Say it ain't so, John!

Your awful campaign is making me feel sorry for Sarah Palin.

By Joan Walsh

Published October 28, 2008 11:05AM (EDT)

I've hated the GOP effort to protect Sarah Palin from her own shortcomings in the global knowledge department by insisting her critics are sexist. Rebecca Traister summed up my feelings here.

But I'm equally appalled by the McCain camp's recent effort to make Sarah Palin the scapegoat for his horrific candidacy. You've read the headlines: Campaign aides have called her her a "diva" and said she's gone "rogue," for finally speaking up about Neiman Marcus-gate and other campaign troubles. (After I posted this, Politico's Mike Allen quoted another McCain aide calling her a "whack job.") Palin's defenders shot back that she's fed up with the way her McCain camp handlers have managed her, especially their shutting off her media access. To which one of those handlers, anonymously, retorted: "Her lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues was dramatic." The same aide said it was harder to get Palin "up to speed than any candidate in history."

What classless jerks. I am no Sarah Palin fan, but I think it was obvious, before McCain picked her, that Palin lacked "fundamental understanding" on key issues. They chose her anyway; her charm, charisma and appeal to the Christian right base outweighed her drawbacks back in August. Now they're trashing Palin for their own failure to adequately vet her, or to anticipate the way her "lack of fundamental understanding of some key issues" might actually scare voters.

I'm not worried about Sarah Palin, though; she will be fine. If all the polls are right, and McCain is headed to a big defeat, he'll go home to his Sedona ranch next week while she's heading to the front of the 2012 GOP pack. I still think the notorious though anonymous McCain advisors should be ashamed of themselves for using Palin this way, and then kicking her to the curb when it didn't work. But they'll probably have plenty of time to reflect on their bad behavior in the months to come.

UPDATE: Tom Schaller debates me, here, and I think he probably wins. I also liked this post on Open Salon.


Joan Walsh

Joan Walsh is the author of "What's the Matter With White People: Finding Our Way in the Next America."

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2008 Elections