Andrew Sullivan is on quite a tear over Sarah Palin’s Tea Party appearance last night. ?I didn’t get to see the whole thing – I channel flipped between Palin and the Cavs, who were in the process of blowing a massive lead at home to the Knicks – Lebron, of course, pulled it out. ?What I did see of Palin last night convinces me of my Grand Theory of All Things Palin, which is the following.

Sarah Palin is nothing but an attention whore, and yes, I use that word on purpose. ?Palin has gotten where she is by being an empty, lazy, ignorant, vapid, and moderately attractive siren, because that’s what today’s media environment craves. ?Alas, she didn’t get her attention fix by becoming a broadcaster on ESPN, but she damn well was going to get it somehow. ?That’s the process we witness today.

Palin is eating it up, because it’s easy, and now, lucrative. ?This is her guiding principal in life. ?Apply that approach to Palin’s political future, and there really is only one path that makes sense for Palin – a doomed independent run for the presidency in 2012 which will destroy the Republican Party.

For as long as she can, Palin will do everything possible (which is to say, not lift a finger) to gin up speculation of a GOP presidential primary run in 2012, right up to the point she has to file in Iowa, NH, or any other primary state. ?Of course, she will not file, for several reasons. ?First, running for president actually requires work. ?Second, Palin knows she will never become the GOP nominee – the scrutiny of a major party primary process would destroy her image utterly. ?Third, it’s easier to play the victim if you don’t actually lose.

But more importantly, if she files for any presidential primary, she won’t be able to run as an independent, third party, perhaps Tea Party candidate for president. ?Palin cannot win as a third party nominee, but remember, Palin is not about governing, or actually being an elected official, she is about attention which earns her cash.

Nothing is more attention grabbing and scrutiny avoiding than a third party candidacy for president – a “Draft Sarah” movement is already teed up, and when that begins in earnest, after she plays a victim complex about being “forced out” of the 2012 GOP primary, it will be like raw cocaine into her vein. ?She may go through with an independent run, may not (see “this requires work” thing), but in the end, this is the path which leads to the most money and attention.

If she does get on the ballot in all 50 states, Barack Obama may carry all 50 states. ?If she doesn’t get on the ballot, her teabagger base will stay home in a fit of victimhood, and Barack Obama will carry perhaps 40 states. ?Either way, Palin’s pursuit of attention and money will never yield a Palin presidency, but will yield the total destruction of the right wing, Christianist fanatic Republicanism that Sullivan wants to see destroyed.

After Sarah Palin’s 2012 folly, it will be impossible for anyone in a leadership position within the GOP to survey the wreckage and conclude anything other than change must happen. ?It will be a spectacle to behold for the next several years, it will be ugly, you may have to turn away in horror, but in the end, Sarah Palin will change the Republican Party for the better, but not in the way her supporters think.

And that will be very good for our country.

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