BRODER PUTS ON LEATHER JACKET, DONS SKIS, EYES SHARK…. David Broder urges readers today to “take Sarah Palin seriously.”

That, in and of itself, need not be a ridiculous statement. After all, such advice does not necessarily denote merit. An influential political observer in 1949 may have written, “Take Joe McCarthy seriously,” not because he was right, but because he was dangerous.

Indeed, Time‘s Joe Klein has a piece this week that describes the former half-term Alaska governor as “someone to be taken absolutely seriously.” Of course, Klein also described Palin’s policy prescriptions as “extremely dangerous,” her public remarks as veering into “duplicity,” and her vision as offering “despair and stasis.”

In this sense, “take Sarah Palin seriously” can be a warning, as in, “take Sarah Palin seriously” because she represents the very worst American politics has to offer — a celebration of ignorance, futility, and mendacity.

Is that what David Broder means? Alas, no. The so-called “dean” of the D.C. political media establishment is actually “impressed” with the clownish Fox News personality.

Her lengthy Saturday night keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville and her debut on the Sunday morning talk show circuit with Fox News’ Chris Wallace showed off a public figure at the top of her game — a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm. […]

Blessed with an enthusiastic audience of conservative activists, Palin used the Tea Party gathering and coverage on the cable networks to display the full repertoire she possesses, touching on national security, economics, fiscal and social policy, and every other area where she could draw a contrast with Barack Obama and point up what Republicans see as vulnerabilities in Washington. […]

The lady is good.

Good at what?

Broder’s column, much like Palin’s speeches, is devoid of all substance. He didn’t, and couldn’t, point to a single idea, proposal, or achievement the right-wing Alaskan has presented that has even an inkling of value. On the contrary, Broder seems to suggest that Palin deserves accolades precisely because she has no real interest in ideas, proposals, or achievements. She’s at the “top of her game,” the columnist argues, not because Palin has any idea what she’s talking about, but because she can “sell herself.”

What Broder neglects to mention is that this deliberately know-nothing approach to politics during challenging times is a recipe for an idiocracy. To maintain American preeminence in the 21st century, the country must resist the urge to celebrate stupidity, whether Broder is “impressed” by it or not.

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.