The increasingly public war between a McCain faction and a Palin faction within the McCain/Palin campaign, let alone within the Republican party at large, should give hope to those of us who have been worrying about the effects the GOP's various voter suppression tactics may have this year. Clearly the top levels of the Republican party - the people who would know these things - are convinced that their efforts to deny Americans their right to vote are not going to be enough to stem the tide. They will continue to use every dirty trick at their disposal, of course, whether legal or not. So Democrats need to continue their vigilance. It's comforting, however, to be able to trust Democrats in general and the Obama campaign in particular to respond to this vigorously and effectively.
Side note: This is a good time to publicly thank our own Sir Charles, who will be at the ready throughout this election to lend his considerable lawyering skills in the fight to protect Americans' right to vote. I almost feel sorry for anyone fool enough to take him on with this issue. Almost.
While we cannot be complacent, as Obama's newest iteration of his stump speech exhorts, we can start to have fun watching Republicans finally turn their vitriol upon each other as they wage a public civil war to determine who will be the face of the GOP after this election.
Happily there is mounting evidence that Sarah Palin really is as dumb and oblivious to reality as we've been thinking. Speaking about the campaign's devolution into warring factions, a Palin partisan said
Her strategy was to be trustworthy and a team player during the convention and thereafter, but she felt completely mismanaged and mishandled and ill advised. . .Recently, she's gone from relying on McCain advisers who were assigned to her to relying on her own instincts.
That's USDA-inspected, Grade-A, 100% Angus delusion. It's also proof that while the dolchstosslegende may have come to us from Weimar Germany, it's purest expression is found in contemporary right wing Americans.
The McCain faction isn't going down fighting, though, and they have their own stories of being stabbed in the back:
"She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone," said this McCain adviser. "She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.
"Also, she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."
Is that McCain advisor talking about divas, or mavericks? It's hard to tell sometimes.
What's especially enjoyable about the Republican Civil War is that it will be fought out in the open. Not only will everyone involved in the McCain campaign viciously fight to preserve their careers at the expense of each other, each of the party's factions will wage all-out war with each other to assign responsibility for their monumental failures this year. McCain and Palin will serve as lightning rods, but the war is over much more than just the two of them.
McCain's national standing is of course destroyed. He'll be able to win reelection as many times as he wants, but he'll fade into obscurity faster and farther than even Bob Dole. Palin's future is much more interesting. The extremist wing of the Republican party - by that I mean those who are extremists compared to the extremism of the party as a whole - will rally around her. She'll have four years to get some coaching and do some studying, and she might even be able to win reelection in Alaska; I have no idea how stupid or not Alaskans are.
However, there is a difference between having the opportunity to be coached and to study, and actually following through on it. The Palin faction has already settled on McCain's supposed unwillingness to let her intrinsic political skill come through - hindering her starburst-ability, as it were - as their explanation for Palin's unfavorable numbers and poor performances. The available evidence suggests that no one believes this more than Palin herself. It will be difficult for Palin's supporters to publicly claim that the election would have turned out differently if she had only been allowed to "be herself," while privately convincing her that she really wasn't ready and actually does need to work on presenting herself as a reasonable human being instead of a screaming barbarian from the frozen north.
All of this will be wasted money and time. Every dollar and minute spent attacking one another and/or painstakingly remaking Palin's public image is one less dollar, one less minute spent attacking the Constitution and American citizens' ability to live civilized, decent lives. It's about time.