Tensions between the McCain and Palin camps broke out over the weekend in angry sniping, as the Alaska governor tried to fend off the attacks she anticipated from her erstwhile admirers. After her advisers complained to reporters that the campaign had mishandled her ever since the Republican convention, the McCain advisers struck back in harsh personal terms.
Nameless McCain sources complained to Politico.com and CNN that she is selfishly "playing for her own future" as a party leader and potential presidential candidate.
Depicting her as the Eve Harrington of the G.O.P., the sources said she "does not have relationships of trust with any of us, her family, or anyone else" and "sees herself as the beginning and end of all wisdom." Repeatedly, they berated her as a "diva."
Presumably Gov. Palin is capable of defending herself against these insults, but there is something awfully obnoxious about the way she is being treated by her former patrons -- and their assumption that somehow we will believe it is all her fault.
Very inconveniently for the McCain crew, an extraordinary article appeared in the New York Times magazine on Oct. 26 that explained exactly how the Palin choice came to be made and by whom. It was Schmidt and Davis, in collaboration with speechwriter Mark Salter, who picked her over a host of more qualified candidates, following a superficial investigation of her background, knowledge, official conduct and temperament. The three insiders then presented her to a smitten, impetuous Sen. McCain.
When Gov. Palin's convention debut drew rave reviews and auspicious polls, the McCain advisers naturally took credit. "Game on!" bellowed Schmidt, as the political tide temporarily seemed to turn.
Once a protege of Karl Rove, Schmidt brushed off any questions about Gov. Palin's resume with practiced belligerence. "Her selection came after a six-month-long, rigorous vetting process where her extraordinary credentials and exceptionalism became clear," he fibbed. And as far as he was concerned, every Palin skeptic was simply a sexist pig, "This vetting controversy is a faux media scandal designed to destroy the first female Republican nominee for vice president of the United States who has never been a part of the old boys' network that has come to dominate the news establishment in this country."
Well, what could be more sexist than whispering "diva" to describe her now? It is a synonym for a term that rhymes with witch, as Barbara Bush might put it, and no stereotype is more poisonous to women in politics. Oink, oink.
Setting up the running mate as scapegoat during the final week is bad form as well as bad faith. Every campaign is a test of character -- and win or lose, the handlers of Mr. McCain have failed.
© Creators Syndicate
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