It wasn’t supposed to be like this.
Bristol Palin, like almost every single offspring of every single failed vice-presidential candidate and the children of many Veeps themselves, should have gone back to Alaska with her mother.
The 19-year old unwed mother should have disappeared into a life of Trivial Pursuit irrelevance and slow news day “Where Are They Now?” profiles. She was not supposed to be dancing up a storm on one of America's top-rated shows with her mother in the audience cheering.
On the other hand, right about now, Lindsay Lohan, one of the most acclaimed actresses of her own and every other generation, was not supposed to have hit rock bottom.
Three years after a pleading guilty to a couple of DUIs, Lohan should be showing everyone how well she has grown out of her Hollywood indiscretions.
Here's how it should have gone: The 24-year old Lohan, coming off a guest appearance on “Glee,” gearing up for yet another award season, cheered for balancing her charity work fighting the global sex trade, her adopted children and her career, garnering another set of nominations for another set of highly praised performances.
A few short years ago, that’s the scenario most would have predicted. Instead, the universe has, as the universe does so often these days, turned everything upside down.
Palin, with mom Sarah and 20-month-old son Tripp in tow, is cruising around Beverly Hills on the weekends avoiding cameras and embracing the spotlight like a Kardashian. At the same time, Hollywood hemlock Lohan is once again just out of jail for the time being and once again hoping a stint in rehab might keep her from an even longer time behind bars and the final fatal career curb stomping.
Palin might have seem alternating coy and shy when we first saw her onstage at the 2008 National Republican Convention, but today -- with her unwed teen pregnancy turned into a profitable and populist asset for her and Mom -- she’s center stage like a pro. With an unabashed sexuality we don’t commonly publicly associate with children of the GOP, Alaska’s most famous daughter’s shaking her hips "like a pro,” according to "Dancing With the Stars" judge Bruno Tonioli.
Her continued ascendance -- amidst rumors that she may be dating her "DWTS" partner Mark Ballas -- tells you almost everything you need to know about the ménage à trios between celebrity, money and politics in America in 2010.
For Lohan, it is almost all a certain lose-lose from here. Maybe her latest upcoming jail sentence -- certain to be imposed at an Oct. 22 probation violation hearing -- won’t put the last bullet in her career. America will forgive almost anything if you say “Sorry” enough times and seem to mean it. But no one believes Lohan now -- maybe not even herself. Lohan has truly blown more chances than she reportedly has Columbian marching powder.
Of course, Lohan is not alone in her indulgences in Tinseltown. The trick, like politics, is not to get caught, or as the latest recently settled case of Charlie Sheen revealed, be a big enough moneymaker for the network or the studio that they know they’ll lose more throwing you overboard than watching your addled back.
Lohan, who hasn’t carried a hit movie since 2005’s “Herbie: Fully Loaded,” fails both those tests. And it doesn't seem like that will change any time soon. As one studio insider whose worked with Lohan in the past told me, “You don’t know what shape she’ll show up in and with budgets what they are now, this town doesn’t have the patience for that kind of behavior that it once did.” Nor does it have the ability to insure her.
America, pundits tell us, loves a fighter or at least the appearance of one. It also really loves a redemption story. Bristol Palin took her snowflake of fame from her mother's failed GOP campaign of 2008 and turned into both. If you had any doubt of what a showstopper she has become, she was the show closer on "DWTS" on Monday night. The only potential upstage to her was Sarah, who straddled both celebrity mom and superstar politician, in her brief interview on the show
As for Lindsay Lohan, it just seems she crumpled under her tsunami of fame. One thing is for sure, America hates a loser and that’s what she's turned out to be.