What is wrong with Joanne Lipman? Does the Portfolio editor detest business journalism? Is she trying to finally get fired? There must be some reason she's putting Sarah Palin on next month's cover.

That's easily Lipman's worst call since fronting with American Apparel founder Dov Charney in the first Portfolio following the economic meltdown — greeting the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression with a story about a t-shirt vendor.

Staff tried to warn Lipman about the Palin cover, according to Women's Wear Daily, just as they did before she disastrously published stale scuttlebutt about a Nixon-era scandal last January. Lipman, defiantly ignorant of business news, was no more compliant this time around.

As with November's Charney issue, April's Portfolio will ignore an historic fulcrum in American finance, when anti-Wall Street populism is at an all-time high and calls for wholesale bank nationalization are gaining real ground (establishment figures like former IMF man Stephen Johnson having come to concur with once-fringe economists like Nouriel Roubini).

Sure, famed Nixon campaign-chronicler Joe McGinniss is penning the Palin piece, and there's some sort of vague business angle involving oil, but come on: Even Lipman's heretofore steadfast boss Si Newhouse has to be able to see how out of touch his business magazine now looks. Even if the glamour-mag publisher wasn't much concerned with finance six months ago, the imploding advertising market ensures he's up to speed now. And he'll be wondering why Lipman isn't.