And no, it's not her politics.
Sarah Palin is a love-to-hate figure, a woman of absolutes and contradictions. The glowing skin, the perfectly made-up face, the sexy spectacles combined with political power -- as a working mother of five, she's a modern woman who does it all. With only a few cracks on the surface to show for it.
I've just finished reading her autobiography, "Going Rogue," and it's a masterwork. The language is eloquent and flowing, so different from the faltering grammar of her unscripted speeches. Take this evocation of Alaska:
"With the first light covering of snow about to descend on Pioneer Peak, I breathed in an autumn bouquet that combined everything small-town America with rugged splashes of the Last Frontier."
She has little truck for vegetarians like myself -- "if God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat?" she contends, in italics -- yet she manages to make oil-drilling sound almost like a good idea, and her foes seem like fools. And Alaska! Alaska is an intoxicating landscape, an oasis of true America in a troubled world full of "Others."
You'd almost wonder if she wrote the book herself.
She tells us that she did: "It's very quiet in the little apartment I'm in for a couple of weeks as I work on this book, and the curtains are open to invite in the California sunshine."
I imagine Palin will attract even more viewers to Fox. She reached out to her audience in a recent tweet: "What would America do w/out Fox News? I'm so thankful for the opportunity to work w/team committed to fair&balanced reporting.Please join us!"
I'm not saying I'd like Palin if I met her, and if she were vice president I would have left America long ago. But were she to disappear entirely from our TV screens, had she just snuck back to Alaska and stayed there after the election, wouldn't we miss those sharp red suits, the up hairdo, the rouge, the smile?
Without Palin the world would be calmer and less complicated. But surely, too, it would be a less entertaining place?