The Collective
Saturday, October 25, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

I noted (but did not blog) a few stories over the last week or so about whether Palin was going off message or not (I recall, for example, a few stories about Palin publicly questioning the McCain campaign’s decision to pull out of Michigan).1

Now we have the following:

Both stories feature a number of anonymous sources from within the McCain campaign detailing tensions with Governor Palin and others in the McCain campaign.

Many will, no doubt, criticize the stories either as nothing more than the liberal, pro-Obama MSM attacking McCain-Palin and/or worthless because they are based on unnamed sources.

However, the basic storyline strikes me as plausible.

First and foremost, the McCain folks know that they are losing. As such, numerous self-interested actors are positioning themselves for 2024. Different advisers and strategists are worried about how the blame will shake out, and therefore how their resumes will be perceived. Further, losing leads to frustration, and frustrated people frequently like to share their frustrations with other, especially if they can do so anonymously. Certainly Palin is looking to 2024, even as McCain knows that this is it for him.

Second, Governor Palin and her allies within the campaign have cause to be frustrated by the way her roll-out was handled. While I think it likely would have been a disaster in any event, as she clearly was not ready for prime time. However, were I Palin, I would be unhappy with the whole process, from the early “she’s not ready yet” signal from the McCain camp to the limited numbers of opportunities to prove herself. Again, I don’t think that that result would have been much different, but had I been the person being “handled” and things didn’t turn out, I would look back and think that had I been in charge, things would’ve been different.

Third, it seems to me that something like this was predictable, as McCain and his advisers gambled on Palin. They didn’t fully vet her. Indeed, Mccain barely knew her. Introducing an unknown quantity into the campaign was risky move, and if the tensions noted in the above-linked articles are real, they will bubble out over the next week, and that will just make McCain’s swan song all the more discordant.

Fourth, and finally, it is hardly news that the McCain campaign hasn’t been run very well. That some members of that campaign are willing to blow off steam to the press is not a shocker.

Sphere: Related Content

  1. For example, via the NYT’s The Caucus: Palin Says She Is Disappointed by Campaign’s Michigan Decision []
Filed under: 2008 Campaign, US Politics | |
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  • el
  • pt
    1. I’ll refrain from going after the sources, since you’ve already covered that part; CNN and the Politico are not exactly first-tier sources of information.

      In hindsight I’m willing to concede that Palin didn’t work out for McCain over the long haul of the campaign. But I still think that if it weren’t for Palin, the campaign would never have limped ahead in the polls at all; Pawlenty, Romney, any of the other guys who seem to have been on the short list, none of those guys would have generated any interest in either the short term or the long term.

      I still think that Palin is not going to fade into obscurity. Odds are good that she’ll be back in some incarnation at some point in the future; whether that be as a presidential candidate herself or some other office of national politics, I can’t say. But I doubt that she will stay in Alaska for her entire political career.

      I would argue that the campaign had the most life when it was centered on Sarah Palin; and I think if she had the benefit of all the preparation that the other candidates had, she probably would have done far better at interviews; a well-prepared Palin, I think, who could have gone to any arena and held her ground would have been a devastating weapon. I don’t think McCain messed up so much by choosing her as he did not doing so much earlier in the campaign.

      Because of those things - I think it is highly probable that we’ll see Sarah Palin again, and she’ll not be so easily duped in round 2. She has enormous appeal to the Republican base and I think her appeal to a broader spectrum than just the base could easily be expounded upon; and I think most of us can agree that she is extremely charismatic.

      She probably is frustrated at not being let off the leash; a pit bull just doesn’t intimidate when it’s all tied up and can’t go anywhere.

      That’s assuming our political process survives that long. I’m not taking bets one way or the other.

      Reply to Captain D

      Comment by Captain D — Saturday, October 25, 2024 @ 9:41 pm

    2. And yeah, in hindsight - I’m willing to concede that I was *probably* wrong about the vetting process of Palin; I would argue that at the time we had the conversation last, we could really only speculate. It has taken the clarity of hindsight to really make it clear that she didn’t have the coaching that McCain and Biden and Obama have had, and certainly lacked the interviewing experience of all three.

      I’m sticking to my guns, however, in that I don’t think skill at an interview equates to skill as a leader. Some very charismatic leaders who interviewed very well turned out to be lousy leaders, and vice versa. The fact that all those thousands of reporters and lawyers who pored over Palin’s history couldn’t find any skeletons in the closet (beyond the so-called troopergate, which really is looking like a whole lot of nothing), and her record in her state - all that bodes well for her political future.

      She just needs to find her political legs the way sailors need to find their sea legs, and she’ll have a great future.

      Reply to Captain D

      Comment by Captain D — Saturday, October 25, 2024 @ 9:47 pm

    3. This man cant even keep his own campaign together and we are to trust him with this country?

      Reply to Lee T

      Comment by Lee T — Saturday, October 25, 2024 @ 11:03 pm

    4. Well, he did say he wanted another “maverick.”

      In all honestly, I don’t think that with the way this campaign has been run there could have been any pick for McCain’s VP who would have beaten Obama. I still say that Joe Lieberman or Lindsay Graham would have been great compliments to McCain as they are all good friends and know each others moves. They’ve worked together many times. They’re all seasoned vets. Lieberman is Jewish AND a Democrat. That probably wouldn’t have excited the base very much, but the base isn’t exactly what wins elections for you. Either of them would have been better choices. Can you IMAGINE if he’d tapped Colin Powell in those early days?! And if he really wanted a female running mate, I think that he had more than a few better choices.

      At the same time, I haven’t been impressed with Joe Biden. I’d have much rather seen Obama run alongside Jim Webb or (as if it was possible) Ron Paul. Hillary Clinton would have been nice, but it just wasn’t going to happen with all the animosity there. An Obama-Webb ticket would have just been TOO dynamite!

      Reply to ALmod

      Comment by ALmod — Saturday, October 25, 2024 @ 11:04 pm

    5. Sarah Palin? You’ve got to be kidding me. She’s a two-bit ultraconservative. I’m a centrist, and I have no use for Creationist crap and other nonsense of this kind. This is the 21st century, and I believe in the scientific method. I want to move forward with knowledge.

      I’m sorry that McCain did not select a strong, intelligent centrist woman as a running mate. If he had such a candidate, his team could have waged a better campaign against Obama on issues important in these times: the economy, political experience and global security. Now it appears that McCain will lose. The ultraconservative religious base is not enough for him and in fact is a millstone around his neck for people like me. I will not vote for him, though I would have considered voting for him if he chose another woman.

      For such a Christian, she does throw stones, the way she criticizes Obama. Now the stones are coming back at her with her own scandals, which seem to grow by the day.

      Ultraconservatives criticize Obama’s ties to the former reverend, Jeremiah Wright, and the “washed-up terrorist” Bill Ayers, but no one talks about the clergy who are connected to Republicans and who have said things like America deserved September 11 and other disasters because of God’s wrath over tolerance of homosexuality. No one talks about the lack of pursuit of bin Laden. September 11 is a gaping wound in our country, and there has not been a serious attempt at closure with the way bin Laden was disregarded.

      Reply to Psolara

      Comment by Psolara — Saturday, October 25, 2024 @ 11:58 pm

    6. the McCain camp has been sending mixed signals since it’s inception… Sarah Palin can’t even keep up with McCain’s endless wavering between “straight talker” and crooked politician

      Reply to patrick

      Comment by patrick — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 3:34 am

    7. I believe that McCain choose Palin to get female votes, it backfired as I and many others do not see ourselves as Hokey Mamas, or shoot animals, perhaps those females in Alaska identified with her, but I don’t think many in others USA States do.
      I shiver just to think that she could be running our Country if McCain became incapacitated, after 8 years of Bush and her taking the reins, it will be a disaster for all of us.
      And wish McCain henchmen stop sending mail, as even one of our dogs named Blue that went to Doggie Heaven in 1994 gets his mail, but asking since March to them don’t work they still do, so all the republicans mail go directly to the shredder and then to the burning barrel, as we can burn yard debris in our County.
      I will Vote.
      One of many Susan’s in South Carolina. USA.

      Reply to Susan

      Comment by Susan — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 7:51 am

    8. that woman is a nut and must be sent bact to alaska asap! she is an embarrasment to women .

      Reply to ann

      Comment by ann — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 9:25 am

    9. All women who follow Sarah Palin, especially the ones who were Hillary supporters, should all be ashamed of themselves… I cannot believe that they do not realize that John Mccain.. a MAN… is using her and them as tools. Mccain waited for Barack Obama to pick his running mate, and then pulled her out of his bag of tricks without even vetting her, simply to draw the vote from Hillary, because he was relying on the fact that he knows Hillary supporters who were simply voting for her because she was a woman are stupid people. He WANTS stupid people to cast their votes for him!
      This mentality is sexist, and every woman in American should be deeply disturbed that they want to vote for Mccain/Palin, simply because they want to go shoe shopping with her..
      Newsflash: You are not going to be able to go shoe shopping with her… she will get in power, and burn this country.

      Reply to Daniel

      Comment by Daniel — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 9:26 am

    10. The vitriol against Sarah Palin that has been evidenced by those who have posted in this thread is evidence of how powerful she can be. You hate her because she is conservative, a mother, a governor, and successful at all three. That you can be conservative and successful as a woman shakes the tree for you people.

      I think that’s great. We need more people to shake the trees.

      As for “Creationist crap”: a person’s religious affiliation has no bearing on whether or not they should or shouldn’t be our leader, and your obvious hatred and bigotry against those who claim a religious creed is nothing more than that - bigotry. Go slither back under the rock you live beneath; the first ammendment gives us freedom of religion whether you like it or not. Palin has never forced her religious creed on anyone, and wouldn’t do so - the constitution prohibits it.

      If you can’t be respectful of other people’s views - calling them “crap” for example - you can hardly expect anyone to come around to your way of thinking, or expect anyone to even listen to you. Shame on you. This is America, and even if you don’t share someone else’s beliefs, you should respect them.

      You are a disgrace.

      Reply to Captain D

      Comment by Captain D — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 9:28 am

    11. “a person’s religious affiliation has no bearing on whether or not they should or shouldn’t be our leader, and your obvious hatred and bigotry against those who claim a religious creed is nothing more than that - bigotry.”

      Now isn’t that a surprise! Wish more Republicans would think the same way: then the whole hatecampaign on Obama being an ‘Ayrab muslim’ could be put to rest under that same rock. And when that’s done, make sure there’s some room left for the ‘baby-killing, gay-loving, unrepentant-domestic-terrorist-palling, un-American-socialist-elitist etc.’ versions of the same campaign, so for once in our livetimes an election could be decided on (dare I suggest such an outrageous idea?) the real issues….

      Reply to Helanren

      Comment by Helanren — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 11:03 am

    12. You people are ranting about Palin’s wardrobe, while an anti-American Socialist / Marxist racist is about to highjack our government, with the help of voter fraud, and a corrupt biased media. You’d better wake up … or, this country is about to experience an ugly 4 year long nightmare !!!

      Reply to Howard

      Comment by Howard — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 11:15 am

    13. For the last two months, John “Reach Across the Aisle” McCain and Sarah “the Rogue” Palin have been accusing Barack Obama of a variety of unforgivable sins. He’s a socialist. He has terrorist affiliations. His background is suspect, as is his patriotism. He wants to tax and spend the country deeper into debt, and raise a “white flag” in Iraq. This list goes on and on. If McCain and Palin believe even half of the things on their list, how can they possibly give the standard unifying and gracious concession speech on the night of November 4th? How can Palin go from pitbull to poodle in a matter of hours without looking like a complete hypocrite? What can either of these candidates say that won’t come across as grotesquely self-serving. McCain will see it as his swan-song, where his primary objective will be to repair the damage he has done to his own honor and future ability to work in the Senate. Palin will, no doubt, see it as her opportunity to launch her future political aspirations and demonstrate her stunningly ignorant assumption that she is now the brightest star in the Republican Party. I’m sure she’s too self-absorbed and high on herself to realize that the Republican Party is going to ditch her faster than a Jamaican sprinter. John McCain, who has spent the last year telling the country that he has a record of being bi-partisan, is now going to have to work with the Senate Majority Leader and, in some ways, the Speaker of the House, whom he has spent the last two months ridiculing in his campaign. After slinging so much mud in the final weeks of their campaign, McCain and Palin have dug themselves into a deep and slippery hole. Watching them try to climb their way out of it on the night of November 4th is going to be better than an episode of “Survivor”.

      Reply to JohnRJ08

      Comment by JohnRJ08 — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 11:53 am

    14. i agree: the mccain campaign has thus far tried to repeat the bush-camapigns of 2024 (ironically) and 2024, which is based on a cultural approach to american politics, i.e. the notion, that we are basically divided into ‘real’ americans and college hippies, east-coast elites and ‘liberals’ in gerenal.
      this approach, however, doesn’t jibe with mccain’s moderate 2024 campaign, which had a lot more people excited. mccain was right: he isn’t bush; unfortunately he is running bush’s campaign.

      oh, and captain D: most people do not ‘hate’ palin - however, jmudging from her comments on the trail thus far, and the information we got, i have reason to believe, that she is neither able, nor willing to budge from her (let’s face it) narrow, and very right-wing point of view to work with what is likely to be a democratic congress, much less a post-cheney, post-bush world.

      Reply to nevrdull

      Comment by nevrdull — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 2:12 pm

    15. oh, and howard: please take off your tin-foil hat - noone is trying to create the united socialst republic of america, not even ‘the most liberal senator’

      Reply to nevrdull

      Comment by nevrdull — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 2:14 pm

    16. Captain D,

      I understand and share your disgust with the tone and some of the substance of the anti-Palin comments. It is disappointing that the national political discourse once again has fallen to this level particularly given the immediate threats and challenges at our doorstep.

      Most of the nastiness I attribute to the Rove, Carvel, Morris style of negative positioning that has come into vogue. I e-mailed a conservative buddy when Palin was chosen questioning whether her charm could survive her handlers.

      Personally, I cannot vote for McCain. (And I ain’t too crazy about Obama’s populist schitk). That decision was made once I learned that Steve Schmidt and other Karl Rove clones had been given command of the campaign by McCain. The train-wreck after 8 years of Rove-promoted policy decisions has left us in no position to survive 4 more years of Rovian politicization of all aspects of government.

      The choice of Sarah Palin; her feisty pit-bull, milf-maverick-phenom RNC debut; the lock-down on uncontrolled media access; her attack on MSM; her character attacks on Obama; her attacks upon citizens not fitting some insane definition of “real” “patriotic” Americans; and the tension between the tightly controlled, manipulated persona - and the real Sarah Palin — all of this is smeared with the fingerprints of Rove and his disciples .

      And like many of the brilliant Rovian/neo-con fiascoes, the Palin phenomena will likely fall apart due to the realization by the general electorate that they have been sold a ton of sizzle and little steak. Palin’s short coming is not a matter of training or rehearsing. She is “natural” before crowds and camera. Palin’s persona and delivery is charismatic, comfortable and generally appealing (except the divisive pit-bull crap).

      But she has demonstrated that she has never been curious or much concerned regarding an array of major national and international issues and broad policy matters. That’s not something that coaching and rehearsing will change much. Sarah needs to ask the questions and to tease out the parameters of issues in her own mind first. (I’m sure her perspective since being thrown into her current position has been changing. People grow - maybe in time she’ll amaze us with her insight)

      That’s not an indictment of her intelligence, honor, honesty, value-system. Nor is it a question of her ability to govern Alaska and redistribute oil-profit wealth as universal welfare to Alaskan citizens.

      But it is a very legitimate concern to those analyzing the tests, threats and outright crisis we’re facing. This is no time to put people in power who fail to understand and address pressing issues and endlessly fall back upon strategies of opponent smears and catch phrase campaigning. I thought McCain was above that. I thought he recognized the danger in prioritizing carnival side shows over addressing extremely volatile economic and security issues.

      Now, I couldn’t trust him or Palin to separate themselves from the Rovian pack of jackals that succeeded to get them elected. I fear if their scorched earth tactics got McCain elected, he might deem it appropriate to continue employing them for propaganda. Worse, if Palin should have to step into the Presidency, she might lean upon them for policy yielding: more unconstitutional politicization, more division, more massive failures - less security, less freedom; more sizzle - less steak.

      Reply to RandyB

      Comment by RandyB — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 2:22 pm

    17. It isn’t surprising to me that Palin is trying to position herself for her own advantage. She is always bragging about her record. It is always about her. If she is so qualified — she should have enough knowledge to know the names of the newspapers that she reads and she should know that New Hampshire is in the northeastern part of the US.

      She mentioned in her interview with Brian Williams when he asked her if she was a feminist that she wasn’t going to label herself. She doesn’t have a problem labeling herself a “maverick” or negatively labeling other people throughout this hate mongering campaign. I hope that the American people see through Palin’s BS about being “just like them”. She doesn’t have a clue!

      Reply to RBH

      Comment by RBH — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 3:44 pm

    18. To Howard -
      I am a Redneck, white, 33 y/o American who voted for Bush in 2024 from Michigan… and voting for Obama.
      I wouldn’t be so quick to chalk it all up to voter fraud, as you do.
      Besides, Obama is not “hijacking” us… he’s using words, words that reassure us that our future is much better, and has the potential to overcome just about anything regardless of what our skin color is or what our religious affiliations are… why isn’t Mccain doing the same thing?

      Reply to Daniel

      Comment by Daniel — Sunday, October 26, 2024 @ 4:58 pm

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