October 06, 2011 at 02:05 PM EDT

Sarah Palin’s announcement that she won’t seek the Republican nomination for president in 2012 was not unexpected, but that doesn’t alleviate the disappointment for her passionate supporters — or those merely fascinated by our national obsession with the former Alaska governor. Consider me in the latter group. It’s sad, I guess, but the political impact of Palin’s announcement is secondary for me to the loss in entertainment value. It’s as if Alec Baldwin said he was not coming back to 30 Rock this season. Or Snooki checked out of Jersey Shore. (The writers at The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live must be in mourning today.)

That’s not to say that Palin is going away. In her statement yesterday, she said “I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office — from the nation’s governors to Congressional seats and the Presidency.” I’m certain Palin will maintain a presence on television news, a perch that not only gives her a loud megaphone on issues she finds essential but also protects her family from the media scrutiny that a candidate reluctantly endures.

Still, Sarah Palin commenting on the 2012 election is a far cry from Sarah Palin in the 2012 election. It’s like Magic Johnson. No one wanted to hear him announce NBA basketball games after he retired; they wanted to see his magnificence on the court. In front of a mic, he mangled the English language with such gusto and… Hmmm.

Bless you, Magic. Perhaps Palin can still deliver the entertainment goods from courtside.

Read more:

New Sarah Palin book from Joe McGinniss

Herman Cain grilled by the ladies of ‘The View’

Gary Johnson and his neighbor’s two dogs win Republican presidential debate

You May Like