The latest example of the fracture within the McCain /Palin campaign came this morning when an unnamed McCain advisor called Palin, “a whack job.” This comes after another member of the McCain campaign labeled her a diva who is only looking out for herself. It seems as if Sarah is no longer McCain’s favorite gimmick.
As was reported a couple of days ago, Palin has gone completely off message, and is now doing her own thing. This led a McCain advisor to say, “She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”
Mike Allen of Politico reported the whack job comment in his column this morning, and it seems that this is the latest attempt to throw Palin under the bus, and blame her for what looks like it will be a loss to Barack Obama next week. The truth is that the economy and George W. Bush have hurt McCain more than Palin. A bigger problem for McCain is that his campaign has no message, except Barack Obama is bad. Palin is the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the McCain campaign. She is style over substance, and narrative over issues.
Palin’s future in Republican politics is bright, but her future in national politics is likely non-existent. Being able to rally the neo-con and social conservative base of the GOP is one thing, but she has already demonstrated no appeal to the Independents and conservative Democrats that the Republicans need to sway in order to win elections. The Republican base is radical and shrinking, and the only thing certain about Sarah Palin is that she drives people away from her party.
Is Sarah Palin a whack job? Maybe, but it was the McCain campaign who chose to add her to the ticket. They brought all of this on themselves. These advisors chose a running mate without vetting her. They didn’t sit down and talk to her to see what she knew, or if she could handle the spotlight. All they knew was that Palin fit their narrative, which was good enough for them.
History tells us that it is tough for sitting vice presidents, much less the running mate on the losing ticket to ascend to the White House. Usually, the running mate on the losing ticket is hurt politically by their national defeat. Even vice presidents have trouble being elected president. The only sitting vice president to win an election for the presidency in recent history was George H.W. Bush in 1988. The number two slot is not a great place to launch a national political career. I think Palin will be back, but she has already been defined and labeled.
I suspect that Palin will fight for control of the social conservative and neo-con wings of the party, but it seems that the battle between the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives over the future direction of the GOP has already begun. I think Palin will probably be fighting it out with Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney for control of the party, but nationally she has been turned into a joke, and this is something that most politicians never recover from.