When we last heard from Sarah Palin she was anointing state Treasurer Richard Mourdock over incumbent Senator Dick Lugar in Indiana’s GOP Senate primary that is being held today. In March Lugar had a comfortable lead. When Sarah gave Mourdock her blessing via Facebook two weeks ago it was a close race. More recent polls show Mourdock is now 10 points ahead.
Whether you like her or despise her you have to admit she makes an impact. But to hear some people tell it she’s the worst thing since New Coke:
Winston Churchill said “history is written by the victors.” But too often in politics, where professional tacticians want to preserve their permanent paychecks by deflecting their mistakes onto everyone but themselves, losers often desperately attempt to re-write history.
And that is exactly what GOP establishment operatives, aided and abetted by members of the mainstream media who want to preserve access to them, are now doing to the history of the 2008 presidential campaign, as they attempt to blame Palin–and, by association, non-establishment grassroots conservatives–for their own professional malpractice during that campaign.
The implication is that McCain lost the 2008 election because of Palin–that Palin was not qualified to be president and had no record of accomplishments. That narrative might help the résumés of the McCain handlers who mismanaged her, most notably Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace. However, it ignores certain key facts, such as how Palin enabled McCain to temporarily take the lead in the 2008 campaign, Palin’s record of reform as Alaska’s governor, and Steve Schmidt’s mismanagement of the McCain campaign — especially his failure and/or refusal to fully vet candidate Obama.
So how did this impression turn into its current establishment consensus?
POLITICO reported on a memo, “Shield Steve Schmidt From McCain Blame,” put together in the waning days of the 2008 presidential campaign by associates of Schmidt to absolve him of campaign mismanagement. The memo lays out a strategy to shape conventional wisdom by targeting mainstream journalists and Republican talking heads and to blitz the media landscape with friendly talking points that would make it seem like even Ronald Reagan could not have won in 2008.
The obvious purpose was to absolve the professional operatives of all blame, allowing them to get hired again and sell their “snake oil” magic to the next politician. The quid pro quo was simple: we give you exclusive “gossip” and minutiae and you get exclusive reporting and access.
It’s a longish article and fairly detailed. I’m not going to republish it here but it lays out a persuasive case against Steve Schmidt and his cronies. I recommend you read it. It does kind of skip over the role of Karl Rove and the GOP Establishment. They hate Sarah Palin almost as much as the Obots do and for good reason – she is a threat to them and their schemes.
I always get a kick out of the meme that Sarah Palin cost John McCain the election. If it were true it would mean that but for his decision to pick her as his VP nominee, McCain would have won. That idea is absurd.
It was pretty clear at least as far back as November 2006 that the Democrats were going to retake the White House in 2008. John McCain has never been popular with the GOP Establishment. He was allowed to win the nomination only because someone had to “take one for the team.”
Do you think that Wall Street would have spent millions in 2007 to jump-start Barack Obama’s campaign if it looked like the GOP had a chance to win? The decided that if a Democrat was going to win, they would pick the Democrat. That investment paid off very well for them.
In the six months leading up to the election, John McCain led in the polling for only two weeks. Those two weeks were the ones immediately following the GOP convention where Sarah Palin was the star. During the general campaign Sarah drew bigger, more energized crowds than McCain could muster. One of the reasons that Mitt Romney would never pick her as his running mate is that she would upstage him no matter what she did. She’s the “it” girl.
I do have to object to one thing in the article. It is ironic that an essay intended to set the record straight makes such a glaring factual error:
On June 3, 2008, when the general election campaign essentially began, then-Senator Obama would speak in Minnesota while McCain would speak in Louisiana. On that day, Obama won enough delegates to officially become the Democratic nominee, after a long slog of a primary against Hillary Clinton, and he could finally pivot toward the general election.
On June 3, 2008 neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama had won enough delegates to become the presumptive nominee. Hillary had more votes, but thanks to the Rules and Bylaws Committee decision on May 31st Obama had a slight lead in pledged delegates. It was the super delegates that chose Obama as the nominee. Let me repeat that:
IT WAS THE SUPER DELEGATES THAT CHOSE OBAMA AS THE NOMINEE!
(Never forget, never forgive.)
Speaking of Hillary:
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Monday she has no desire to make another run for the White House but hopes to see an American woman president in her lifetime.