Lou Sarah, light of my life, fire in my belly. (Scott Olson/GETTY IMAGES)

Admittedly, I say that every time.

Telling someone that you’re done with Sarah Palin is like telling them that you’re finally calling it quits with cigarettes, alcohol, gratuitous references to “Moby Dick” or hunting the White Whale. It is not a remark that inspires any confidence.

But it’s all been downhill since the “blood libel.”

That’s not a sentence I thought I’d ever have to type, and it tells you how bad things have gotten.

I haven’t had anything new to say for months. I just compose Mad Libs around her name using words like “caribou” and “gormless.”

And Google Trends don’t lie.

Nobody is seeking more information about Sarah Palin.

“Thank you,” the Public says. “We already know all we need to know.”

“Are you sure?”


She’s the houseguest of the national consciousness who has tenaciously clung on for years and refused to leave.

And it’s not her fault. It’s ours.

In blatant defiance of all the relevant statistics, we continue to pollute the well of public discourse with analysis, data and random thoughts about Palin that occurred to us while we were waiting for the bus. We continue to ask in national polls whether respondents would vote for her for president. Never mind that if we asked the same people if they’d vote for Ke$ha, we might get a better response. That would be a frivolous question! It is not frivolous to ask about Palin. Sure, she’s a celebrity. But she didn’t appear on “Dancing With the Stars.” She appeared at “Dancing With the Stars.” It’s a subtle but meaningful distinction!

Now polls indicate that 71 percent of Republicans actively do not want her to run. Seventy-one percent!

That’s more Republicans than have ever wanted anyone to do anything, except possibly throw a seance to urge Ronald Reagan to Rise Up And Lead His People From The Wilderness.

That is more Republicans than want to vote for any of the other nominees. One might tentatively suggest that other candidates’ best strategies at this point might be to have their names legally changed to NOT PALIN, except that the sight of this name on the ballot might backfire.

Another way of putting this number is that “the only people who want Sarah Palin to run are Sarah Palin and one guy who thought the poll was trying to trick him with double negatives.”

Well, no, that is not quite accurate. Sarah Palin, the guy who thought the poll was tricking him and the Lamestream Media.

And that is the saddest part of all.

It was a beautiful affair while it lasted. It began like most tragic romances. A casual insult — “Lamestream” — became an endearing nickname.

“Call us that again,” we purred, watching our hit counts soar as we incorporated Palin even into unrelated headlines. (“What would Sarah Palin think of this weather?” “The Situation in Libya Has Nothing To Do With Sarah Palin — Ha Ha, Made You Click!”)

She combined all the charm and glamour of celebrity with all the real-world significance and serious-mindedness of politics.

We fell. We fell hard.

By the time we realized that she combined the charm and glamour of politics with the real-world significance and serious-mindedness of celebrity, it was too late. We were hooked.

People started to get bored. “You’re obsessed,” they said. “Why do you keep talking about her? You said you never liked her, really, and that her statements were unsound.”

“And we stand by that!” we snapped back, shoving that signed copy of “Going Rogue” into our back pockets and whistling casually. “S o unsound. Let’s talk about how unsound her statements are. Here’s a new quote I’ve just discovered. And look how unsound she looks in these 80 pictures of her I carry with me everywhere I go.”

 It’s schoolyard business as usual. Mock someone’s wardrobe? Call her Caribou Barbie? These are textbook preliminaries to courtship.

It’s that moment when Sarah Palin makes a film and the only person who shows up is a member of the Lamestream Media when you suddenly see where you stand. By the flickering light of the screen, accompanied by the sounds of people leaving the theater once they see this is not Harry Potter, you realize: The obsession has penetrated far deeper than you hoped.

We just don’t know how to quit her. We’ve tried hypnosis. At least I have. The hypnotist looked quizzically at me. “You sure you don’t want to take up flossing instead?” he suggested. “That would be easier.”

We’ve turned into the classic mercurial ex, alternating between writing elaborate declarations that we’re Fine Without You, Sarah and creepily reading all her e-mails.

But something has to give. You know that popular enthusiasm for Sarah Palin has waned when, interviewed about Sarah Palin, people are quoted as saying, “I don't think average Americans sit around and wonder whether Sarah Palin is running for president. Why are we even following Sarah Palin at this point? At some level, it’s just the media.”

“We know,” we whisper. “But do you have to go and say it like that?”  

It’s a new low when people don’t even want to be asked about Sarah Palin. People want to be asked about everything. Stick a microphone in our faces and we develop strong opinions about everything from shoelaces to those new Maryland football uniforms.

We’re on the brink.

You’d have thought that the poll where Charlie Sheen polled better than Palin would have put the kibosh on all the rumors of Palin the Serious Candidate. But that would have been too easy.

And she understands.

“Better to keep silent and be thought a fool,” they say, “than open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

“Better to keep silent and be thought a totally non-viable candidate for the presidency than to enter the ring and remove all doubt.”

That’s why she won’t run. Then it would be over.

Not that it isn’t over now. It is. Naturally.

You didn’t even read this.