The relationship between presidential candidates and their running mates often makes for an interesting read, especially in instances in which the two are not always on the same page, which apparently is not all that infrequent.
George McGovern was furious over Tom Eagleton's failure to inform him of his medical history, a union that lasted all of 17 days until Eagleton was forced off the Democratic ticket in 1972. Bob Dole and Jack Kemp had complete disdain for each other from the get go, and that was true during the congressional budget battles in 1986, when they ran against each other for the Republican nomination in 1988 and, one wonders, when Dole picked Kemp as his running mate in 1996. And both sides in the John Kerry-John Edwards "marriage" of 2004 have openly spoke of their dissatisfaction with the other.
So maybe the leaks about the unhappiness among the John McCain and Sarah Palin camps were to be expected. But in this era of tell-all books (or, at the least, tell-it-the-way-I-want-it-to-be-told), the antagonism between the two Republicans during their 2008 campaign was pretty intense.
That's the message one gets by reading reviews, excerpts and leaks from Palin's book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," which she wrote with conservative editor Lynn Vincent.
In the 444 days since Sarah Palin was plucked out of near obscurity as the governor of Alaska to be John McCain's running mate, she has become one of the most recognizable -- and controversial -- figures in American politics. From the time she gave a speech at the GOP convention that electrified the party faithful to the ticket's resounding defeat two months later, Palin was the talk of the political world. Much of the talk wasn't complimentary, and perhaps this book is payback.
But, as Michiko Kakutani of the New York Times writes today, her barbs are "directed not at the Democrats or liberals or the news media, but at the McCain campaign:
In what reads like payback for disparaging comments by John McCain's aides about her after the ticket's loss to Barack Obama, Ms. Palin depicts the McCain campaign as overscripted, defeatist, disorganized and dunderheaded -- slow to shift focus from the Iraq war to the cratering economy, insufficiently tough on Mr. Obama and contradictory in its media strategy. ...
All in all Ms. Palin emerges from "Going Rogue" as an eager player in the blame game, ungrateful to the McCain campaign for putting her on the national stage. As for the McCain campaign, it often feels like a desperate and cynical operation, willing to make a risky Hail Mary pass to try to score a tactical win, instead of making a considered judgment as to who might be genuinely qualified to sit a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.
In the book, she is critical of the McCain campaign's decision to pull out of Michigan, to bill her $50,000 for her "vetting" as a running mate, and their refusal to let her make a concession speech on the night of the election.
Her barbs and criticisms have left McCain campaign veterans none too happy. An anonymous campaign official is quoted in the Washington Post as saying, "John McCain offered her the opportunity of a lifetime, and during the campaign it seems that, for all of her mistakes, she is searching for people to blame. We don't need to go through this again." Similarly, regarding the charge about billing her for the vetting, CNN's Political Ticker quotes a McCain official as saying, "That is one hundred percent untrue. All those bills are from her personal attorney Thomas Van Flein, mostly relating to the Troopergate investigation and other ethics investigations. It is not legal to pay for those investigations out of general election funds, even if the campaign was so inclined." The Huffington Post quotes a McCain aide thusly: "There are elements of truth underlying a narrative that is completely false." NBC News' Mark Murray quotes GOP consultant and former McCain campaign Mike Murphy, never a Palin fan to begin with, as saying, "She is polarizing within the GOP and totally unpopular outside the party. And that is not a recipe to get into the White House." And Politico's Andy Barr writes that ex-McCain John Weaver "slammed Palin for using the book for 'petty and pathetic' score-settling":
"Sarah Palin reminds me of Jimmy Stewart in the movie 'Harvey,' complete with imaginary conversations. All books like these are revisionist and self-serving, by definition. But the score-settling by someone who wants to be considered a serious national player is petty and pathetic."
"The problem wasn't who her interview was with, the problem was her interview [with CBS' Katie Couric]," he added. "Couric asked no trick questions. This just seems to be an attempt to obscure as bad a performance since Roger Mudd asked Ted Kennedy that simple question."
Of course, the rancor between the two camps can't be blamed on only one side. Steve Schmidt, a top McCain adviser who was one of the more forceful advocates of putting Palin on the ticket to begin with, has said in recent months that making her the party's 2012 nominee would be a catastrophe. Other McCain aides have said the same thing, usually under the cloak of anonymity. As for McCain himself, he has in the past been complimentary of his former running mate; regarding Palin's book, the senator has told his campaign aides to refrain from talking. But they haven't.
Palin's interview with Oprah Winfrey airs today in the D.C. area at 4 pm. Stay tuned for updates.
categories: Is It 2012 Yet?