John McCain’s Campaign Staffers Unload on Sarah Palin


“Diva”, “whack job”, a one-woman “Little Shop of Horrors” — those are just a few of the choice descriptions that some of John McCain’s former campaign staffers have used to describe Sarah Palin, McCain’s ex-running mate. Vanity Fair’s Todd S. Purdum spoke with several of the disgruntled McCain people (all of whom requested anonymity), and lays out a compelling chronology for the acrimony:

As Palin piled misstep on top of misstep, the senior members of McCain’s campaign team have undergone a painful odyssey of their own. In recent rounds of long conversations, most made it clear that they suffer a kind of survivor’s guilt: they can’t quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be.

Though McCain himself has had mostly nice things to say about Palin since the election, many of the people who worked to help elect him aren’t feeling so beholden to maintaining the image of a match made in heaven. In fact, the portrait that emerges from Purdum’s piece is that Palin’s selection was a woefully rushed hail Mary. Palin was not prepared for the national stage, and according to Purdum’s sources, she remains that way to this day:

In the aftermath of the November election, the conventional wisdom among Palin’s supporters in the Republican establishment was that she should go home, keep her head down, show that she could govern effectively, and quietly educate herself about foreign and domestic policy with the help of a cadre of experienced advisers. She has done none of this.

Palin has yet to announce whether she intends to run for re-election in Alaska, or whether to attempt another go at higher office. To hear many McCain insiders tell it, they’re seriously hoping for the former.

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