bloggers, etc.

It's completely unclear what she intends to do with the rest of her life. Quite frankly, my dear, I don't give a darn. Could she secure the GOP presidential nomination? She surely has that potential and could pray her way into the hearts of the Christian evangelical right with demon zeal. But could she win a general election? Not a chance. She would be, as a former GOP co-chair said to me about former Sen. Robert Dole, what former Vice President Walter Mondale was to the Democratic Party: "He had to win the nomination and he had to lose the general."

Sarah Palin may turn out to be as politically dead as Michael Jackson is actually dead. And if she is, she's OK with that:

"I said before I stood in front of the mic the other day, you know, politically speaking—if I die, I die. So be it," Palin said.