Now they tell us: GOP pols, pollsters grumbling about McCain’s misuse of Palin
posted at 3:40 pm on December 23, 2008 by Allahpundit
For the second time this week, I’m forced to begin a post about McCain with that line from “The Wedding Singer”: This information really would’ve been more useful to us yesterday.
The occasion is this passage from Sarahcuda’s “conservative of the year” interview with Human Events:
Now I have all the faith in the world in Sen. McCain and his family. But some of the folks around him I did not know, and so it was a kind of a risky thing for me to put my faith in the decisions they were making on my behalf.
As an administrator, as a chief executive of a state, I am not used to that. I am used to proving my abilities by calling the shots. Then I know the buck stops with me. I made the decisions, and I’m responsible. When others are making decisions for me, as they were in the campaign, and I am the one to live with the fallout from the decisions that were made on my behalf, that is something I am not very comfortable with…
But my reliance on seeking God’s direction in all that I do — that is good enough for me. And others who have a different worldview and different strategy on messaging and such, I would like to have the opportunity to prove to them that my gut instincts were going to be quite adequate.
And right on cue, via U.S. News & World Report, the pile-on begins:
Now I’m hearing from key Republicans on Capitol Hill and GOP pollsters who believe that the McCain campaign should have put her out to talk about energy and political independence—her two best issues—instead of making her the conservative attack dog.
Said one pollster: “The McCain campaign took this person and completely botched her assets.” What’s more, the pollster said that in Palin, the McCain campaign had an expert on one of the key issues that was on the minds of Americans: energy prices. “They should have used her knowledge and focus on her expertise.” And the pollster said on background that the campaign should have played up her reputation as a political maverick.
They did emphasize the maverick stuff — it became an element of Fey’s character on SNL — but between her having to play the bad guy by beating up Obama and being painted by the media as a religious nut, it ended up submerged in a narrative of Palin as rabid party apparatchik. As for energy, she talked about that too (most memorably at the debate with “drill, baby, drill”) but I agree that it was never as prominent as it should have been. I remember writing the day she was picked that oil would be “her issue” on the trail and then the next day that she’d be the point man on energy policy. It never really felt that way. Palinmania was about biography and charisma; maybe it would have been different if they had her giving speeches on oil right out of the chute to impress the public with her experience, but between the Couric interview and the fact that energy had faded as a key issue by the time the financial crisis hit (if not earlier), I doubt it would have made a difference in the election — although it might have made a difference in her credibility with independents now.
Exit question: Why the anonymous sources on this one? If you’re going to dump on McCain and praise the party’s new star, you might as well get full credit.