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Saturday, November 08, 2008

A plea to John McCain: Find and expose the anonymous sources telling lies about Sarah Palin and use the McCain temper to "make them famous"

In the many hours I spent online doing background research on Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin before I wrote my first post about her on June 8, 2008, I read many dozens of newspaper stories about her, dating back to her time as mayor of Wasilla in the late 1990s, in the state's largest newspaper, the Anchorage Daily News, as well as in some of the smaller Alaska newspapers. I was specifically looking for negatives: I knew that the Democrats would be too, in the (then unlikely) event that Gov. Palin became a serious possibility as the GOP Veep nominee.

The single most frequently recurring theme was that Sarah Palin's political opponents underestimated her. In every campaign, her opponent attacked her as inexperienced. None of them argued, however, that she was stupid. The closest any opponent ever came to that was one of her two opponents in the 2006 gubernatorial race, Andrew Halcro, who claimed that she didn't immerse herself in the minutia of policy detail in which he himself reveled. Halcro is a wonk, and an annoying, patronizing twerp, and a sore loser, and the people of Alaska recognized that by leaving him an embarrassing distant third in that race, with less than 10% of their votes. But even Halcro didn't claim that Sarah Palin was stupid.

Nor did anyone else of consequence make that claim during Gov. Palin's first year-and-a-half as governor. She was criticized for having "sharp elbows," for holding political grudges, and for disfavoring those who'd crossed her — complaints leveled by losers left behind in the wake of every successful politician, because that's the loser-side view of being held accountable for ones actions and positions. But dim? Provincial? Uneducated? Nobody in Alaska had ever seriously charged Sarah Palin with being an airhead — not even the political enemies she'd left bleeding in the dust.

Because she was relatively unknown outside Alaska, however — and, very frankly, because she is an attractive woman who could therefore be easily tagged with the most cruel and sexist of stereotypes, the airhead — from the day John McCain announced her as his vice presidential nominee, her political opponents simply began manufacturing lies about her, many of which were designed to reinforce that airhead stereotype.

It did not surprise me that partisans opposed to the GOP ticket would believe these lies. But it very much surprised me that some smart centrists and even nominal conservatives did too.

I'll give you an example — one that makes me sick at heart. I've read Dr. James Joyner's blog, Outside the Beltway, regularly since before I started blogging myself in 2003. I regarded him as one of the most articulate, knowledgeable, and reasonable right-of-center bloggers around. I was tickled to be invited to participate by telephone in his podcast immediately after the Palin announcement in late August, and I agreed with him and the other participants that Gov. Palin was an exciting choice. Some time shortly after that, however, something changed Dr. Joyner's mind about Gov. Palin. And he now seriously purports to believe, for example, that Gov. Palin "couldn't even name a newspaper she read." That's not an isolated or snarky comment; that's consistent with everything he's written about Gov. Palin for weeks in perfect seriousness. And it's no different than if he were to insist that really, seriously, Joe Biden can't count to four because he claims "J-O-B-S" is a three-letter word. People joked about "Bush Derangement Syndrome," and about "Palin Derangement Syndrome" as its successor. But at some point this kind of thing stops being a joke and becomes a genuine cognative disability — an inability to process and deal in a rational fashion with objective data because of a bias that is so intense that it blocks out reality.

I can't explain it. I just hope it's a temporary, acute problem rather than something long-term or possibly organic, like the sort of brain tumors or lesions of which Dr. Oliver Sachs writes in his book, "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat." I'm not being at all snarky here. Rather, I'm entirely serious, because I have considered Dr. Joyner a friend, and I am genuinely concerned for his mental health. He, Andrew Sullivan, and others in their camp are completely persuaded that they can see a degree of ignorance in Gov. Palin which is utterly inconsistent with anyone's ability to function as the governor of any state, but to which hundreds of thousands of Alaskans were absolutely blind for many years despite a much better opportunity to assess Gov. Palin first-hand. That kind of thinking represents a break with reality, one that's not funny at all, but genuinely sad.

The latest of the deliberate liars — the people who are inventing stuff out of whole cloth, maliciously and without any pretense of a factual basis, without any regard for their utter implausibility — are the cowardly, sniveling pieces of garbage who've been masquerading as "campaign aides" for the McCain-Palin campaign. They are the worst kind of traitors in politics. Like the scumballs who invented the list of books that Sarah Palin had supposedly wanted burned when she was mayor of Wasilla — and who included in the list Harry Potter books that hadn't even been written when Gov. Palin was mayor — these anonymous assassins don't even bother to come up with plausible lies: Why bother, when mainstream publications like Newsweek will uncritically regurgitate them to millions without doing the most basic fact-checking?

It's time for this to end. It's time for the liars to be identified to the public and held accountable.

To Carl Cameron and others at Fox News: Shame on you for granting these people anonymity. There is no basis in journalistic ethics for you to do that. Shame on you for reporting this garbage at all.* With the exception of a few there like Greta Van Susterin who've refused to buy into this nonsense, you are rapidly eroding such credibility and respectability as your network had earned among Americans disgusted with the mainstream media in general. Stop what you're doing immediately.

To Sen. John McCain: Although you were far from my first choice as the GOP nominee, I've spent hundreds of hours working on your campaign's behalf, as have many others who were thrilled by your selection of Gov. Palin as your running mate.

I never thought I would have cause to label you, of all people, as a coward or dishonorable. You're acting in a cowardly and dishonorable fashion, however, by permitting people identified with your campaign to make these anonymous attacks on Gov. Palin. Identify them. Make them famous. If what they say is true, then make them back it up. If it is not — and I believe it is not — then expose them as liars so that no GOP politician will ever again dare hire these sniveling worms. They have no honor, but they are besmirching yours. And your silence is compounding this problem with every hour that passes. It's time, and past time, finally, for your long-suppressed temper to be unleashed, because you finally have targets who deserve the worst public tongue-lashing you can deliver.

To any and every potential GOP leader, including Mitt Romney: If I ever learn that you are knowingly employing any of these traitors, I will oppose your candidacy for any office, and do everything within my power to persuade others to oppose you too. Gov. Romney, you need to be heard on this matter too, immediately and forcefully, regardless of whether those responsible are in fact, as is being widely reported, former or prospective aides of yours.

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UPDATE (Sat Nov 8 @ 2:05pm CST): It's helpful for other campaign aides to go on record, by name, denying these things (see, e.g., here, here, and here). But that's not remotely adequate. McCain needs to be personally involved — on the record, on video that will be carried by the national media. The exposure and discrediting of these traitors needs to replicate as closely as possible the opening scenes with Chuck Conners in "Branded" — except these people are not innocent, and none of them is a real man:

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UPDATE (Sat Nov 12 @ 4:30pm CST): I embrace and adopt the sentiments of Allahpundit and Michelle Malkin: John McCain has failed this test of his own character.

The would-be commander-in-chief surely still had the clout to summon the top twenty-five or so campaign aides into a room for a "Come to Jesus" meeting, a "we aren't any of us leaving this room until I know who leaked those comments" meeting, a "you aren't any of you ever going to work in politics again until we find out who's to blame for this" meeting.

Instead, he goes on Lenno and shrugs his shoulders, minimizing the whole episode. That didn't make anyone famous. That affirmatively encouraged this crap to continue, not just in this campaign but in future ones.

I practice a profession in which secrets are important. I understand the concept of fiduciary duty. I've employed people, professionals and staff alike, who — simply by virtue of working for me — have been made subject to the same bright-line, absolute standards that I'm subject to. Very, very rarely, someone in my employment has breached that trust — and my reaction has been ruthless and thorough and instantaneous. Yes, there have been a few times when I've enjoyed firing someone, and have gone out of my way to make sure that anyone who cared to make future inquiries about hiring that person would find out exactly why they were fired.

McCain's background as a military officer ought to have acquainted him with high ethical standards and the need for their consistent and vigorous enforcement. He almost flunked out of the Naval Academy at the end of every year he spent there, based on conduct demerits, but he never once had an Honor Code violation.

Senator, this was an Honor Code violation by someone on your staff. And you just blew it off. There was no shame in losing the election. But there is definitely shame in this.

Posted by Beldar at 12:33 PM in 2008 Election, Mainstream Media, McCain, Palin, Politics (2008) | Permalink

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Comments

(1) Stripes made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 2:01:43 PM | Permalink

Amen, only problem is that McCain doesn't read blogs so will never see this and his advisers won't show it to him.

(2) Carol Herman made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 2:17:38 PM | Permalink

The aged and enfeebled McCain probably needs more medicine. As to the advice? Hardly likely, after that atrocious campaign, that he's gonna "come clean" any time soon, to let you know who, among his staff, are sticking knives into Palin's reputation.

Remember this. The TICKET LOST! McCain and Palin when down with the ship, together.

While if you want anyone to say nice things about Sarah, I think you'd have to go to Cindy McCain. Who not only took to Palin, but to her family. Especially the kids. Cindy probably has a heart of gold.

Again, I think it bears repeating: McCain is a MANDARIN! He's not qualified! But he got birthed into a family with "connections."

Exactly like Dubya!

As a matter of fact, if you need a "reason" a mandarin would "dismiss" Palin; you'd begin to see "she is nothing more than the hired help."

And, it's Jindal who danced on election night; knowing that by NOT being picked to be McCain's running mate, his credentials stay lustrous.

Oh, yeah. The mandarins will fight for their turf, with other peoples' lives. Always have. Always will.

For Sarah, ahead, though ... In the years ahead. She must DIVORCE herself from McCain! "That mandarin" was her caboose. She got onto national political train tracks ... But it would be very sad, indeed, if she didn't become aware that McCain is practically senile these days.

So, there ya go. You've got a "grandpa" whose brains stopped functioning awhile back. McCain couldn't even hold his own legislative packages in his head; to draw from them, when he needed to explain, beyond this stupid word: Marverick, just exactly what he's been doing all these years, in the senate. The mandarins LOVE the senate. With its entrenched favoars and perks.

Did McCain "respect" Palin? NO! What he saw, after she was picked, was an UP-TICK! The crowds came out. And, across this nation, people PAID MONEY into the GOP coffers.

You'd have to be quite the mandarin NOT to appreciate that!

But, with only so much limelight to go around, McCain thought Palin "stole his."

As to the small minds that joined McCain's staff at the hip, look no further than Dubya's guys! Those people just didn't want to be bounced out of government.

What you're seeing are TURF WARS!

There are worse ones over at the CIA!

And, as a country we are ill-served by these stinking mandarins, anyway.

So, I'll give you MY advice! Sarah, GO WRITE A BOOK! Be funny. Take them all on! And, don't concern yourself with what McCain does, ahead.

My guess? What with Harry Reid striking fears into Joe Lieberman's heart ... Where Lieberman's chairmanship of the Homeland committee is now in doubt. Here's what you can expect. McCain is short of ideas. But comfortable standing next to Joe Lieberman. When GOP voices will get interviewed on legislative matters ... the "counter-points" to Obama's agendas ... Go ahead, and expect these two to get interviewed. It will play just like "canned laughter."

Sarah Palin is out of the loop. McCain won't share space with her, anymore. Instead, I'll bet he stands up with Joe Leiberman. And, you'll be able to call them the BOP-SY TWINS. Toodling down the aisle, looking for "mavericks" ... and making peace with the donks.

When the first Supreme Court vacancy opens up ... don't go to McCain thinking he owes you any favors.

(3) ketchikan made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 3:24:29 PM | Permalink

Beldar, Like you I did extensive research on Palin and like you I found her to be exceptional. What is obvious is the Republicans have let others define her in a negative light. Some blame goes to McCain for not getting to the "infuential" such as those in print (Brooks, Will, Nonnan) and others when it first became obvious they didn't know her.

Even Palin admirers let her down. When they wrote and spoke publicly they never went into DETAIL about her duties, her accomplishments, etc.

In a recent article about Michael Crichton's passing the article mentioned the negative reaction he received after his book "State of Fear" was published. "In a 2004 interview with The Associated Press, Crichton came with a tape recorder, text books and a pile of graphs and charts as he defended "State of Fear" and his take on global warning."

Beldar, this is what we have to do; provide the evidence over and over and over. Send articles, papers, videos to everyone possible. Every time there is an unfounded negative get the truth out. It is obvious that just sending to the press is not going to cut it. Getting info to the faithful, the movers and shakers, etc. is more important. It's that "word of mouth" just like in advertising that is so powerful.

Thanks for your great work.

(4) Boyd made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 3:29:19 PM | Permalink

First off, Carol, it appears you've run off the tracks here. Your accusations are over the top and you can't substantiate your attacks.

Now with that out of the way, I also noticed that James seemed to fall into the "inexperienced" trench very quickly after Governor Palin was announced as Senator McCain's VP pick. I tried calling him on it a few times, in a firm but respectful way, but I got the feeling that his mind was made up, and anything that fed into his belief that the Governor was truth, and anything that argued against his position just didn't exist.

I'm no expert on mental health, though, so I'll leave that issue alone.

I think it's important to find out who these anonymous scum are, but I seriously doubt Senator McCain will have a role in unmasking them. In fact, I think they will only be revealed by Carl Cameron or anyone else they've employed in their whispering campaign. I'm sure that, over time, and well within the next Presidential campaign cycle, Carl et al can ensure that their identities are known with out coming right out and identifying them.

But they are scum, and should be drummed out of any respectable organization.

(5) Carol Herman made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 5:55:56 PM | Permalink

Oh, yes, I can, Boyd! When McCain showed up for his "I'm wearing a bracelet" debate; otherwise not so memorable ... what struck me was that he didn't seem as if he had a track record! He certainly wasn't discussing the economy.

And, I asked myself: What is it that senators do?

Did you know that senators are responsible for legislation? And, this means, basically, spending taxpayer money. Putting flourishes on "programs."

And, there ya go. In all the years McCain was actually in the senate, he couldn't call upon one program! Like Dubya, he suffered from obvious lock jaw.

Most Americans got so confused with his behaviors prior to this first debate. He drops everything. He goes to Bush's meeting. And, then after 40 minutes of STAYING SILENT, he ups and leaves the room.

Don't know about you, but I was waiting for a reasonable explanation. Not one Obama provided, when he said "McCain can't juggle two things at once." But no explanations ever came from Mr. McCain.

Just one of the emptiest campaigns in republican history. True, unlike Bob Dole, he didn't fall into the mosh pit.

But I don't think McCain owns a firm grip on reality, anymore. He's old. And, he came across as old. And, one of the best reasons given for voting for Obama, came from people who actualy voted for him. They said Obama's youth was a major consideration.

I've seen old people age. Not all of them "shrink in their mental capacities."

I read somewhere that Michael Lewis (who wrote a book about the 1988 campaign), said "he fell in love with McCain, and became a republican."

What happened to "that" McCain? I read, somewhere, that all McCain did was bamboozle Michael Lewis.

When puzzle pieces don't fit together, I do what most people do who are trying to put puzzles together, I put the piece aside.

I did not abhor McCain's selection. Why not? I thought Michael Lewis is a grand authority. So, it was very perplexing to watch McCain fumble, time and again, as he went out of his way to insult Obama. But not once actually offered up any plans of his own.

And, like I said, McCain's life as a senator should have contained lots of times he was exposed to "plans." Goes together with being a senator.

Senators. Lawyers. Turns out not too many of them can handle juries.

As to Sarah Palin, I give her lots of credit for being able to take care of herself! And, to also be aware she got KNOWN. Where, today, if she writes a book. Or goes on TV to hold her own show, where she can be like OPRAH, Palin is not short of future opportunities!

She was interviewed post this election. And, she said "she's got tough skin." So? You think Ronald Reagan went through this world without ever being attacked? Excuse me. No sale.

And, if you keep this up ... where I'm here just as one member of the jury ... you're gonna turn me off. And, your side loses. When will you lose? When you reach the point and you tell the judge "my side rests."

Then? Well, we go and vote.

And, you just got clobbered.

There's some very terrible negative vibes. You really don't need Bob Dole's. Did you just see his wife booted out of the senate? You know who did that to Elizabeth?

Check with the voters. Write your pieces addressing them. When you're all suited up as a lawyer, you are paid to address what you see as the issues ... to put your client in the best light.

When you're knocked out of a match?

What you have left, now, is one woman who stood head and shoulders above McCain. Yet, you have to give him credit. It was HIS shortcomings that picked her. And, then it remains his shortcomings to see that when she's attacked, all he's capable of doing is to "stare at his bracelet."

Mr. mum.

But I've gambled that McCain won't remain mum, ahead. I've said I think he will join Joe Lieberman at various microphones. Will both of them take pot shots at Obama? Ya know what? I think not.

Fool me once, and you've fooled me.

But ya can't fool me twice.

While I think Sarah Palin, any time she wants her voice heard, can become as popular, ahead, as Oprah. Now, you're telling me the petty crap flying around now sticks to her?

Get sensible. Palin has a sense of humor!

Not sure if "teflon" works as well in a woman's wardrobe; but why not?

(6) Richard Sharpe made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 6:06:11 PM | Permalink

It seems to me that the problem is that DC insiders and king makers do not like outsiders, and especially one like Palin who has a track record of dealing with cosy little political arrangements.

So, they have to use any means possible to control and destroy her.

(7) CBDenver made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 6:56:35 PM | Permalink

I agree that Palin needs to write a book or spend a lot of time giving real interviews where she has a chance to actually tell people what she really believes. So much of what I have heard about her "alleged" beliefs are based on nothing but fantasy rather than fact. I hope that slowly but surely over the next few years the Governor is able to take back her image and show people the reality of who she really is and what she really believes and leave all the bulls*it lies and innuendos in the dust where they belong.

(8) PC14 made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 7:33:02 PM | Permalink

I was talking to a lefty friend and he threw out the "she doesn't read newspapers or magazines" meme. I asked him if he really thought a Governor didn't have a staff who clipped articles on topics of interest to her. He admitted maybe she did in fact read papers and mags. Imagine that.

(9) Mark made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 8:48:10 PM | Permalink

I had an Obama supporter coworker repeat the smears that Palin said Iraq was God's plan and that she fired her brother-in-law. I corrected her but it's pathetic that intelligent people still hold such incorrect information as true. What would they think if we didn't correct people who say Obama is a Muslim? Sad all around.

I hope McCain mans up on this.

(10) mariner made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 9:19:30 PM | Permalink

I'm glad to see you're not letting this go. What has been/is being done to Sarah Palin is outrageous.

I hope she does write a book.

(11) Carol Herman made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 9:28:16 PM | Permalink

Maybe, it's time to point out that "pundits," in general, painted Ronald Reagan as an idiot!

Guess what?

TEFLON !

The Bushes never had an ounce of teflon! All they've got is their mandarin status. And, if you look at McCain, you'll see this showing up AGAIN. McCain was bred in a family that saw themselves as "America's Entitled Aristocrats." Kay-Sarah-Sarah!

Ronald Reagan understood that negative publicity is somethig always thrown at GOP members. Probably always thrown in politics.

Today, many Americans know that Ronald Reagan was no idiot! Nor was he really lazy! So much for the meme's.

For Sarah Palin it's GOOD NEWS that she's still generating headlines.

If you looked closely at the mud slingers, though, you'd see a whole lot of staff people whose phones aren't ringing off the hook, anymore. You'll see what gossip's all about. Jealousy.

And, it gets read as JEALOUSY! For Palin, it's money in the bank. Or, it can be.

There's something else you should notice ... Sarah Palin appealed to a lot of people. Sure. Not all of them smart. But she didn't come across as stupid to them, either.

And, just to go back to the best example; it was never true that Reagan was an idiot! To the contrary. He WROTE ABOUT his political philosophy.

And, then,(and, I can remember this as if it was yesterday). Back in 1980. He was asked "why was he pandering to the right wing nutters?" And, he responded, HE didn't shift his position! Instead, conservatives came on board his train.

Good to remember whose in charge of the journey. When you're out there now hoping to find a REAL PERSON to be your conductor.

As to the mandarins, while they know how to "preserve their turf," the likelihood that they're gonna run in presidencial races, any time soon, might as well be junked.

Start with this. Obama's in his 40's.

Palin's young. Jindal's young. And, today's youth have no respect for any of the old timers.

You want Sarah Palin to get good press? All she has to do is SHOW UP!

And, if she's a smart cookie, she'll play to the "middle." She's charismatic enough to carry the center.

And, when she's getting knocked? She has to be like Cassius Clay. Fast on her feet. Dancing like a butterly. Swinging right into those glass jaws of mandarins and "socialists" alike.

Obama, by the way, is no socialist. Prepare for this. The country's moved on. And, you want to build an argument that attracts voters. Or you don't deserve to be up on the political stage. (Sure. Sit in the audience. Bring one of those cushions that give off sounds. Just in case you're worried no one will notice your sitting there. At least your not in church. In politics, you can make noise.)

(12) Highlander made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 10:24:05 PM | Permalink

I think Palin's candidacy has really exposed a long hidden prejudice against the middle-class by the so-called elites in media and government - regardless of party affiliation. It's really that simple. Palin is a rarity, not so much because she is genuinely of the middle-class - but because she has in no way had her middle-classness tempered by an eastern, ivy-league education or Washington beltway associations. Ironically, that accounts as much for her appeal as it does the disdain some hold for her. Her plain, straight-forward way of speaking, her rural upbringing, and her history of getting things done are both endearing to her supporters and frightening to her detractors. She has come far and fast with none of the advantages that elitists have always considered requirements for high office. Her success is a threat to all those who's chosen career path has included the aforementioned marks of the governing class. They are afraid she will show the country that those so-called requirements mean nothing and that it may lead to a usurpation of their traditional leadership role. That is why she must be destroyed. It's about power, influence and their place in society for these people.

(13) Patty009 made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 10:40:37 PM | Permalink

Alaskans just voted in a senator who was convicted of offences which should outrage any voter. What makes you think Alaskan's are reliable in their comments about Palin?

(14) Bob Roof made the following comment | Nov 8, 2008 11:11:56 PM | Permalink

I couldn't agree more, with your entire position on this deliberate and damaging campaign to smear Governor Palin by so-called Republicans. I'm outraged that McCain has refused to publicly call out those from his failed campaign to stop immediately. I have written to his Senate account in a similar vein. I can only conclude what many have said before, John McCain has no loyalty to the Republican Party and has no interest in it beyond what we could do to advance his career.

The Northeast Corridor has many so-called Republicans who judge people mostly by the schools they attended... they have caused much pain to those of us in fly-over America who deliver electorial votes... contrary to the likes of Will, Krathhammer, Noonan, Frum and others. A pox on your houses.

(15) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 1:04:49 AM | Permalink

The idea that someone who has accomplished as much as Sarah Palin should be depicted as a ditz makes these criticisms stand out as ludicrous. Her critics generally fail to realize how difficult it is to accomplish *anything* significant working with a bureaucracy, whether governmental, institutional or business. Is there another governor in office who has made so many major policy advances?

Carl Cameron has diminished himself and lost my respect in his eagerness to break a big story without checking the facts or offering attribution.

I believe it early to start blaming McCain. Let's see how he finally reacts before we condemn him. I can't help but be suspicious of Romney, however, since he chose to do a lot of backbiting during the primary. Sad that a man of such accomplishments and demeanor should have so little self esteem as to stoop to what were ultimately weak attacks.

A final comment: I realize that Carol Herman needs to vent, but does she need to do it at such length? I often read several paragraphs before I realize it's her and skip to the next post.

(16) willem made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 2:04:23 AM | Permalink

Read your Alinsky, people. It's been determined that Palin's credibility must be destroyed by all means available and destroyed in lockstep.

She scared the orthodoxy. Actually, I think she somewhat terrified them. They want her destroyed. More so, they want our spirits broken.

Otherwise, we'll all be saying "President Palin" in January 2013.

McCain needs to man up and do the right thing right now.

(17) Rich Zee made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 4:25:29 AM | Permalink

Why would one have to spend hours investigating the bogus claims made by Palin. The "Bridge to Nowhere" in particular. Palin tried to have it both ways. She was placed on the ticket only because of being female. Her buzz words were sexist "soccer mom lipstick remark" PTA mom and spending over a hundred thousand dollars being dolled up. (Apply those to a male?) She attacked the press for botching seemingly harmless
questions. But one important point, she was thrust upon the position totallly unprepared and it was a tactical error by the McCain campaign that cost the election, not her personally.
Her crediblily is strong among the conservative base but that strength is a liabilty in the national arean. Appealling to any fringe group is easy. It is clear that the conservative base that love is blind. But it is a moot point because the country is mostly moderate in ideology. (Republican and Democrats) She wasn't a viable candidate now or will not be in the next election for the reasons stated above.

(18) Carol Herman made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 11:57:17 AM | Permalink

So sad to see the conservatives still stuck on the same theme.

All McCain did for you folks is absolutely DRAIN enthusiasm out of politics, for the GOP.

Where does that leave the GOP?

If you could see ahead, you'd see the field is open for younger people, more in tune with average voters.

As to McCain, it's interesting how he campaigned; without a clue to economic legislation, that should have been his strong suit, for instance. And, yes, McCain's contempt for Obama.

So, in a world of hurt, you'd have to look to see McCain being challanged by attitudes that shut off so many voters; before you even begin to tackle why it makes no sense, now, to make any big issue at all over McCain. He just hides there, free from showing you what actually went out during his campaign.

For instance, why did he jump out of his seat at the White House. The president was presiding. How many presidents expect invited guests to get up and leave. Thereby throwing a "bail out" meeting into disarray?

Go ahead. Notice it. Mandarins never say they're sorry! So Dubya won't. And, neither will McCain.

Does Sarah Palin have to move away from McCain's making her his veep pick? Yes. I think so.

You know, as badly as Barry Goldwater lost back in 1964; he left behind an uninjured Reagan. And, Reagan's political career, back in 1964, had hardly begun. Here? Palin is already a popular governor of a state. Reagan didn't get elected governor of California until 1966.

The other thing you'd learn, if you were open to history's lessons, is how the MANDARINS stood in Reagan's way! And, how the elder Bush, "thinking 1980 was his turn" ... tried to boss Reagan around. Couldn't. Didn't.

The only reason the elder Bush was picked as veep, back in 1980, was to appease the MANDARINS. This was also true for Eisenhower. Which is how Nixon came on the scene. Maybe, you don't read about it much; but Eisenhower hated Nixon. And, kept him at arm's length for eight years!

Still, Nixon found a way to win by getting the MANDARINS to cooperate with him. But he picked Spiro Agnew as his veep's choice. More to make it look UNPLEASANT for him to be taken out of office. (Usually, that means feet first. Usually, that means by a bullet. But the press worked hard; against the UNPOPULAR Nixon, to get him to resign.) Facts are facts.

Picking veeps seems to be a chance to pick the joker out of the deck. That's why Biden was selected. And, Hillary was not! (Now, Hillary faced the knife from Ted Kennedy. Who wouldn't separate out his "health" committee ... so she could run a sub-committee on health care reform.) Why was this done? Well, it's gonna be a feather in Obama's hat, instead. And, Ted Kennedy said the FULL COMMITTEE will hold hearinhgs; no need for "subs."

Ya know, Palin has real choices! She's a very popular governor of Alaska, in her first term. And, who knows? Ted Stevens just took his final run. (I think the Appeals process tosses out his conviction. Because of judicial error. Easy to call. But not all that usual. Unless you've got a big name tag attached to the case. As this one has. Coupled to prosecutorial misconduct.)

Of course, here, I think I'm talking to lawyers. So, where Stevens sits, in a couple of years, will have a lot to do with "case-law" reviewed by those "funny" Appeals circuits. Where, right now, there are democrats vying to fill the next vacancy up at the Supreme's bench. You don't expect good law? I expect to see judges taking their jobs seriously enough here, not to black ball Ted Stevens, AFTER he won his election! Believe it or not, there's gonna be "repairs made" ... where the Supreme-O's "over-stepped." And, now have responsibility for 2000's outcome.

McCain, winning, would not have made you happy!

Heck, about ten million more Americans figured that out on election day, than you ever see gathered, here.

But the law is your bread and butter.

So, it pays to pay attention.

Sarah Palin, if she's not the star of a national TV program (in the dying days of TV); will probably go on from governor, to the senate. That's the stage! Even while Obama is on it in the White House.

I hope Sarah Palin is not wasting her time waiting for the Pope to bless her; or for McCain to speak.

As to McCain's reasoning for the blow he gave his campaign? That wild jumping to DC? Have you figured this one out, yet?

Believe it or not, the jerk thought the bail out was a wonderful idea! He wanted a piece of the action.

Say no more.

(19) stan made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 1:01:40 PM | Permalink

Beldar,

You need to charge Carol for the bandwith she uses. If only she would make as much use of her brain.

I've been appalled by many so-called "conservatives" and republicans since they trashed the president over Miers. Our side hasn't had a good day since. Amazing -- destroy your president's effectiveness and then complain that he can't deliver for you any more.

I'm sick of conservatives who spend all their time tearing down conservatives (I'm looking at you Frum, Noonan, Brooks, et al). How long has it been since they did anything positive for the movement?

(20) Carol Herman made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 2:28:25 PM | Permalink

Didn't know there were rules like having to ask for a pass to go to the bathroom. You're all supposed to be adults. No need to "measure" bandwith, if I can't get my point across, no matter how I try!

HOWEVER, PALIN HITS "BINGO." She took care of business. And, you'll find the video link up at Drudge.

Nothing like FACE TIME with the media, where face time WORKS.

By the way, Stan. You could learn a thing or two by looking at the overall picture of this election. The spread between Obama's voters, and McCain's rounds out at about 8,000,000 people.

How big is your "base?"

No, you can't count MANDARINS.

And, spitting contests hardly work at all.

By the way, McCain practiced the "art of negatives." Look how far it got him.

As to not reading people you don't like? Go ahead. But you could see a world beyond your point of view, where you think you can push social conservative values down people's throats. Because we just had an election that did NOT pass on abortion restrictions in the 3 states that ran with this choice. Why was the money spent? In anticipation of a big republican victory.

Meanwhile, Obama is gonna strike down a lot of Bush's executive orders. When? Well, you have January 20th. Followed by Martin Luther King Day. Give or take 24 hours, you're gonna see Dubya's "orders" flying out the window.

That's okay. When Dubya came in he trashed what he found. Including the budget surplus.

Oh, and the big differences between the two MANDARINS; Dubya and McCain? The press is running to Alaska to hear Palin. They ain't running to Arizona. Not that a lot of you would ever notice.

There is no 'perfect' when searching for candidates to represent ya. But if you've only learned a very little bit, you should be able to absorb this one: STAY AWAY FROM THE MANDARINS. And, sure. The battlefield losses are real. Expect all sorts of sh*t ta fly.

(21) Bill Brandt made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 3:51:40 PM | Permalink

I remember when Reagan's detractors kept dismissing him as a "dunce" - a "Has-been Grade B actor", an "ignoramus" - and yet he still was able to talk through them and get to the people.

I agree with Beldar that McCain needs to show some, ugh, Cohones and denounce those who are trying to besmirch her.

That being said, I think she did rather poorly in the Katie Couric interview - too much handling?

And shame on Cameron for spreading this crap - makes him no better than the National Enquirer for spreading innuendo from "unnamed sources".

I think tomorrow Greta will have a HUGE audience - and after hearing that Greta said that "Palin's political views aren't necessarily my views", my respect for her (Greta) went up substantially for separating her own political beliefs from her reporting.

Maybe she is one of the last 10 journalists in the MSM. And I love it that Palin turned down Oprah, ABC, et al for exclusive interviews and gave Fox News the Go.

Certainly they were the most fair (Cameron notwithstanding), and it was a polite way of giving the others the finger.

Maybe this is like 1976 and Reagan. Many of us on the conservative side were heartbroken when Reagan barely failed to unseat Ford in the 1976 primary, but it was a harbinger of things to come in the next 4 years.

We don't even know what Sarah wants but if she does seek national office she should just stay in AK and continue being a good Gov but keep her name out there - in a book or newspaper columns or radio addresses - sound vaguely familiar?

(22) Dai Alanye made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 5:45:11 PM | Permalink

With McCain it was , "Maverick, maverick, maverick." On this blog it's someone with Mandarin, mandarin, mandarin." Buy a bag of oranges, willya?

#21 "And I love it that Palin turned down Oprah, ABC, et al for exclusive interviews and gave Fox News the Go." This shows that Sarah has more good sense--whether reasoned or instinctive--that her handlers during the campaign. Why reward your enemies by giving them ratings coups? Dance with the ones that brought you.

McC himself should have made far more use of Fox than he did, and far more use of talk radio and the internet. It's sad to have to say it, but John deserved to lose. He lost "honorably" and is therefore satisfied. The nation did not, however, deserve to be left with this blank slate whose salient defining characteristic is hubris. I eagerly and apprehensively wait to see how the Obama phenomenon plays out.

(23) Milhouse made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 5:51:13 PM | Permalink

#15, it takes you several paragraphs? Don't worry, with time you'll pick up her style, and it won't take more than half a paragraph before you page down to the bottom to see who the poster is. And once your hunch is confirmed, there's no need to page back.

Beldar, is it possible to put the attribution at the top of comments instead of the bottom? This would help not just with commenters whose work one may have no interest in reading, but also with others. I often find that knowing who wrote something helps me understand what they've written, because I can put it in the context of what I know of their other work.

Also, I think it would be useful if you could shorten "Comment No. 99 posted by xxxx" to "99. xxxx"

(24) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 8:04:50 PM | Permalink

Milhouse, I've taken your suggestion and put the comment attributions at the top of each, with a darker and bolder line divider between each, and I've otherwise futzed some with the wording and order. I hope this is an improvement.

Various folks: Carol Herman is a long-time reader and frequent commenter who abides by the rules, and she's welcome here, even though I sometimes vigorously disagree with her (and vice versa). You may certainly choose to skip her comments, as you may indeed choose to skip mine.

(25) Xrlq made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 9:07:12 PM | Permalink

Trackbacks no worky? I pought (irregular past tense of "ping") your trackback link the other day but it's not showing up here.

(26) David Blue made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 9:32:26 PM | Permalink

The film clip shows what needs to happen, but John McCain has waited too long. If he moves now he will till have been so tardy and cold in coming to the support of his running mate that the proper effect, which is to deter all other campaign staff weasels from back-stabbing Republican candidates, will not be attained.

Because of this failure, all Republican candidates will be more exposed to treacherous attacks by their staff.

In this as in many other respects, John McCain has been a poor party man.

I think the back-stabbers will lose though. For the time being, the only court of public opinion that counts is conservatives. If Sarah Palin holds them, she can ride out the ship-storm.

Sarah Palin has put on a bravura display for Republicans of not only grace under pressure but energy and focus, cheerfully doing her duty every day as a candidate no matter how bad the situation was, and helping her fellow Republicans to keep their chins up and moving like they had a purpose. Because of that, she has the approval of nine out of ten Republicans and the strong approval of two out of three of them, and that's probably a settled opinion now. She is not just a pretty face with a great biography, she has been tested and found to be someone conservatives can rally around with the confidence that she will lead them and never quit.

Against this, the back-stabbers have - what? Conservatives' confidence that anonymous sources quoted by the mainstream media would never lie?

Put these two weights on a pair of scales, and which side of the scales will go down with a *clunk!* ?

(27) David Blue made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 9:40:38 PM | Permalink

For some as yet unnamed members of John McCain's oh-so-loyal campaign staff: (link).

(28) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 10:28:18 PM | Permalink

Xrlq, it was caught in TypePad's spam filter, for reasons I know not. Feel free to email me if one doesn't appear within a few hours at most after you ping me, because I too infrequently remember to check for trackbacks that are hung up in that filter.

(29) Gregory Koster made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 11:06:27 PM | Permalink

Dear Ms. Herman: The notion that McC is a political mandarin is preposterous. The only mandarin status he could claim is naval. Note too, that unlike his ancestors, he did not make admiral. The POW years detoured his career path, but his own antics derailed it. No, he wrecked the McC family naval dynasty. McC's political career is mostly self created.

That said, your notion of being uneasy around mandarins is sound. You need only look at the colossal treacheries of James A. Baker III to see that mandarinates don't need to be born in the East; a trip through the corrupt educational establishments (Princeton in Baker's case) will do. Such suspicion can be carried too far however. The Bumpkin, arriving in Washington in 1977, disdained the mandarinates, a disdain that was quickly reciprocated. When the Bumpkin blew himself up, there was no one around to pick up his pieces, and he went to well deserved ignominy, which he has fought by living for a long time, snouting for Saudi money, and ineptly striving to do good works, while conning the dolts in the press that he is successful.

For all of you who bellow for Sarah Palin to write a book, I ask, Why? The only possible reason is to make enough money so she can be more or less independent. The notion that a book will reset her image is preposterous. Books do not have that scale of influence. They can merely provide a platform for the media interviews that can reset an image---for a media cycle. Bah. Palin's image problems are trivial right now What is wrong with the book writing idea is that it assumes the next Presidential election will be in March 2009. No; it will be in November 2012. What should Palin do? Go back to Alaska and be the best governor she can. She is far from fully seasoned, gubernatorially. I think that the collapse of oil prices is going to squeeze Alaska fiercely. Mr. Dyer has argued that Alaska can manage if oil is at $60 a barrel, but there would be trouble if it went to $30. Light sweet crude closed at $65 a barrel on Friday. There's not much maneuvering room left. Too, Alaska has been notoriously dependent on federal money. That's going to dry up. Stevens is through (incidentally, Patty009, I think he was reelected by Alaskans for tactical reasons, viz a) reelect Ted even though b) his conviction will stand and c) Danny Inouye or no Danny Inouye, the Senate will boot Stevens out, into the federal country club where he will presumably kick the bucket before finishing his sentence, thereby finally getting the warmer climate he so richly deserves then d) Palin gets to choose the successor, and one more GOP seat stays GOP---temporarily. Such crafty tactical maneuvering may get individual seats, but it's too clever by half to win mandates.) Given the sizable Dem majority in Congress, look for Alaska to go on starvation federal rations.

This is a danger for Palin. It is also an opportunity. If she can swing the axe successfully, and bring Alaska through the storm, her credentials will be burnished. Competence bred by experience will get you a lot farther in 2012 than it did this time. I think this will be so, because The One is likely to be as successful, domestically, in his term, as the Bumpkin was, for the same reasons. Mr. Dyer has assented to the consensus that The One is smart, but the only evidence he can show is the mandarinate Harvard Law Degree. I am less and less impressed by such gimcrackery. Certainly The One has no published writings that demonstate high intelligence. His two books are merely machines to extract dough from suckers, paper equivalents of his favorite sport: kissing a mirror. A better example would be his assertion, in the face of much evidence, that the tax on capital gains must be raised. It'll cut total revenues, but that's no matter: FAIRNESS dictates this. This isn't intelligence. At best is is LSD for his moronic base. At worst, The One is swallowing it himself. The budget figures will soon educate him, but at a high price to the nation.

Despite this, the nation will survive for all the panicked bawling by right imbeciles that The One will gimmick the system so the GOP will be out of power forever and ever, world without end amen. Well, domestically, matters are not so bad. Foreign affairs are another matter. The situation between Iran and Israel is extremely dangerous, particularly with the caretaker government in place in Israel until the February elections. Should Israel attack Iran in a preemptive strike against its nuclear capability while Geo W. is there to hold the fort? That question may not be voiced in American public mandarin circles, but it is being hotly discussed in Israeli political circles. This is only one facet of foreign affairs that needs attention. It's long been plain that foreign affairs bore The One---a sign of witlessness, not high intelligence. He will learn, just as Kennedy did, as all Presidents do, that foreign affairs are where a President has the freest hand, and potentially the greatest impact. But The One's native laziness and shiftlessness has always kept him from getting the knowledge he needs.

I will end this Hermanesque length post by saying that Palin should stick to being Governor. Let domestic politics play itself out. In 2010 she is up for reelection, and can try the daring tack of sponsoring a candidate to bump off the odious Don Young, Alaska's as-yet-unindicted federal representative. The rogues on the right who bash her as part of the Andrew Sullivan Let's-Suck-Up-To-The-One franchise will be looking ridiculous as The One lurches from one disaster to another, his base howling all the while that their gas bills and mortgages aren't getting paid. Having bashed in Young's teeth, and sending him packing to join Frank Murkowski, Palin's reformer credentials will be bright. Bright enough to try in 2012? Could be. Way too early to tell. Remember, FDR's political guru, Louis McHenry Howe, shrieked that FDR should not run for New York Governor in 1928, as it was going to be a GOP year. Howe was a sharp fellow, and his advice was off by a mere six tenths of one percent. But that was enough to get FDR on the road to the White House.

Sincerely yours,
Gregory Koster

(30) Beldar made the following comment | Nov 9, 2008 11:15:57 PM | Permalink

My blogospheric friend Xrlq takes me to task (links and emphasis his):

James Joyner drinks the anti-Palin Kool-Aid and eagerly accepts as fact the most outlandish claims of certain former McCain campaign operatives. Beldar goes to the opposite extreme of bashing not only the operatives themselves, for spewing that crap, or even Joyner, for believing it, but Carl Cameron of FoxNews for even reporting on it (Newsbusters does the same). That last bit is going a bit too far. Yes, liberals think FoxNews is a media arm of the Republican Party, for whom “fair and balanced” is just another political slogan on the level of “hope and change.” No, liberals aren’t right about that. The network truly is fair and balanced, and their job is to report the news, not to report all the news that helps one side of the political spectrum at the expense of the other....

My intent was, and remains, to blame Cameron and Fox News for reporting this based solely on anonymous sourcing, which I am convinced was a clear violation of journalistic ethics in this case. And my sentence in the original post which read "Shame on you for reporting this garbage at all" must, I think, be fairly read as having been qualified by my earlier statements that "there is no basis in journalistic ethics" for Cameron and Fox to have "grant[ed] these people anonymity." To clarify, however: If the campaign aides had been willing to go on the record with their names — which, after all, is the "default value" for responsible American journalism, rather than relying on confidential and unnamed sources (who therefore cannot be effectively rebutted by those whom they accuse) — I would not have any objection to Fox News or anyone else publishing these charges.

But of course, these cowards would have refused to make their catty remarks and tell their outright lies but for the guarantee that they could slink away without consequence, to go work for some other GOP campaign in the future. Indeed, it's altogether likely that the same aides who are privately spreading this crap "off the record" are publicly proclaiming that they have nothing but respect for Gov. Palin. Cameron and Fox News are facilitating this hypocrisy. And whether Gov. Palin does or doesn't know that Africa is a continent or did or didn't appear in a bathrobe ain't exactly "The Pentagon Papers," which is supposed to be the guidepost for when it's okay to rely on confidential sourcing.

(31) Xrlq made the following comment | Nov 10, 2008 5:55:11 AM | Permalink

Fair enough, however I still disagree that there is anything wrong with the news media reporting based on anonymous sources. Cameron can be rightly faulted for reporting the news in a manner that made it sound as though he was personally endorsing the allegations rather than just passing along the fact that some campaign staffers were making them. He can even be rightly faulted for NOT making a bigger issue of the fact that the only individuals telling him this stuff are chickensh*ts who won't allow themselves to be named. That's part of the story, too, and perhaps a part Cameron didn't highlight enough. But I thoroughly reject the notion that it would have been a reason not to report the story at all. Their stated slogan is that they report, and we decide. Good on them for living up to it.

(32) Aubrey made the following comment | Nov 10, 2008 11:15:43 AM | Permalink

I agree that Joyner badly damaged OTB's credibility with his acceptance of dubious information about Palin. He lost a regular reader the day I decided he was no longer trustworthy.

(33) Rhodium Heart made the following comment | Nov 10, 2008 12:57:10 PM | Permalink

Thank you thank you thank you for keeping this fight going.

Sarah Palin is a direct threat to so many whose ideas have been proven wrong. She is a threat to the cozy "bipartisan" world of the Ivy League elites who think that intelligence can only be discerned if it is certified by an elite Northeastern (preferably New England) college. She is a threat to left-wing feminists, as she is able to combine power with pure sex appeal in a way that no American woman has thus far. She is a threat to those anonymous McCain staffers who want to advance their careers without the burden of needing to show accomplishments or results. She is a threat to anyone who fears the electoral appeal of a rebirth and reanimination of the Reagan coalition of small government libertarian conservatives, religious conservatives, and blue collar workers.

No wonder there such an intensity in the desire to destroy her. It is disappointing that some of the animus comes from folks we once considered allies -- personally I'm most saddened by the loss of Peggy Noonan to the elitist side -- but it is not surprising.

The good news is I don't think she's going away. She's got a date with destiny. 2008 was not when her destiny was to have been fulfilled. The voters first need to be reminded of why Jimmy Carter and Great Society liberalism each failed so miserably and so completely. All those problems were so long ago that a majority of the voters do not even remember stag-flation, the fall of Saigon, or the Iranian hostage crisis. The lesson may take two years, or four years, or eight years, but the lesson will be learned. And there are only two Republicans on the horizon right now who would be able to put together the coalition to win back a governing majority for true, competent, small government conservatism.

And Sarah's tougher than Bobby Jindal. No knock on the Lousiana governor.

(34) stan made the following comment | Nov 11, 2008 9:51:56 AM | Permalink

Looks like someone from the WSJ opinion staff reads Beldar (or great minds work alike). http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122637257625116453.html

(35) Alan made the following comment | Nov 11, 2008 4:33:01 PM | Permalink

In every campaign, her opponent attacked her as inexperienced. None of them argued, however, that she was stupid. The closest any opponent ever came to that was one of her two opponents in the 2006 gubernatorial race, Andrew Halcro, who claimed that she didn't immerse herself in the minutia of policy detail in which he himself reveled. Halcro is a wonk, and an annoying, patronizing twerp, and a sore loser, and the people of Alaska recognized that by leaving him an embarrassing distant third in that race, with less than 10% of their votes. But even Halcro didn't claim that Sarah Palin was stupid.

Nor did anyone else of consequence make that claim during Gov. Palin's first year-and-a-half as governor. She was criticized for having "sharp elbows," for holding political grudges, and for disfavoring those who'd crossed her — complaints leveled by losers left behind in the wake of every successful politician, because that's the loser-side view of being held accountable for ones actions and positions. But dim? Provincial? Uneducated? Nobody in Alaska had ever seriously charged Sarah Palin with being an airhead — not even the political enemies she'd left bleeding in the dust.

But.... now we know she is stupid, and that she is an airhead. Just because no one ever said it before (as far as you can find in the limited information available to you), doesn't mean (obviously) that it isn't true. It is true, and clearly so. If you weren't so heavily invested at such a deep emotional level to her candidacy, perhaps because you feel as though you "discovered" her, you could see this. Being a rightwing ideologue also helps, I would guess, blind you to her towering inadequacies. In any event, it's all moot now; no matter how hard the far-right tries to jam her through, she'll be president.

(36) Mark made the following comment | Nov 11, 2008 11:36:25 PM | Permalink

McCain wasn't impressive on Leno tonight. :/

(37) David Blue made the following comment | Nov 12, 2008 12:23:01 AM | Permalink

John McCain has left his running mate out to dry. Nothing he has said so far about the backstabbing is adequate, or close to adequate.

And time is up. Things went far enough that there should have been consequences, and there were none. If at some later time he gets prodded into making a more adequate statement than he has made, that still doesn't count as loyalty or leadership.

(Looking around for a silver lining to this election result and its aftermath...) At least we will never hear the words "President John McCain". That's good, because John McCain could not have made a good President of the United States of America.

(38) David Blue made the following comment | Nov 13, 2008 8:44:51 AM | Permalink

From the Washington Post: (link)

Cameron, her Fox colleague, says he stands by what sources told him on condition that he not report it until after the election. "This was a circular firing squad, and they let me watch," he says. "To the degree people thought I was enjoying my reporting -- some thought I looked overenthusiastic -- I may have blown the execution."

Politico's Allen says of the whack-job quote: "I found it illuminating because it came from an extremely senior McCain person, clearly reflecting the views of others in the inner circle. I would not have used it from the peanut gallery, internal or external."

So everyone was sitting around together, enjoying the reactions of the reporters who were going to use this slime, and an extremely senior McCain person came up with the "whack-job" quote, and the reporter knew that was the consensus because everyone was nodding and smiling and going Oh yeah, J**n, that's a good one! Hmm? Might that be about right? I think it might be.

And even if that isn't right, but those staffers all know John McCain's honor and leadership qualities - or lack of them - well enough to know they were safe to do this, is that better? Is someone who counts for no more than a paperweight with his staff, the kind of man who can be counted on never to call backstabbers on their outrageous behavior (as long as they're taking shots at a Republican of course) a better candidate for President? I doubt it.

An Instapundit reader, Edward Tabakin, has a theory on why John McCain is letting Sarah Palin twist slowly in the breeze while anonymous staffers take shots at her (link).

I have a simpler explanation for why McCain isn't defending Palin against the smears. He hates her. She drew bigger crowds, more enthusiastic crowds, more loving crowds that he could ever get. Remember, the initial plan was to send her out to small towns and rural America, to rally the bitter clingers of Bibles and guns to McCain's side. But there came a moment -- maybe in the Friday rally where he announced her as his pick, maybe during the convention -- where both McCain and Palin realized that she could go to Klamath Falls National Forest and draw a bigger crowd than he could in Red State, Texas, and that forced McCain to do joint rallies with Palin. She could whip the crowds up for him, get a big, big roar, bigger than he could get on his own. The problem was, for her, the cheers were from the heart; for him, from a sense of duty. It's the political version of the eternal triangle.

My feeling is that anyone caught in that situation might have that sort of reaction. That it's happening to Senator McCain makes it all the sweeter.

Glen Reynolds thinks there's something to that. So do I.

For the sake of the great republic as well as its own fortunes, the Republican Party needs to think about making sure that it doesn't offer the public more presidential candidates like this.

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