Maverick DIVA Goes Rogue! Palin vs McCain UPDATED
by January 20, Sat Oct 25, 2008 at 07:59:28 AM EDT
drip, drip, drip...
It seems the "Team of Mavericks" is having more than a little trouble back in the stables. As reported by Ben Smith, with lots of juicy not-for-attribution quotes in today's Politico, mini-maverick Sarah Palin has "lost confidence in most of the people in the plane and has begin to go rogue" This, it appears, is what you get when you do not vet.
Full text at http://www.politico.com/news/stories/100 8/14929.html Here are a few lowlights:
Four Republicans close to Palin said she will disregard the advice of the former Bush aides who handle her
Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign's already-tense internal dynamics.
Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image -- even as others in McCain's camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain's decline."She's lost confidence in most of the people on the plane," said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to "go rogue" in some of her public pronouncements and decisions."I think she'd like to go more rogue,"he said.
- snip -
"These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves," a McCain insider said, referring to McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin's campaign. Palin's partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin's avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News' Katie Couric, whose sometimes painful content the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.
More agony after the bump.
Wallace declined to engage publicly in the finger-pointing that has consumed the campaign in the final weeks.
"I am in awe of [Palin's] strength under constant fire by the media," she said in an e-mail. "If someone wants to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most graceful thing to do is to lie there."
But other McCain aides, defending Wallace, dismissed the notion that Palin was mishandled. The Alaska governor was, they argue, simply unready -- "green," sloppy and incomprehensibly willing to criticize McCain for, for instance, not attacking Sen. Barack Obama for his relationship with his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
"Her strategy was to be trustworthy and a team player during the convention and thereafter, but she felt completely mismanaged and mishandled and ill advised," the person said. "Recently, she's gone from relying on McCain advisers who were assigned to her to relying on her own instincts."
Palin's loyalists say she's grown particularly disenchanted with the veterans of the Bush reelection campaign, including Schmidt and Wallace, and that despite her anti-intellectual rhetoric, her closest ally among her new traveling aides is a policy adviser, former National Security Council official Steve Biegun. She's also said to be close with McCain's chief foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann, who prepared her for the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate.
Yes, well this last bit does make sense as one of Palin's great qualities was her foreign policy expertise. (/snark)
She's also begun to make her own ad hoc calls about the campaign's direction and the ticket's policy. McCain, for instance, has remained silent on Democrats' calls for a stimulus package of new spending, a move many conservatives oppose but that could be broadly popular. But in an interview with the conservative radio host Glenn Beck earlier this week, Palin went "off the reservation" to make the campaign policy, one aide said.
- snip -
"It's completely out-of-control operatives," said the close ally outside the campaign. "She has no responsibility for that. It's incredibly frustrating for us and for her."
Between Palin's internal detractors and her allies, there's a middle ground: Some aides say that she's a flawed candidate whose handling exaggerated her weak spots.
"She was completely mishandled in the beginning. No one took the time to look at what her personal strengths and weaknesses are and developed a plan that made sense based on who she is as a candidate," the aide said. "Any concerns she or those close to her have about that are totally valid."
But the aide said that Palin's inexperience led her to her own mistakes:
"How she was handled allowed her weaknesses to hang out in full display."
I can hardly wait to read The Corner to learn how this plays in their alternative reality.
With 10 days to go until election day, long brewing tension between Sarah Palin and key aides to John McCain has become so intense, it is spilling out into the public. Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin going rogue recently, while a Palin associate says she is simply trying to bust free of what she believes was a mishandled roll-out that damaged her. -snip - A second McCain source tells CNN she appears to now be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.Update [2008-10-25 14:52:44 by January 20]:On the drama-free flipside, Barack launches a new two-minute ad, "Defining Moment" This sets a strong agenda for the final stretch of his campaign.
"At this defining moment in our history, the question is not, 'are you better off than you were four years ago?' We all know the answer to that. The real question is will our country be better off four years from now?"