The sordid soap opera that is Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, played out in a new Vanity Fair article, has ignited a war of words within the Republican Party with each sides calling each other liars.
On one side is fading right-wing star Bill Kristol, squaring off against Steve Schmidt, manager of Sen. John McCain’s failed Presidential bid but others in the GOP are getting their blows in as well.
The Vanity Fair article by Todd Purdum goes insides the McCain campaign in last year’s election, showcasing the many mistakes made in selecting Palin as the Arizona Senator’s running mate and highlighting just what a loose cannon Palin become to both the Republican Party and the GOP.
Despite her disastrous performance in the 2008 election, Sarah Palin is still the sexiest brand in Republican politics, with a lucrative book contract for her story. But what Alaska’s charismatic governor wants the public to know about herself doesn’t always jibe with reality. As John McCain’s top campaign officials talk more candidly than ever before about the meltdown of his vice-presidential pick, the author tracks the signs—political and personal—that Palin was big trouble, and checks the forecast for her future.
Palin is unlike any other national figure in modern American life—neither Anna Nicole Smith nor Margaret Chase Smith but a phenomenon all her own. The clouds of tabloid conflict and controversy that swirl around her and her extended clan—the surprise pregnancies, the two-bit blood feuds, the tawdry in-laws and common-law kin caught selling drugs or poaching game—give her family a singular status in the rogues’ gallery of political relatives. By comparison, Billy Carter, Donald Nixon, and Roger Clinton seem like avatars of circumspection. Palin’s life has sometimes played out like an unholy amalgam of Desperate Housewives and Northern Exposure.
What is pissing some Republicans off so much now is the willingness of some of the McCain camp to go public and admit that Palin was, and is, a nutcase.
A hard-hitting piece on Sarah Palin in the new Vanity Fair has touched off a blistering exchange of insults among high-profile Republicans over last year’s GOP ticket – tearing open fresh wounds about leaks surrounding Palin and revealing for the first time some of the internal wars that paralyzed the campaign in its final days.
Rival factions close to the McCain campaign have been feuding since last fall over Palin, usually waging the battle in the shadows with anonymous quotes. Now, however, some of the most well-known names in Republican politics are going on-the-record with personal attacks and blame-casting.
William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard and at times an informal adviser to Sen. John McCain, touched off the latest back-and-forth Tuesday morning with a post on his magazine’s blog criticizing the Todd Purdum-authored Palin story and pointing a finger at Steve Schmidt, McCain’s campaign manager.
Kristol cited a passage in Purdum’s piece in which “some top aides” were said to worry about the Alaska governor’s “mental state” and the prospect that the Alaska governor may be suffering from post-partum depression following the birth of her son Trig. “In fact, one aide who raised this possibility in the course of trashing Palin’s mental state to others in the McCain-Palin campaign was Steve Schmidt,” Kristol wrote.
Asked about the accusation, Schmidt fired back in an e-mail: “I’m sure John McCain would be president today if only Bill Kristol had been in charge of the campaign.”
“After all, his management of [former Vice President] Dan Quayle’s public image as his chief of staff is still something that takes your breath away,” Schmidt continued. “His attack on me is categorically false.”