Sarah Palin has a following which is religious in its fervor and willfully ignorant in its understanding of the wider world and how it works. The biggest problem, of a size they cannot comprehend, is that the scale of the nation, economy, and world, and it's amazing complexity are simply beyond the scope of their reasoning. This is not to say that her followers are too dumb to manage their own lives and those of their families and immediate communities, but at a certain point, things get so abstractly beyond their personal experience that they, as they so often say about others, "don't get it." The problem of understanding scale is certainly not limited to Palin's followers, it pretty much hounds most regular people because absent experience with scale and complexity, the world can become a very abstract place very quickly.
Awareness and context are available more now than ever before because of the omnipresence of information through the internet and other explosively expanding media sources, but until porn is displaced as the number one internet activity, the use of that information will remain restricted. We are indeed in the midst of an information revolution which hasn't been seen in human history since the invention of the movable type printing press, but we're real early in the process so it will still be quite a while, a couple generations by my reckoning, before kids brought up in it from the start will be used to using it for purposes beyond acquisition of the next orgasm.
But I digress...
For once, Sarah Palin was made a patsy unfairly by mainstream and definitely by the left punditocracy for the massacre in Arizona a few weeks back and true to form she shot back at her critics with an even more incendiary blast that made her a headline again for another week. Her "blood libel" reference confirmed the religious tone of her communications to her followers. It was a foolish metaphor to use but right in line with her mode of operation. She is a publicity hound, not a leader and this incident demonstrated that reality as starkly as anything else she's done since being brought thoughtlessly onto the national scene following a John McCain hissy fit over not getting his own VP running mate choice, douchebag Joe Lieberman.
If she was a leader, she would have responded to her accusers with a message that upbraided them for their jumping to false conclusions, but recognizing that there was, nevertheless, a point about nasty, non-substance language in political campaigns and its marketing, and that she would be an example to others by refraining from it going forward. She could have rebranded herself into a genuine force of substance in American politics. She then could have been justified in calling out others from all points of the political spectrum for their bad language and actually led us into discussions over the genuine difficult issues of the day and the assorted ways they can be addressed. But she didn't. This, because Sarah Palin is STILL a dangerous moron and has too many people following her for no good reason and her continued presence in our national political scene remains a problem for whatever the future holds.
This is not a 1st Amendment issue. Of course a politician can say whatever s/he wants in furtherance of whatever it is they are trying to further. This is about being a responsible adult in the world. There are appropriate and inappropriate ways to communicate to people. Sarah Palin communicates like a petulant child or an adolescent artist interested only in shocking and getting publicity for its own sake, not for contributing anything useful to the human experience. She doesn't need to reload. She needs to rebrand or retire.