08/08/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Epic Disaster Politician And Other Second Acts In American Life

In today's Wilshire & Washington, we can't help but weigh in on the Sarah Palin epic disaster movie. It's a fantastic train wreck of a story, and we can't look away. What is Palin's future hold? She used to want to be a journalist, so maybe she'll start her own Huckabee-style Fox News show. Is her move in any way politically savvy? Maybe "scrappy"? Can America simply not have a hot chick as a serious leader? In another second act in American life, Al Franken is a Senator. Even though the Republicans are already attacking him, Franken hasn't cracked one joke since he arrived in Washington. Ted gives us some perspective of Franken's candidacy as a native Minnesotan. How will he play if he stays all serious? Wouldn't it be sad if he never displayed his sense of humor? Isn't that what makes him such an interesting candidate?

President Obama is in Russia and he's trying to reset US-Russian relations, but what happens if the Russian national press doesn't cover his presence? Has anything substantive come out of his visit? The media's already back on the familiar trope of "all style, no substance" and it seems like an oversimplification. This meet-up feels so different than former meetings of the superpowers. Obama, to his credit, did not comment on Medvedev's eyes at least. Of course, we'll probably never know the substance of these meetings, simply because International Man of Mystery Vlady Putin won't be showing us his hand any time soon.

Since it's Michael Jackson Month, we have to touch on that. The MJ memorial has become a bit of a controversy, with some politicians criticizing a proposed recognition of the late singer in Congress. Was MJ a civil rights icon (another second act?) as so many people are claiming? Was his presence in the pop sphere transformative? What weight should we give to his private life scandals? It's easy to overhype a notable figure's impact upon their death, but hopefully, we can eventually have a true understanding of Jackson's legacy.

Listen to the show here, subscribe to the iTunes podcast, or use the Blog Talk Radio player:

Wilshire & Washington, the weekly Blog Talk Radio program that explores the intersection of politics, entertainment, and new media, features co-hosts Ted Johnson, Managing Editor of Variety; conservative blogger Teresa Valdez Klein (, and liberal blogger Maegan Carberry ( The show airs every Wednesday at 7:30am PST on