Governor Sarah Palin is getting it from all sides these days. It is not surprising that she was smeared by the Democrats and their media lapdogs. That is what those people do. But what I find disgusting is how the McCain campaign tried to blame her for losing the election.
There were the silly accusations about how she bought $150,000 of clothes with campaign money, which turns out to be completely untrue. The reality is that they sent a staffer to buy an assortment of clothes. The staffer bought $70k worth at one store and $50k at another. From that assortment, they picked out the things they wanted to keep, and returned the bulk of the items. Somehow the $120k got rounded up to $150k and the fact that the net cost was much less than either of those numbers was ignored.
More ridiculous than that was the whisper campaign from the McCain staff about Palin walking around her hotel room wrapped in a towel. Seriously? Who cares?? And then suggesting that she didn't know that Africa was a continent and not a country. I don't believe that one for a moment.
And the height of irony was when McCain's staff said that Palin had "gone rogue". I recall that when McCain first announced Palin as his VP selection, he called her "the original maverick" and described her as a strong, independent woman. I suppose that a maverick is someone who doesn't go along with everyone else, while a rogue is someone who doesn't go along with you.
What this amounts to is McCain and his campaign trying to pin the blame for losing to BO onto someone else. Indeed there is reason to believe that something was mishandled, considering that 18 months ago the only states where BO beat McCain in head-to-head polling were Illinois and Hawaii. BO certainly ran a good campaign, and he has charm and charisma to spare. Giving flowery self-promoting speeches is something he excels at. But McCain certainly dropped the ball as well. And if McCain wants to make the case that he lost because Palin is unfit to be VP, then one has to wonder what that says about him. He picked her, after all.
But the premise is bad. Sarah Palin is not why McCain lost. Palin gave the ticket a significant boost, and the Dems had to expend a great deal of money and effort to counter that. In the weeks after announcing Palin, McCain was ahead of BO and trending upwards.
The turning point was the day that Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy, a few days after John McCain said "the fundamentals of the economy are strong." Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had already collapsed and AIG was just about to follow suit. Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley were also clearly in trouble, and people began to recognize that there was a systemic problem.
McCain could have set himself apart at this point by opposing the bailout, but he didn't. He could have countered BO's specious claim that the financial meltdown was caused by Bush policies "shredding regulation" by pointing out that government meddling got us into this mess in the first place, but he didn't. He could have made the case that less taxes and a more business-friendly environment would lead back to solid economic growth which benefits everyone, but he didn't. He turned to the government solution just like his socialist opponent.
The mood swung hard against the incumbents, and from that point on it was all downhill. In any other situation he had several winning cards in his hand: energy independence and all the economic benefits of drilling here, Joe the Plumber and a low, fair tax that is not used to redistribute wealth from those who produce it to those who don't, his foreign relations expertise compared to his opponent's undeniable naivety, and his determination to win the War on Terror contrasted to his opponent's eagerness to capitulate. But in mid-September when the sub-prime mortgage house of cards finally collapsed, that one issue trumped everything else, and whoever was in charge at that time was going to be kicked out.
So let's not blame Sarah Palin. Blame the primary voters for picking a flawed candidate, blame John McCain for mishandling the situation, and blame the bad timing of the mortgage crisis.