Edits in RED. Mods, feel free to edit the original post accordingly and delete this one.Interesting that you'd say that.
I remember when Obama was out on the campaign trail Reps, Conservs were talking about his "rock star/celebraty" image. It's funny how you don't hear them say this same thing about Sarah Palin now since she went on her book tour and her "celebraty status" has increased. And understand she no longer has any real political ties to either party since she's no longer the governor of Alaska and she's not holding any political office. Yet, Reps/Conservs are quite okay with letting her be out there front and center. On the one hand they lift her up whenever they can, but on the other hand they're quick to say "she's a maverick and really doesn't speak for the Republican/Conservative party but we like what she has to say".
As to the issue of Palin's relevence, I think it depends on what the Republican party sees as her role in the immediate future.
If they view her as another spokes person, then she may be in trouble. IMO, she tends to speak before she thinks and that bods as well as Barney Frank going on one of his rants. But, where Palin helps her party best is drumming home that good ole boy, back woods, wholesome feeling of being a "true American" that resinates quite well within with Republican party. For some reason, Republicans truly believe themselves as being more "American" than any liberal on the planet. So, to that Palin could be a good uniting entity for Republican that may be a problem for Democrats. And let's be honest; before she came onto the scene Republicans were looking for their young, charismatic politician with sex appeal to counter Obama, and they found such a person in Sarah Palin. Let's face it, Bobby Jendell (R-LA) just wasn't cutting it - good American name with an Islamic face...worse than having the middle name of "Hussein", but born and raised in America by Americans (white Americans at that). And now, we have the handsome, sexy Scott Brown on the scene fresh out of political high school as it were. You can't tell me that the Republican party won't be trying to pump up the volume on charisma with this two around (RE: Brown/Palin).
So, no. Sarah Palin is not irrelevant. If anything, she's like an Independent who's merely there to distract and pull attention (and votes) away from either party that is made to look less relevent than the other. If the Democrats don't look out, these two will certainly do it with nothing more than their good looks...much as has been claimed (or substantiated depending on what literature you read concerning Obama's rise to power) Pres. Obama did while out on the campaing trail.