Long before John McCain delivered his concession speech, which reminded even the liberal left of his dignity and courage, his staffers had plunged into their next task. It is, sadly, one they had begun two weeks prior to the election, a time when their candidate most needed them.
But rather than shoring up McCain’s weakly explained policies on the failing economy — the most important issue to voters – his staffers were already scrambling to lay blame for their faltering campaign on McCain’s running mate, Sarah Palin. It was a move that some saw coming long before it happened, as unnamed staffers complained to the press that Palin had “gone rogue” and was already positioning her own political future.
It is reflective, too, of the continued inability of McCain’s staff to recognize that Sarah Palin could — indeed, should — have been the GOP’s Obama. Her folksy, “hockey Mom” persona was the perfect foil to Obama’s claim that he was a relative Washington outsider, just as her from-the-hip speaking style was the mirror image of Obama’s soaring, lofty rhetoric. Where Obama sought to break the racial barrier as a harbinger of change and reform, Palin as the vice president would have broken the gender barrier, accomplishing the same goal.
Yet despite the huge surge in the GOP’s favor after naming Palin to the ticket, the McCain campaign squandered away her appeal. Some wonder now, in hindsight, whether this waste was intentional.
Given the “full-scale kneecapping of Sarah Palin” that McCain’s staff has undertaken since the election, it certainly appears they have a grudge to bear against her. Unnamed McCain aides have told reporters that Palin allegedly did not know Africa was a continent, not a country, and could not identify the members of NAFTA. Such claims are bogus, according to McCain’s top foreign policy adviser, Randy Scheunemann.