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. Continue reading

The Death of a Red State

A close race in one Republican stronghold suggests that the politics of bigotry may finally be over


Posted Oct 30, 2008 1:00 PM

Driving down a rainy Colorado highway in October, I can see the misty white outline of the Rockies out one window and the arid brown flatlands of the Great Plains out the other. Overlaying it all is the faint but unmistakable stench of cattle.

I follow the smell.

I have come to the 4th Congressional District in Colorado — a massive territory encompassing virtually all of the state north and east of Denver — to cover the re-election campaign of Rep. Marilyn Musgrave. Musgrave was Sarah Palin before Sarah Palin, a turbocharged born-again supermom who went into politics because she couldn’t stand all the naughtiness. Her first political gig was on the school board in Fort Morgan, where she devoted her energies to blacking out — literally blacking out — passages in sex-education textbooks. Later, as a state legislator, she pushed a concealed-weapon law that would have allowed guns on school grounds. She was a preposterous caricature of an evangelical politician, an Anita Bryant with a beer gut, but like Palin she was already on her way to a Major Elected Office by the time anyone thought to stop laughing. Her first act upon making it to Congress in 2003 was to introduce an amendment to ban gay marriage. She declared unequivocally — after 9/11 and the launching of two wars — that the union of same-sex couples is “the most important issue we face today.” Continue reading

The Palin Problem

Yes, she won the debate by not imploding. But governing requires knowledge, and mindless populism is just that—mindless.
Jon Meacham
From the magazine issue dated Oct 13, 2008

The question, the McCain campaign later acknowledged, was a fair one. In one of her sit-downs with Katie Couric of CBS News, Sarah Palin was asked to discuss a Supreme Court decision with which she disagreed. “Well, let’s see,” Palin replied, pausing. “There’s, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but …” Couric followed up: “Can you think of any?” Palin, still pondering, said: “Well, I could think of … any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But, you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a vice president, if I’m so privileged to serve, wouldn’t be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.” Asked about the exchange afterward, a McCain adviser who didn’t want to be named talking about a sensitive matter said the question was fair, but added: “I wonder how many Americans would be able to name decisions they disagree with. The court is very important, but Palin is on the ticket because she connects with everyday Americans.”

Palin is on the ticket because she connects with everyday Americans. It is not shocking to learn that politics played a big role in the making of a presidential team (ticket-balancing to attract different constituencies has been with us at least since Andrew Jackson ran with John C. Calhoun, a man he later said he would like to kill). But that honest explanation of the rationale for her candidacy—not her preparedness for office, but her personality and nascent maverickism in Alaska—raises an important question, not only about this election but about democratic leadership. Do we want leaders who are everyday folks, or do we want leaders who understand everyday folks? Therein lies an enormous difference, one that could decide the presidential election and, if McCain and Palin were to win, shape the governance of the nation. Continue reading

Terrorizing the American Politic

Monday October 6, 2008

There have been many low points in this protracted and seemingly never-ending Presidential season. Race and gender wedge-games dominated much of the primary scene, with socioeconomic class being an equally uncomfortable and all-too-often silent factor. Religion too has been present, when it should not have been, like the false rumor that Obama is secretly a Muslim, a myth still believed by some 13% of the voting public.

It has been a nasty campaign, already. Many of us have already run out of righteous indignation, but what we have seen these last few days might be lowest point, and a portent of things to come.  Continue reading

Palin Problem: She’s out of her league, says Conservative Commentator

By Kathleen Parker

If at one time women were considered heretical for swimming upstream against feminist orthodoxy, they now face condemnation for swimming downstream — away from Sarah Palin.

To express reservations about her qualifications to be vice president — and possibly president — is to risk being labeled anti-woman.

Or, as I am guilty of charging her early critics, supporting only a certain kind of woman.

Some of the passionately feminist critics of Palin who attacked her personally deserved some of the backlash they received. But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick — what a difference a financial crisis makes — and a more complicated picture has emerged.

As we’ve seen and heard more from John McCain’s running mate, it is increasingly clear that Palin is a problem. Quick study or not, she doesn’t know enough about economics and foreign policy to make Americans comfortable with a President Palin should conditions warrant her promotion. Continue reading