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.
How exactly does Purdum measure "disastrous"? Is it by the crowds she attracted, the fundraising she created, or the new excitement that surrounded McCain's campaign following her selection? She had several disastrous interviews but that doesn't make her entire selection disastrous.
The piece is full of these types of accusations. They aren't really supported. Worse than that, the accusations are often those with no context. As such, they are almost entirely done as nothing more than a salacious attack on Palin. My favorite part, if you will, was this.
More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin’s extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of ‘narcissistic personality disorder’ in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--’a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy’--and thought it fit her perfectly.Is Pardum serious? Does he really expect the readers to believe that layman use such clinical terms? Does he really expect us to believe that non psychiatrists consulted the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders"? Pardum's piece is another in a long line of pieces that can't seem to find one person in all of Alaska that could say a nice thing about her despite the fact that she's still overwhelmingly popular there. There it is. The article is 9000 words more or less like those I quoted. The New York Times published a similar hit piece during the campaign. That received scant coverage. I wish this had wound up the same.
The difference with this article is that it also quoted former McCain staffers, who anonymously attacked Palin. The most infamous attack insinuates that Palin had post partum depression.
Some top aides worried about her mental state: was it possible that she was experiencing postpartum depression?
There was several attacks like this one, though this has received the most attention. Of course, not one of the people that attacked Palin for this piece would put their name behind the attack. That's for good reason. If they did, they'd never work for any Republican ever again. Redstate once identified Nichole Wallace as the author of one previous anonymous Palin attack. Wallace now works for the liberal online publication, the Daily Beast. It's likely that's the sort of employment Wallace can expect going forward.
The worst part about all of this is that the piece once again makes the absurd allegation that Palin cost McCain the election. It's one of many things that anonymous sources told Pardum. Of course, that's absurd, and frankly, even if true, exactly whose fault would it have been if not the very folks making the accusation?
McCain lost the election the minute the economy tanked. He didn't help himself when he claimed the economy was on steady ground. He put the final nail in his coffin when in the debate he came out in favor of the bailout. None of that had anything to do with Palin. The only time the McCain campaign had any steam was in the weeks following her selection. When the economy tanked, that became the issue.
Her initial interviews were in fact disastrous. Of course, whose fault is that? Why would the campaign have her sit down with the MSM first? Wouldn't it have been much better if Palin was first rolled out with several friendly media? Furthermore, why did they cut her off after a few bad interviews? Wouldn't that have reinforced her image? A lot of the blame for the bad interviews of course goes to Palin herself but some go to these very anonymous advisers now attacking her.
Frankly, it's high time we stop rehashing the 2008 campaign. It's worse yet, when doing so, gives unneeded publicity to a terrible hit piece.