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November 06, 2008

Flashback II: Scheunemann Takes on the "Anti-Palin Faction" Within the McCain Camp

The "Anti-Palin Faction" accused Palin of "going rogue" by saying Obama was "palling around with terrorists,"among other things.

There's a faction within the McCain campaign has begun to whisper about Gov. Sarah Palin to reporters. The faction includes staff members and advisers who consult with staff members. It does not seem to include any members of the senior staff, although the definition of the senior staff here is a bit elastic.

This faction has come to believe that Palin, perhaps unwittingly subconsciously or otherwise, has begun to play Sen. McCain off of the base, consistently and deliberately departed from the campaign's message of the day in ways that damage McCain. ("palling around with terrorists" was a line that escaped HQ's vetting... Palin's criticism of the campaign for pulling out of Michigan was greeted by anger internally... Palin's expressed opinion that Rev. Wright is a legitimate issue -- which subtly knocks McCain for not raising it -- was perceived as an attempt to preemptively blame McCain's wobbliness for his loss, which would theoretically enhance Palin's standing with the base.) The complaints extend all the back to Palin's vice presidential vetting. Major disclosures, issue positions and associations did not come up, and the campaign was so overwhelmed with new information early on, it largely abandoned an effort to defend them individually. This is the claim, anyway. For the record, senior adviser Mark Salter, accurately identified everywhere as the aide who is closest to McCain, calls this scenario "bullshit."

I consider all that paranoid, incidentally. She cannot be a perfect parrot for McCain -- especially since McCain's thinking itself is often muddled. Every once in a while she's going to be pitched a question, and, not having memorized McCain's inconsistent answers fully, she's going to have to (gasp) offer her own opinion.

Barack Obama himself said that Wright was a legitimate issue. I think McCain did himself, even as he stated that it was wrong for that state GOP ad to link a Democratic candidate to Wright through Obama. (He didn't elaborate on why it was wrong -- just that it was, and that he didn't want to talk about it.)

McCain himself decided he wouldn't run on the subprime crisis -- no matter how much his aides screamed at him about this (and I, in turn, screamed at some of his staffers, not realizing... they agreed with me) -- and himself decided to put the whole election on fucking Bill Ayers.

The whole election.

Now, Palin, having been told that was the Master Plan, may have made up her own off-the-cuff language for it ("palling around with terrorists") -- but excuse me, how was she to know that that particular locution was off-limits?

What, it wasn't calibrated to the thousandth of an inch enough for Team McCain? Everything with this guy is calibration ladled on contradiction. Who the fuck can guess?

No schwerpunkt. It's Palin's fault that McCain lacked a schwerpunkt?

At any rate, these are minor deviations from the Great Master McCain Plan which never existed in the first place, elevated to Mighty Betrayals of The Clear and Unambiguous Message Everyone Understands.

And so Scheunemann fired back:

Just read your post. This is on the record. This is cleared by HQ. It is a fact that Barack Obama was palling around with terrorists. It was a fact before Governor Palin said it in a fully vetted speech and it is fact today. It is bullshit to claim or write anything else.

Anyone get the feeling that perhaps some within the McCain camp did in fact have it in for Palin? Elevating silly shit like this into a treacherous stab at "going rogue"?

Note in this instance, the Anti-Palin Faction leaked first, dishing dirt to Ambinder before the election, not even waiting until the election to start denigrating Palin.

Scheunemann fired back in response.

But notice who was fired.

And who was not fired.

I realize Schmidt was probably too senior to fire.

Fine.

Tell him to shut the fuck up then.

Incidentally... Dan tells me that it was Schmidt who suggested Palin as a veep in the first place, and also smoothed things over when Palin and her husband became pissed off about how their handlers were handling them.

So, he suggests, it's unlikely Schmidt is one of the anti-Palin leakers.

Not sure myself. Just posting this defense.

Sheunemann Not Fired: Not sure what's up here. Some say he was fired -- CNN reported it.

He says he wasn't.

Wallace: I'm not to blame for that $150,000 shopping spree. Fred Barnes, it turns out, later apologized for claiming she was.

The NYT, by the way, claims it was Palin herself who bought all those clothes. (See above "He says he wasn't" link.)

Frankly, this is, was, and always will be a stupid story. Obama spent millions on a fucking Greek temple to himself. Appearances matter. And yet the MSM manufactured a fucking scandal out of someone -- whoever it was -- buying Palin a wardrobe that would show her to maximum effect on the campaign trail.

I feel stupid that I've even been tricked into discussing this again.

Thanks to WilliamA.


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posted by Ace at 01:51 AM

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