Thursday, November 06, 2008

Knives come out for Palin

By non sequitur

Okay, so I just stole the title of this article. Apparently McCain's aides are wasting no time not only blaming Palin for the loss but visiting as much public humiliation upon her as they possibly can. The article has some juicy details--the aides claim, for instance, that Palin spent far more on clothes than the infamous $150,000, and that she even had campaign staffers buy her things using their private credit cards (something the campaign chieftains discovered only this week when the staffers asked for reimbursement). And, of course, there's plenty of information that is now comic but would have been terrifying had McCain won: apparently Palin insisted that South Africa was a region of the larger country of Africa. Yes, country. And it seems the Republican Party is sending a lawyer to Alaska to catalogue and reclaim all of Palin's clothing purchases.

In other words, things have gotten very nasty very quickly. Why? Some possible explanations I can think of:

1) Pure, genuine anger. The McCain advisors really believe Palin lost them the election, and/or that she was a horrendous pain in the ass to have to deal with (apparently she refused tutoring before her disasterous interviews with Katie Couric, then "threw angry temper tantrums over their mishandling of her when the Couric interviews went badly"). The campaign managers held their tongues as best they could while the election was still going on (which really wasn't very well), and now are letting it all spill out.

2) Self-preservation. However execrable you think Palin is (and believe me, I'd rather find myself saying "President Tom Cruise" than "President Sarah Palin"), she can't be blamed for the choice to put her on the ticket. Nor, I would think, was it her decision to spend so much of the final weeks of the campaign in Pennsylvania rather than Ohio or Florida, long after all the public polls had it safely in Obama's column. Palin the ditzy hillbilly makes a good scapegoat.

3) Concern for the future of the GOP. For the sake of the party's future, these advisors may want to torpedo Palin's national political career as best they can now (by the way, was I the only one amused when McCain made a point of mentioning that Palin would be returning to Alaska?). They agree with those who are saying this election marks the end of the southern strategy and social wedge issues as effective national political tools (I talked about this a little here). I would love to see a Palin-Huckabee ticket in 2012, but thinking Republicans have every reason to try to stop such a thing from happening. So it's interesting to wonder if this is some kind of long-range political calculation.

In the end, I doubt it. I suspect the dirt-dishing and name calling--Palin and her family behaved like a band of "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast"--is largely just frustration and an attempt to pin all the blame on a politician who is considered equal parts laughable, contemptible and frightening by everyone but the ignorant and irrational base of the Republican Party. Whatever the motivation, it is entertaining.

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  • Scanning the News channels this morning, it seems like the apologists for Palin haven't wasted any time generating a smokescreen of fake outrage.

    I'm actually far more amazed that the woman who is arguably the worst candidate for the office in modern times inspired so many people than I am that Obama broke the "race barrier."

    Maybe the reason you can't fix stupid is that hardly anybody can recognize it.

    By Blogger Capt. Fogg, at 8:59 AM  

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