There are some losers in the former McCain campaign who are seeking, by sniping through a willing media at Sarah Palin, to spin the 2008 McCain loss as due to her presence on the ticket.
If the goal of the McCain campaign was to win independent voters, then the selection of Sarah Palin ran counter to that. Talking to independent voters, it's clear that for most of them it wasn't Sarah Palin herself that turned them off to her. She is an attractive politician with a compelling story. It was cynicism over the choice of her by McCain, the identity politics of it all. They thought she was picked off the vine before ripe to have some nice fruit on the table, when the guests were hungry for real food.
I disagree with that view of Palin. I thought she was ready to be Vice President. In fact, I would rather have had her on the top of the ticket, and judging from the crowds at her events, there was a lot of enthusiasm for her among the Republican base. In August, the McCain campaign was struggling. Her selection caused intense interest in the Republican convention, and her performance there gave McCain a huge post-convention bump. She continued to draw huge crowds all during September and October. Far from being a "drag on the ticket", she is the reason there was even a contest.
But now the McCain staffers are leaking complaints about her wardrobe, need for coaching, and other similar issues that reveal their own lack of professional prudence and ethics. Every politician needs dressing up, and there are too many details for anyone in a national campaign not to have people turning research into talking points and turning talking points into polished answers. Like hiding the inner workings of a restaurant from the happy customers, these are matters that a professional political hack knows to keep private.
Being part of a high-profile losing campaign can be a bit of a career road bump. Them high road provides an easy detour around that bump this year, and that is to say to future employers that you were a loyal Party man or woman, and the campaign was simply beaten by the Obama phenomenon. There is no shame in that.
But by sniping from the gutter, the McCain staffers have turned a smudge into a blight, a warning bell into a blaring klaxon signaling the presence of toxic waste. It would not be so bad if it only affected the snivelers, but until all the petty little weasels are uncovered and made into infamous roadkill, anyone on the former McCain campaign will have to explain themselves -- and voice support for Sarah Palin.
I support Sarah Palin, and look forward to seeing her on the national stage for years to come.
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