So before it’s forgotten, let’s note that the annual clambake known as CPAC ended with a predictable bang (a fairly comfortable win in the presidential straw poll for Rand Paul, his second in a row) and a wild closing speech. The latter was delivered by none other than St. Joan of the Tundra, who is enjoying some fresh celebrity for her allegedly prophetic swipes at Russia back when she was taking swipes at just about everybody and everything other than her adoring “base.”

As it happens, I had been mulling over a column on how conservatives alternate between attitudes of victimization and bully-boy triumphalism. With Palin’s reappearance, I realized once again how very well she manages to blend the whine and the gloat into a vengeful sneer. So of course she was all over the martyrdom and ultimate triumph of Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson. That saga sent the message that the godless secular-socialist elites may have momentarily succeeded in nailing the good homophobic folk to the cross, but the resurrection came fast, and before long it’s going to be the GSSE on the run and hiding from the posse. That’s the sort of rhetorical manuever at which Palin excels, and it’s why no matter how often we wish her away, she keeps coming back.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.