Apparently the adage that the only bad publicity is no publicity is not universally true. Despite the crowd fighting a messy and photogenic war for control of the GOP, Politico reports that a recent Harris poll has John McCain, who’s been keeping a relatively low profile since the election, regarded as the most influential leader of the GOP by not unimpressive margins.

Far be it from me to attempt to read the stars from a single poll, but this does bode well for what remains of the party’s moderate wing after months of the newscycle being focused squarely on the trevails of the tea party movement and it’s assorted straw men.

On that topic, something puzzles me: is anyone else as confused by the idea that a movement that claims to be as concerned about fiscal issues as the teabaggers would be willing to shell out $350 a pop to see palin (herself paid an even hundred grand) speak at the first-ever tea party convention?