DESPERATE PLEA FOR ATTENTION…. We learned last night that President Obama expects health care reform to cost “around $900 billion over 10 years.” Obviously, that’s a considerable investment, but the president reminded Americans that this is less than what the U.S. has spent in Iraq and Afghanistan, and unlike those wars, health care reform will not automatically be added to the debt.

This seems to have annoyed Sarah Palin, who apparently didn’t understand what the president said.

“….President Obama delivered an offhand applause line tonight about the cost of the War on Terror. As we approach the anniversary of the September 11th attacks and honor those who died that day and those who have died since in the War on Terror, in order to secure our freedoms, we need to remember their sacrifices and not demonize them as having had too high a price tag.”

Now, on a variety of levels, this is clearly insane. Indeed, as Greg Sargent noted, “For sheer creativity, that one easily rivals the death panels.” To suggest the president “demonized” 9/11 victims and/or American soldiers is to have completely lost sight of reality. Palin’s complaint is practically pathological.

But the point of this latest nonsense isn’t to find fault with a cost comparison, it’s the latest effort to position the former governor as a leading White House critic. Maybe Palin really believes the president was “demonizing” terror victims; maybe not. She’s easily confused, but her genuine beliefs don’t really matter.

This is about Palin’s latest cry for attention. The more ridiculous the claim, the more likely the desired reaction. And for all I know, it’ll work just fine — “the media loves a good fight, even when the charges are unfounded.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.