Wednesday, July 1, 2009

GOP fight

As far as I'm concerned, this can go on for ages: Republicans self-destructing. After the November debacle came Rush Limbaugh assuming leadership of the Party, Cheney pronouncing on national defense and War, Newt Gingrich reappearing as a pundit, Senator Ensign admitting to an extra-marital affair, and Governor Sanford admitting to having been, not hiking on the Appalachian Trail but dallying in Buenos Aires (and expounding on how many other times he "crossed the line").

Now the One from Wasilla, who last month had a verbal spat with David Letterman when the comic made a crude joke about a Palin daughter getting nailed by Alex Rodriguez, is back, and, of course, with a vengeance.

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.

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.

In turn, Schmidt praised Kristol's skills set: “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."

Randy Scheunemann, a longtime foreign policy adviser to McCain who is also close to Kristol, joins the fray: “Steve Schmidt has a congenital aversion to the truth. It was like meeting Tony Soprano.”

Take that, punk.

The vitriol also suggests the degree to which Palin remains a Rorschach test not simply to Republicans nationally but within a tight circle of elite operatives and commentators, many of whom seem ready to carry their arguments in 2012. Was Palin a fresh talent whose debut was mishandled by self-serving campaign insiders, or an eccentric “diva” who had no business on the national stage? Going forward, does she offer a conservative and charismatic face for a demoralized and star-less party? Or is she a loose cannon who should be consigned to the tabloids where she can reside in perpetuity with other flash-in-the-pan sensations?

Let the debate continue. (tee-hee-hee)

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