Ah, Sarah Palin, the gift who keeps on giving!
Just when you thought that right-wing politicians couldn't get any dumber than, say, the lamebrain governor of Texas, Rick Perry, along comes the former Republican vice presidential candidate to plumb new depths of vacuity.
Becoming the most ridiculous conservative in the country is no small achievement. I mean, you've got to beat out Perry himself, who, without a shred of evidence to back up his absurd charge, has accused President Barack Obama of waging a "war on religion."
Then there's that strong contender, ex-House Speaker Newt Gingrich, with his Dickensian assault on "truly stupid child-labor laws" that prevent 9-year-old schoolkids from being used as janitors.
Or Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann's repeated attempts to rewrite history by claiming, among other things, that the first battle of the American Revolution was fought in New Hampshire, not Massachusetts.
And what connoisseur of the emptiness of right-wing thought doesn't savor almost everything Ron Paul says, or Herman Cain's pride in not knowing the identity of the ruler of "Ubeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan"? (For the record, neither do I, but then, I'm not dumb enough to run for the GOP nomination.)
But as impressive as these feats of willful ignorance, twisted logic and Scrooge-like callousness may have been, none of them, in my view, rivals Palin's critique of this year's White House Christmas card for sheer inanity.
The nitwit from Alaska complains that it's "odd" that the card features Bo, the Obama family dog, contentedly crouching before a cheery fireplace bedecked with Christmas decorations, but does not include a syrupy acclamation of "family, faith and freedom."
Most Americans, carps Palin, appreciate "American foundational values illustrated and displayed on Christmas cards and on a Christmas tree," instead of the "different way of thinking coming out of the White House" about the holidays that the Obamas' card supposedly represents.
This ridiculous broadside is, of course, only the latest salvo in the right wing's counteroffensive against the nonexistent war on Christmas that it claims liberals like Obama have been waging through their insidious use of the phrase "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."
To hear these critics tell it, Obama has gone so far in his campaign to undermine Christian values as to use the Capitol Christmas tree to celebrate himself instead of Jesus. I kid you not.
This is an actual quote from the ultraconservative Media Research Center's cns.news.com: "The 63-foot Sierra White Fir lighted at the U.S. Capitol Grounds on Dec. 6 as the official 2011 Capitol Christmas Tree includes a prominently displayed ornament paying homage to President Barack Obama, but includes no ornament readily visible to a person standing near the tree's base that uses the word 'Christmas,' or includes an image of the Nativity, or bears the name or image of Jesus Christ."
Never mind that the Obamas have nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with choosing the decorations. Or that there are, in fact, ornaments that include biblical verses and a depiction of the Bible. In this, as in so many cases, the right wing is more interested in scoring points than in the facts, even during the Christmas season.
It is, doubtless, not in keeping with the spirit of the holidays for me to bring up Palin's own, shall we say, checkered history with holiday symbols, but hey, I can't resist.
So in the interests of keeping the record straight, let me remind you that she is the woman who let herself be videotaped pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey while in the background, workers unceremoniously stuffed the lucky fowl's less celebrated kin neck-first into a grinder.
And she is the brave hunter who included footage of herself blazing away at a caribou like a gang member staging a drive-by before finally felling the besotted beast on her reality show, Sarah Palin's Alaska. A caribou is, of course, an undomesticated cousin of Santa's reindeer.
And she thinks there is something odd about the Obamas featuring a cute puppy on their Christmas card? Give me a break! Happy holidays!
Jack White keeps an eye on right-wing politics for The Root.
is a former columnist for TIME magazine and a regular contributor to The Root.