The New Post-Election Narrative: 'Blame Palin!'
Given our current situation, it's deeply ironic that moderate Republicans spent the last few years completely ignoring conservative concerns and insisting that if only the ignorant right-wingers would listen to them, they'd create a majority that would last for 40 years.
First there was campaign finance reform, followed by the Medicare prescription drug program, No Child Left Behind, the Gang of 14, Harriet Miers, the Dubai port deal, illegal immigration, out-of-control earmarking, deficit spending, the bailout, and probably another half dozen additional disasters that I'm blocking out because they're too painful to think about.
Then, after all of that, these RINOs helped to nominate John McCain, the least conservative GOP nominee since Richard Nixon. Only a few months later, many of those same people turned right around and supported his opponent, the most liberal Democratic nominee in American history.
You know their names: Lincoln Chafee, William Weld, Colin Powell, Christopher Buckley, Wayne Gilchrest, Richard Riordan, Douglas Kmiec, Scott McClellan, Ken Adelman, and Michael Smerconish, among others.
At least one of them should have the common decency to reprise that great line from Animal House,
You can't spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You [screwed] up -- you trusted us! Hey, make the best of it!
But, no -- the very same people who systematically, methodically advocated positions that have destroyed the Republican brand with the American people are once again preparing to deflect the blame if John McCain loses the election.
There are a couple of stories out there that foreshadow the "blame Palin" strategy they're going to use to do it. The first is from the widely quoted CNN story over the weekend regarding Palin's allegedly "roguish" attitude.
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "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."
Here's David Frum spinning the Republican squish narrative with a bit more specificity:
So in August, McCain tried a bold new gambit: He would reach out to independents and women with an exciting and unexpected vice-presidential choice.
That didn't work out so well either. Gov. Sarah Palin connected with neither independents nor women. She did, however, ignite the Republican base, which has come to support her passionately. And so, in this last month, the McCain campaign has Palinized itself to make the most of its last asset. To fire up the Republican base, the McCain team has hit at Barack Obama as an alien, a radical, and a socialist.
Sure enough, the base has responded. After months and months of wan enthusiasm among Republicans, these last weeks have at last energized the core of the party. But there's a downside: The very same campaign strategy that has belatedly mobilized the Republican core has alienated and offended the great national middle, which was the only place where the 2008 election could have been won. ...
The themes and messages that are galvanizing the crowds for Palin are bleeding Sens. John Sununu in New Hampshire, Gordon Smith in Oregon, Norm Coleman in Minnesota, and Susan Collins in Maine. The Palin approach might have been expected to work better in more traditionally conservative states such as Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia, but they have not worked well enough to compensate for the weak Republican economic message at a moment of global financial crisis. Result: the certain loss of John Warner's Senate seat in Virginia, the probable loss of Elizabeth Dole's in North Carolina, an unexpectedly tough fight for Saxby Chambliss's in Georgia -- and an apparent GOP surrender in Colorado, where it looks as if the National Republican Senatorial Committee has already pulled its ads from the air.
The problem with this is that practically every word of it is designed to be deceptive, including the ofs and thes.