A few more handfuls of dirt chucked at the ‘Cuda via the Corner, and one last shot at piecing together who the leaker(s) might be:
The split over Palin, of course, poisoned everything at the end. One of the dividing lines was between her communications team and the policy advisers. The communications team seemed to consider her a dolt, while the policy people—like Steve Biegun and Randy Scheunemann—were impressed with her and her potential. As one McCain aide told me, “It’s the difference between considering her someone who lacks knowledge and someone who is incompetent, and they [the communications aides] treated her as the latter.”
By many accounts, the relationship between Palin and the staff assigned by the campaign to travel with her on her plane was dysfunctional and even hostile from the beginning. “She would have been better served if she had asked a couple of people to be removed from her traveling staff,” says one McCain aide.
Some McCain loyalists think the Bushies assigned to Palin let her down and then turned on her. This is a representative quote from someone from McCain world holding that view: “Look, she wasn’t ready for this, obviously. Their job was to make her ready for this and they failed. So they unloaded on her. If they had an iota of loyalty to John McCain, they wouldn’t have done it.”
Were there any Bushies assigned to Palin? Indeed there were. Were any of them communications people? Indeed: Tucker Eskew and … Nicolle Wallace, who was absolved by Chris Wallace but accused by more than one Palin ally of backbiting. Another possibility is Tracey Schmitt, who’s not a Bushie as far as I know and who spoke up in defense of Palin recently (as did, er, Wallace), but who fits the profile of a communications person whose confidence in the ‘Cuda seems to have been less than optimal:
Reporters really began to notice the change last Sunday, when Palin strolled over to a local television crew in Colorado Springs.
“Get Tracey,” a staffer called out, according to The New York Times, summoning spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt, who reportedly “tried several times to cut it off with a terse ‘Thank you!’ in between questions, to no avail.” The moment may have caused ulcers in some precincts of the McCain campaign, but it was an account Palin’s admirers in Washington cheered.
Exit question: Time to stop blogging this soap opera? We’re never going to get closure so we might as well stop watching.