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Just what Old City needs: Another summer tourist

National Lampoon presents Sarah Palin's Summer Vacation, coming to Philadelphia next week:

Sarah Palin is launching a nationwide bus tour starting Sunday in Washington, a Palin source has confirmed to POLITICO.

The first stop will be at the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally. Palin will then travel up the East Coast in a trip that will include her first stop in New Hampshire since running as the GOP's vice presidential nominee in 2008.

Palin will also be stopping at other spots of symbolic national significance on the East Coast, including the Civil War battlefields at Gettysburg and Antietam, and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.

It will be interesting to see all the Palin supporters streaming down from Society Hill, Northern Liberties and other local bastions of the Tea Party Movement. Did she not listen to her friend Glenn Beck's warning that it's not safe around Independence Hall?

So does this mean that Sarah Palin -- who also just moved to Arizona, which is always a good move for White House hopefuls, as Presidents Goldwater and McCain showed us -- is officially running for POTUS 45? Signs point to yes, although only in the bizarre way that Sarah Palin is re-inventing politics for our warped 21st Century. I think what happened is this: The Palin brand was on fire in 2010, but then it crashed and burned, in part because of overexposure and partly after the Tucson shootings.

To save that personal brand -- which made her a millionaire in a very short time -- she needed three things to happen. 1) She needed to drop out of sight for six months and stay out of trouble. 2) She needed to hope (and this was outside her control, obviously) that the 2012 GOP field would be uninspiring and that no one united the Tea Party wing of the party, and having seen 1) and 2) now happen, it's time for 3) She needed to make herself a political A-lister again, and the truth is she can only do that by running for president. She probably knows there's no way she can win, but she's also smart enough to realize that doesn't matter, that the $100,000 speaking gigs to truck-stop operators and the big book advances would grind to a halt of she didn't stay in the game.

So we'll see you next week at the Liberty Bell -- where we'll learn that the crack was caused by Big Government and can only be fixed by private enterprise, provided they don't have to pay their employees' health insurance.