With 10 days to go until Election Day, long-brewing tensions between GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and key aides to Sen. John McCain have become so intense they are spilling out in public, sources say.They're done, ladies and gentlemen. It's over. The GOP base will be so demoralized by this that the Obama landslide is all but certain. Palin and her supporters are already angling for 2010 and 2012. The GOP is about to split down the middle, with moderate Republicans (Obamacans? Barackerfeller Republicans?) jumping ship and the diehard Palinites staying on, screaming at their own impotence.
Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin "going rogue." A Palin associate, however, said the candidate is simply trying to "bust free" of what she believes was a damaging and mismanaged roll-out.
McCain sources say Palin has gone off message several times, and they privately wonder if the incidents were deliberate. They cited that she labeled robocalls -- recorded messages often used to attack a candidate's opponent -- "irritating" even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan.
A second McCain source tells CNN she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.
"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."
The Schism is here. Politico.com has more.
The emergence of a Palin faction comes as Republicans gird for a battle over the future of their party: Some see her as a charismatic, hawkish conservative leader with the potential, still unrealized, to cross over to attract moderate voters. Anger among Republicans who see Palin as a star and as a potential future leader has boiled over because, they say, they see other senior McCain aides preparing to blame her in the event he is defeated.This public, unprofessional, and complete disintegration of coherence 10 days before the election is a sign of just how hopelessly split the entire GOP is over this. There are those who will blame Sarah Palin for the disastrous loss of the ticket, and those who will blame John McSame for the loss.
"These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves," a McCain insider said, referring to McCain's chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, and to Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush aide who has taken a lead role in Palin's campaign. Palin's partisans blame Wallace, in particular, for Palin's avoiding of the media for days and then giving a high-stakes interview to CBS News' Katie Couric, the sometimes painful content of which the campaign allowed to be parceled out over a week.
"A number of Gov. Palin's staff have not had her best interests at heart, and they have not had the campaign's best interests at heart," the McCain insider fumed, noting that Wallace left an executive job at CBS to join the campaign.
Wallace declined to engage publicly in the finger-pointing that has consumed the campaign in the final weeks.
"I am in awe of [Palin's] strength under constant fire by the media," she said in an e-mail. "If someone wants to throw me under the bus, my personal belief is that the most graceful thing to do is to lie there."
But they will lose. There is no way this public bloodletting will do anything but completely demoralize GOP voters to the point where the Republican Party may not survive as we know it. from the ashes, who knows what will arise.
It will not be the modern GOP. Whether it's a moderate party or a radical fringe movement, this complete crackup is liable to give the Democrats control of the country for a very, very long time.