Lots of folks have written thousands of words about why John McCain didn’t win the election last October. To be sure, McCain ran an abysmal campaign. It had no compelling message, his debate performances were lackluster at best, and he refused to attack Barack Obama where he was the weakest. One of the few things he did right was to name Sarah Palin as his running mate. Regardless of what you think about Palin, she was the only thing that ever gave his campaign even a hint of excitement. Indeed, the only time he ever pulled ahead of Obama in the polls was shortly after she joined the campaign.
Unfortunately, one of McCain’s biggest problems was that he populated his campaign with poisonous vermin who set Palin up for failure. You may remember how Palin was pilloried by the left for her “palling around with terrorists” line. That attack was given real force by a couple cowardly Quislings inside the McCain campaign who accused Palin of “going rogue”. We later learned that the chief slimebuckets were Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt, and that what they were peddling to an eager press was industrial-grade bullflop, but the damage had long been done. The “Palin as uncontrollable diva” meme was fixed and John McCain’s campaign had lost the only hope it had ever had of beating Barack Obama.
The only person defending Palin from inside the McCain campaign was Randy Scheunemann, who was also the only staffer involved in the fighting over Palin who didn’t hide behind a veil of anonymity. Scheunemann was fired for defending Palin publicly but, as it turns out, he was exactly right. Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt really were sabotaging Palin. Worse, they were the ones responsible for the “palling around” attack.
Whose idea was it for Gov. Sarah Palin to attack Barack Obama as a guy who “pals around with terrorists?” Palin’s camp has always insisted that the McCain high command endorsed the stratagem, while folks close to McCain have accused Palin of going “rogue” and pointed to the “pals around” attack as an example of how Palin simply could not be controlled. The idea that Palin was hard to manage as a candidate and ignored the advice and wishes of McCain’s senior advisers is explicated in some detail by Todd Purdum.
But on the subject of linking Obama to ex-Weatherman Bill Ayers, it turns out that Palin hadn’t gone rogue. Balz and Johnson answer this question pretty definitively. They’ve obtained an e-mail from campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace sent to Palin on the morning of October 4rd, with an attached New York Times article about Obama’s relationship with Ayers.
McCain HQ had suggested the following line: “This is not a man who sees American as you and I do — as the greatest force for good in the world. This is someone who sees America as imperfect enough to pal around with terrorists who targeted their own country.”
This was Palin’s now-infamous (but entirely true) statement [Emphasis Mine].
There is a lot of interest, I guess, in what I read and what I’ve read lately. Well, I was reading my copy of today’s New York Times and I was interested to read about Barack’s friends from Chicago.
“This is not a man who sees America as you see it and how I see America. We see America as the greatest force for good in this world. If we can be that beacon of light and hope for others who seek freedom and democracy and can live in a country that would allow intolerance in the equal rights that again our military men and women fight for and die for for all of us. Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
The e-mail Balz and Johnson received told Palin specifically to “deliver the attack as written” and not to make changes because “precision” was vital. She did exactly as she was told then, when the heat came from the Obama campaign and their campaigners in the MSM, Wallace and Schmidt flipped sides and joined the Democrats in the attack.
I’d say that John McCain owes Sarah Palin a very large apology for the actions of his senior staff and for staying silent as the attacks continued after the election. He touts himself as a man of honor. Well, honor demands that he stand up for her now, even if it costs him a few brownie points with his bestest buddies in the media and the GOP.
Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt ought to be personas non grata in the Republican party from now on. I, for one, will oppose any candidate who hires them and I recommend you all do the same. There is no place in our government for people who hire such craven weasels.
Jake Tapper owes Palin a little ink, too. He accused her of trying to throw Wallace under the bus. Well, now we know that her doing so was entirely justified and that, if anything, she showed an incredible amount of honor and team-spirit in not leaking the e-mail which would have proven them to be liars but which would have also damaged John McCain. He’s not the only reporter who owes her a new story, but since he’s the one who, thus far, has shown that he’s not entirely a member of Team Obama, he’s the one most likely to do the right thing.