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The Latest From Inside The Late Not-Great McCain Campaign

Rich Lowry has been talking to Rick Davis:

The split over Palin, of course, poisoned everything at the end. One of the dividing lines was between her communications team and the policy advisers. The communications team seemed to consider her a dolt, while the policy people--like Steve Biegun and Randy Scheunemann--were impressed with her and her potential. As one McCain aide told me, "It's the difference between considering her someone who lacks knowledge and someone who is incompetent, and they [the communications aides] treated her as the latter."

By many accounts, the relationship between Palin and the staff assigned by the campaign to travel with her on her plane was dysfunctional and even hostile from the beginning. "She would have been better served if she had asked a couple of people to be removed from her traveling staff," says one McCain aide.

Some McCain loyalists think the Bushies assigned to Palin let her down and then turned on her. This is a representative quote from someone from McCain world holding that view: "Look, she wasn't ready for this, obviously. Their job was to make her ready for this and they failed. So they unloaded on her. If they had an iota of loyalty to John McCain, they wouldn't have done it."

It was a mistake to bring "Bushies" into the campaign, given the competence level of "Bushies" as a general rule (unfortunately, the president seemed to value loyalty over competence, though there were notable exceptions). Yes, they won a couple previous campaigns, but only barely. Of course, there was something dysfunctional about a McCain campaign that didn't see this happening and do something about it. And then there's this:

On putting Palin out in big, hostile network interviews at the beginning: "Our assumption was people would not let us release her on Fox or local TV."

On the Couric interview, which Davis says Palin thought would be softer because she was being interviewed by a woman: "She was under the impression the Couric thing was going to be easier than it was. Everyone's guard was down for the Couric interview."

On the clothes fiasco: "We flew her out from Alaska to Arizona to Ohio to introduce her to the world and take control of her life. She didn't think 'dress for the convention', because it might have just been a nice day trip to Arizona if she didn't click with John. Very little prep had been done and if it had, we might have gotten picked off by the press. We were under incredible scrutiny. We got her a gal from New York and we thought, 'Let's get some clothes for her and the family.' It was a failure of management not to get better control and track of that. The right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing, what it was worth or where it was going. No one knew how much that stuff was worth. It was more our responsibility than hers."

What does that first graf mean? What "people" did they think wouldn't let them release her on Fox or local television? And as to the second, all I can say is...WHERE DID THEY FIND THESE IDIOTS?! They thought that hyperliberal hyperNOWist hyperidiot Katie Couric was going to be "soft" on her? In a taped, easily edited interview that could be dribbled out over days? On what planet have they been living? These are people who are supposed to understand media relations?

They deserved to lose, and as I've said before, I'm not unhappy that they did. But I'm quite unhappy that Senator Obama didn't.


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Steve wrote:

This was idiocy by design from the minute she was chosen. She wasn't part of the inside the Beltway crowd and it's costing all of us, not just McCain and Palin.

The Alaska Governor will be back, maybe not in 2012, but she and Bobby Jindal are the future, and the D.C. insiders better get used to the idea.

narciso wrote:

The only idiocy was leaving in charge of these clowns. She's the only one in our crew, who's on message, about energy, about the idiocy of the bailout, after neo-Czarism and the Islamist threat.
Katie Couric and Charles Gibson's editing her interviews should have gotten them fired.

mz wrote:

The false criticism of Palin are taking away the credibility from the real criticism.

We can assume she is intelligent and talented and has been unfairly treated, but still the above post says she lacked a lot of important knowledge.

Is it wise to try to place such a person as a vice president? Some bringing up to speed can, should, and always has to be performed, but couldn't there just be someone else who actually was a lot more prepared for the job?

Is the politics so facade and image driven that actual knowledge and skills don't have any use anymore? Wasn't there anyone better?

All the noise aside, was Palin really a good choice for a vice presidential candidate? Maybe better if she had known it a year or five ahead.

narciso wrote:

What real criticism has there been of her; not the trig trutherism, proferred by one of her opponents,
Lyda Green. The stupid Africa and NAFTA
insinuations, she negotiated a pipeline deal with Canada. Her husband used to work with BP; which has operation everywhere including Equatorial Africa. Not her welcoming of the AIP which had a governor, the former Nixon peacenik Wally Hickel. The edited version of the Diomede island incident; Alaska was a Russian colony; Wassila comes from Vassily, so does Sitka. Maybe you heard of Seward' Folly, when we bought it from Alexander 11; the proverbial good czar. That's we have a ballistic missile defense post there.

Jonathan wrote:

mz wrote:
Is the politics so facade and image driven that actual knowledge and skills don't have any use anymore? Wasn't there anyone better?

Communications skills are a crucial part of politics. Without such skills, the voters don't find out about your other good points, and you are doomed. Palin has excellent communications skills, perhaps better than those of any other current national Republican politician. She is also very good on substance in the areas she's worked in. She's a bit weak on glibness and on the fine points of some policy issues in areas that she hasn't done much work in, but those things can be learned easily and she will probably learn them.

Bill Maron wrote:

I don't see how mz wrote that with a straight face while Joe "gaffe machine" Biden is the VP-elect.

memomachine wrote:


Frankly I find media criticisms of Palin mindboggling when I think back to 2004 and John Edwards.

On another note John Edwards is attempting to rehabilitate his image now by going on the lecture circuit and talking about poverty.

Which still is pretty silly.

narciso wrote:

She's week on the glib, unlike most former sports
casters and journalists;(Herr Olbermann?) she makes sure she's correct, before she saids. Whereas Joe's rendesvous with a shuttered restaurant, kicking Hezbollah out of Lebanon (really?) are just another walk in the park.

Anonymous wrote:

Is narciso losing his handle on the language?

ken anthony wrote:

We can assume she is intelligent and talented and has been unfairly treated, but still the above post says she lacked a lot of important knowledge.

EVERYBODY lacks important knowledge! Biden is the poster child. This is gossip. Why give it any credence?

There's a thing called thought. First you collect information, then you consider it. But not if it's a smear of Sarah.

These cretins have produced false school records to support the claim that Sarah is stupid. The same people that put together Barack's false selective service docs perhaps?

Yes, the Canadian slang folksiness is off putting, but listen to her ideas rather than just her words. She gets most of it right (nobody gets it all right.) That's what's important, not her tailor.

She's not Ronald Reagan (regardless of what Michael might say) but she's a good step in that direction.

mz wrote:

Seems Sarah Palin has entered mythical creature territory, it is impossible to know anything about her. So discussion is useless.

narciso wrote:

You haven't proferred any actual information, most unsourced insinuations, allegations , misimpressions from edited transcripts, which were in turn
exagerated by the likes of Tina Fey (who felt a degree of shame, when she finally met her) When you actually provide facts, then we'll debate the issues. (Haloscan: was the reason my last response was truncated)

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on November 13, 2008 3:30 PM.

Deferring The Moon? was the previous entry in this blog.

Invading Albion is the next entry in this blog.

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