Still Fighting the 2008 Election

As McCain and Palin rail against the HBO movie Game Change and Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace and various campaign alum who say it’s accurate, but don’t have the guts to go on the record, lo and behold, memos from the fall of 2008 suddenly fall into Politico‘s lap like ripe fruit (“MCain Aide Memo:  Shield Schmidt,” by Maggie Haberman).

These memos, from just before the election, are focused on preventing Schmidt, McCain’s senior strategist, from taking the hit for the loss and lay out a media strategy to get DC insiders to defend him and his reputation.  The memos were from a McCain senior adviser, Brian Jones, who worked at Mercury Public Affairs (MPA) to two MPA executives.  Schmidt also worked for MPA.

“A week out from the election, named and unnamed sources of the political punditry are beginning to pin some of the blame for McCain’s likely defeat on Steve Schmidt.  … [A] well organized and coordinated effort is needed to defend Steve’s good reputation.  … It is critical this defense be smart and soft….  We cannot be seen coordinating a pre-election defense effort.  That being said, I believe we should in the course of natural conversations with friendly reporters begin to provide positive messaging — off the record.”

There is more about getting out a not-Schmidt’s-fault spin from friends with “our message points” and about booking Schmidt himself for interviews.

Schmidt told Politico he was unaware of these memos or efforts, but clearly the intent of the leak is to make him seem self-serving and focused on saving his own tush even before the ballots were cast.

I believe that Game Change places too much blame for Palin on Schmidt and not enough on campaign manager Rick Davis.  Then there were the GOP Great Mentioners who had been pushing Palin for over a year — folks like Dick Morris, Bill Kristol, Fred Barnes, older guys seduced by her looks and flirtatiousness when they met her in Alaska.

But in defense of the McCain campaign, I think it’s reasonable to assume that any one of our fifty governors has a certain level of very basic knowledge — what the Federal Reserve is; why there is a North Korea and a South Korea; that the Prime Minister runs Great Britain, not the Queen.  While the meetings with Palin before she was announced were obviously not inquisitive enough, I don’t think they could have imagined her staggering level of ignorance.

Review of Game Change

David Frum, former speechwriter for Bush 43, has an excellent review of Game Change (the Palin-is-a-moron movie on HBO this Saturday, March 10) up at The Daily Beast.  Here’s a morsel:

Game Change the movie shows a Palin of almost unfathomable ignorance.  Staffers discover that she has never heard of the Federal Reserve and does not know why there are two Koreas; she answers a prep question about the military alliance with Britain by saluting John McCain’s excellent relationship with Queen Elizabeth.

“Efforts to instruct her send Palin into what one staffer describes as a ‘catatonic stupor.’

“The professionals soon discover their mistake.  ‘I don’t even like to say this, but has it occurred to you guys that she might be mentally unstable?’ asks one staffer about the woman the McCain campaign proposed to put next in line to America’s nuclear codes.  As they come to know Palin, the campaign professionals begin to  feel an awakening of conscience:  first qualms, then fears, and finally revulsion — not for the campaign, not for their careers, but for their country.

“Some of the best acting in the film is in the looks of unspoken dread that flit about the faces of Sarah Paulson’s [Nicolle] Wallace and Harrelson’s [Steve] Schmidt as they react to  Palin’s wilder and wilder provocations.  What have they done?  And if this campaign somehow wins — and Palin is put within reach of the presidency — what might they have done?”

There’s much more, all of it very scary.  Think about this.  Ron Paul is dangerous enough because he wants to abolish the Federal Reserve.  But at least he’s heard of it.

The Palin-Perry Feud Continues

Sarah Palin seems to be continuing her feud with Rick Perry.  Telling Greta Van Susteren on Fox tonight that the GOP needs a candidate who comes from a modest family background, she could have named Rick Perry, but chose instead to name Herman Cain.  Actually she called him “Herb” Cain throughout the interview, but just because Fox is paying her $1 million a year for commentary is no reason for her to bother to learn the candidates’ names.

Palin also said that she likes making people think!  No, Sarah, what you do is make people’s heads explode.

In case we had any doubts, Nicolle Wallace confirmed tonight on Rachel Maddow that the mentally-ill vice president in her new novel was inspired by Palin.