The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Podhoretz Writes a Powerful Paragraph

Posted on | March 11, 2012 | 40 Comments

Actually, he writes far more than a paragraph, but he really brings home his point in this one:

Yes, if ever you wanted circumstantial evidence that the sources within the McCain campaign who spent October 2008 dumping on Palin anonymously might have included [Nicolle] Wallace and [Steve] Schmidt, you need look no further than HBO’s Game Change. The movie presents a moral case for the disreputable conduct of aides who, we can presume, fearlessly drop dirty dimes anonymously to save their own standing in the liberal culture from which they desperately wish not to be excluded.

Podhoretz makes an excellent point, and one which might have been extended to book length to address the Culture of Backstabbing that so dominates the Republican Party nowadays.

What is lacking, I would suggest, is the sort of humility that evangelical Christians have in mind when they employ the term “a servant’s heart.” Many GOP political operatives are more self-righteously judgmental than any Pharisee whom Christ ever denounced, and their only loyalty is to their own selfish ambitions. They are the type of people who are temperamentally incapable of admitting error, and therefore are always seeking scapegoats whom they can blame for their own failures.

If Wallace and Schmidt are prominent examples of this tendency, certainly it was fitting that they should have been employed by that most eminent Pharisee, Senator John Sidney McCain III.

UPDATE: I’ve noticed I’m getting a bit of Google search traffic on a post I wrote in October thank you, HBO!

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Comments

  • http://www.leftbankofthecharles.com/ Charles

    I thought it was supposed to have been Romneyites who threw Palin under the bus. These both appear to be Bushees.

    Funny to see Hollywood waste its time making Game Change and The Iron Lady to undercut the expected Plain candidacy that never came to be.

  • K-Bob

    I’ve tried my best not to act like I have an opinion on the way Gov. Palin was (or was not) treated by the McCain team.  It’s easy enough because I’m ignorant of the facts about it.

    It seems like a few campaign folks were actually on her side, but some weren’t.  I don’t know who were which.

    My question, Stacy and everyone, is: how accurate are the claims against the McCain team, regarding Sarah Palin? Is there some sort of definitive guide?  Sarah Palin’s books, perhaps?  Any actual admissions from the team?  I certainly don’t know.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_N7OUXLGILEG63QNSYOK2ZMNGZQ Zazz

    I suspect they were trying to save their careers among Republicans. But I agree with McCain that if you want to find loyalty and brotherly love, the first place to look is among political operatives, and how shocking it is not to find the best of it among Republican political operatives. It certainly should be with a sense of holy service to the Lord that one should approach service to one’s political standard bearer, and probably why so much Christian history resembles Republican politics.

    Podhoretz is right, of course, that Katie Couric is widely recognized as sneaking up on Republicans like the shark in the opening scene of Jaws. How could the campaign have been so foolish?

    They could have pitched the interview to anyone in the world, someone more even-handed, like Hannety, would have reached the needed demographic of independents and women.

  • http://evilbloggerlady.blogspot.com/ Evi L. Bloggerlady
  • BLBeamer

    The most obnoxious trait of Progressives (besides all the others) is their inability to admit even the slightest error.

    I have found that is the surest way to determine if you are dealing with a Progressive or an ignoramus.

    An ignoramus knows nothing about the subject they are preaching about, but if confronted with facts will shut up and may even be embarrassed.

    Progressives also usually know nothing other than that which they have been told to believe, but (betraying their Marxist roots) absolutely refuse to admit the facts are against them.  They just yell louder and insult you for bringing up racist “facts”.  They are shameless.

  • robertstacymccain

    K-Bob, you need to stop asking the question, “Is it true what Sarah Palin’s enemies say about her?” Whether any of it is true is far less important than understanding their motives for saying what they say.

    Is Sarah Palin perfect? Of course not, and nobody ever said she was. Is Sarah Palin a worse person than Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace? That is the real question, because clearly Schmidt and Wallace thought themselves infinitely superior to Palin, and therein lay the seed of their betrayal.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EU5DQWQTTHTPO4A4ZYSL3AAV2U Adjoran

    The campaign made a fundamental error with the Palin interviews, both with Couric and Smith.  Republicans can never trust MSM operators to edit a tape fairly.  Like Bush the Elder in 1988, we should only grant live on-air interviews to these people.  This prevents the creative editing.

    Bush’s take-down of Dan Rather would never have seen the light of day had the interview been taped.  That was the whole problem with the Palin interviews.

    Some of these allegations need serious scrutiny, though.  Wallace and Schmidt may indeed be culpable, but that isn’t proven by merely alleging it, is it?

  • elaine

     That’s the thing, isn’t it?  Wallace and Schmidt are progressives.  Yes, they’re ostensibly members of Team R, but they’re still progressives.  And that’s the reason they scuttled Palin.  She was a conservative — one of those crazy, scary, “right wing extremist” conservatives that the progressives in both parties hate with a fiery passion.  So, of course they were going to backstab her and do everything in their power to make her look bad.  She wasn’t one of them.  If she’d been someone who wears the conservative mantel without actually believing any of the principles, they could’ve worked with her.  But as it was, she actually believed the conservative positions she espoused.  They couldn’t allow the American People to be taken in by that kind of dangerous craziness!

    Why McCain agreed to go along with the suggestions of his advisers still puzzles me; but then, McCain was always chasing after the cool kids in DC, trying to be one of them by selling out his own party.  So maybe down deep, even he wanted to make Palin the scapegoat for his impending loss by agreeing to things which would make her look bad.  Or he was just the stupidest politician ever.  You decide…

  • elaine

     I’ve seen at least one interview with Wallace which really ticked me off, because it was clear that she hated Palin desperately and blamed her for every failure of the McCain campaign.  Don’t recall where I read it, but it was two, three months ago.  There’s no doubt in my mind, based on what she had to say in that interview, that she was one of the anonymous sources for Game Change… and she was one of the two main people responsible for making Palin look bad.

  • danbloom

    “It’s for my
    “It’s for my four grandkids. I hope it helps to wake the world up, too!”
    “Polar City Red” is a not book written by a scientist, ”since I am no scientist,” Laughter is quick to add. “But I am approaching the story as a family man concerned about the future of our planet. If my sci-fi story can reach a small audience at first and later reach an even greater readership worldwide in translation, I’ll be happy.”
    Laughter says ”Polar City Red” is just a good old-fashioned yarn for the average lay person, but adds: “I’m sure scientists many times smarter than I am will read the book and say, ‘I could have said that better.’ But I hope climate researchers will also enjoy the book, without being too critical. Hollywood screenwriters might want to take a peek, too. It’s the day after ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ but based on global warming rather than global cooling. I think a visionary film director could have a field day with this.”
    Laughter says that as a fiction writer he is straddling the fence. “I hope the message I’m trying to convey isn’t overshadowed by criticism and skepticism from climate denialists and skeptics,” Laughter says.
    “You never know when a scientist or activist studying global warming might read something in the book and realize their life hasn’t been wasted trying to warn humankind of our folly when we burn billions of tons of fossil fuels every year and expend dangerous levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Global warming is no laughing matter.”
    Or so says Jim Laughter.
    “I’m not smart enough to scientifically explain the intricacies of global warming,” Laughter adds. “But neither am I stupid enough to ignore the signs around me. I’ve driven through a few stop signs and traffic lights in my life, only to be stopped by policemen alert to the situation. The human race had better start paying attention to the signs around us if we want to leave a habitable planet for generations to come.”
    Sci-fi and cli-fi fans will likely be the first and most avid readers of “Polar City Red” since it’s set in a “Mad Max” kind of climate dystopia just outside Fairbanks in the not so distant future.
    One might think of it as a marriage between Mel Gibson’s “Mad Max” franchise and Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Road.”
    Is it science? No, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that climate chaos is going to have a direct – and chilling — impact on the entire planet, and especially on the Lower 48 and our 49th state, Alaska.
    For now, Laughter’s book is just an old-fashioned cli-fi yarn, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.
    Still, it’s “Soylent Green” food for thought for the day after “The Day After Tomorrow.” I’m not afraid, but I’m worried. James Lovelock is, too! Are you?
    four grandkids. I hope it helps to wake the world up, too!”
    “Polar City Red” is a not book written by a scientist, ”since I am no scientist,” Laughter is quick to add. “But I am approaching the story as a family man concerned about the future of our planet. If my sci-fi story can reach a small audience at first and later reach an even greater readership worldwide in translation, I’ll be happy.”
    Laughter says ”Polar City Red” is just a good old-fashioned yarn for the average lay person, but adds: “I’m sure scientists many times smarter than I am will read the book and say, ‘I could have said that better.’ But I hope climate researchers will also enjoy the book, without being too critical. Hollywood screenwriters might want to take a peek, too. It’s the day after ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ but based on global warming rather than global cooling. I think a visionary film director could have a field day with this.”
    Laughter says that as a fiction writer he is straddling the fence. “I hope the message I’m trying to convey isn’t overshadowed by criticism and skepticism from climate denialists and skeptics,” Laughter says.
    “You never know when a scientist or activist studying global warming might read something in the book and realize their life hasn’t been wasted trying to warn humankind of our folly when we burn billions of tons of fossil fuels every year and expend dangerous levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Global warming is no laughing matter.”
    Or so says Jim Laughter.
    “I’m not smart enough to scientifically explain the intricacies of global warming,” Laughter adds. “But neither am I stupid enough to ignore the signs around me. I’ve driven through a few stop signs and traffic lights in my life, only to be stopped by policemen alert to the situation. The human race had better start paying attention to the signs around us if we want to leave a habitable planet for generations to come.”
    Sci-fi and cli-fi fans will likely be the first and most avid readers of “Polar City Red” since it’s set in a “Mad Max” kind of climate dystopia just outside Fairbanks in the not so distant future.
    One might think of it as a marriage between Mel Gibson’s “Mad Max” franchise and Cormac McCarthy’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Road.”
    Is it science? No, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that climate chaos is going to have a direct – and chilling — impact on the entire planet, and especially on the Lower 48 and our 49th state, Alaska.
    For now, Laughter’s book is just an old-fashioned cli-fi yarn, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.
    Still, it’s “Soylent Green” food for thought for the day after “The Day After Tomorrow.” I’m not afraid, but I’m worried. James Lovelock is, too! Are you?

  • Mortimer Snerd

    “So maybe down deep, even he wanted to make Palin the scapegoat for his impending loss by agreeing to things which would make her look bad. Or he was just the stupidest politician ever. You decide…”

    Both.

  • K-Bob

    Hmmm. I thought I was asking the inverse of that question. I.e., did they do unto her as Palinistas say they did? Cuz I don’t know, and it’s hard to search for that with all that’s out there.

    But I get your point. Yeah. And the adverb is correct. They’d never have been so bold if they thought themselves “merely” better.

  • A Guy From Lithia Springs

    It is true that the McCain camps panicked reaction in introducing Palin to the media and their struggles in
    getting her up to minimum game speed for a national election will be
    debated forever among the right.    But the quest for “traitors” in your midst overlook a simple salient fact:   Palin was a disastrous pick for VP.   If you want to look back and blame somebody—blame McCain for making such a foolish selection.   Palin was not ready for this.   Blame whoever you like for her spectacular flame-out.  But Palin was not ready.  That much is fact.  All else is theory.

  • hrh40

     Do some homework. Seven of her daily aides from AK and the VP campaign held a teleconference call with the media last week to tell the truth.

    For example, out of 200 trips Palin made on the campaign trail, Schmidt was on 5 of them.

    Look up Jason Recher, Thomas Van Flein, Randy Schueneman, A.B. Culvahouse.

    The truth is out there.

    If you really want to find it.

  • hrh40

    You’d have a point about self-righteous servant’s heart people if you weren’t applying it to Schmidt or Wallace.

    One of the biggest bugaboos both of these operatives had/have about Palin is that she is a woman of faith, frequently prays and seeks God’s will.

    Neither Schmidt nor Wallace are people of faith. And, in fact, they mock and deride people of faith.

  • Garym

    Yeah, it was all Palin’s fault. McCain suspending his campaign to fly back to Washington to help Bush steal taxpayers dollars, in order to bail out bankers who made bad loans. Voters didn’t smell any desperation there, did they. McCain is the reason McCain failed. Sarah Palin dragged that miserable campaign accross the finish line, albeit in second place.

  • narciso

    They took a dive, during the most important match in a generation,they  blamed it on her, how plausible are the claims Wallace and Schmidt made, very inplausible, the people
    that went out on a limb, Schueneman, Beigun, Stapleton, Von Flein, who actually know her, Culvahouse who vetted her,

  • A Guy From Lithia Springs

    No, I said it was McCain’s fault.    It is fair to say that we saw one of the quickest cases of buyers remorse ever among senior McCain advisers.    I suppose it is reasonable in retrospect to debate whether they should or not have thrown Palin under the bus after the election.    But at the end of the day its McCain who is accountable for the Palin selection, the lack of vetting.    And this isn’t the first time losers in a national election cut one another up.   What’s the old expression about defeat being an orphan?

  • TR

    Interestingly,
    Podhoretz (author in story above)  has written some very unkind things
    about Sarah Palin but sees this propaganda for what it is. 

    In previous articles (he is the editor of “Commentary” and 1/2
    brother of Jennifer Rubin now of the WaPo) he predicted Palin would burn
    out like baseball celebrity like Daryl Strawaberrry.  http://www.commentarymagazine….

    Strawberry had a well publicized struggle with drug and alcohol
    addiction.  Thus Podhoretz, is the guy Bill Kristol chose to write as
    the movie critic for the Weekly Standard.  Podhoretz writes basically in
    5/2011,  Palin = known a drug addict (she just needs more time).

    Santorum and Romney Aides went to the HBO premeir. I guess they need the Jen Rubin vote.  If  you can sit alongside smear merchants
    like John (“Palin, drug addict whats the difference?”) Podhoretz then go to it. 

     

  • Garym

    Just ignor the fact that before McCain suspended the campaign, he was up nationally by 5 points. After the bailout debacle, he was down and never recovered. Palin attracted huge crowds where ever she went, before and after the bailout. She just wasn’t enough to get people excited to vote for the McCain period. People like you hate conservatives, I get it, and Palin is the pinnacle of your hatred. The fact is, Palin saved that campaign and McCain’s handlers lost it.

  • serfer62

    AGFLS…The reaction from the Gov’s selection was all positive in ratings & funds. So where’s this remorse?
    In spite of that idiots constant promotion of the opposition and his blundering in his own campaign, Gov Palin consistently kept the ratings up until McStupid did the DC thing.
    Say…aren’t you in the wrong blog

  • Blake

    President Obama selects a known nimrod as VP and you get a collective yawn from the media and Obama’s sycophantic followers.

    McCain picks an unknown Governor from Alaska, loses an election and, suddenly, everything that went wrong is because of Sarah Palin.

    It astonishes me that a private citizen like Sarah Palin, with the 2008 election 4 years behind her, still receives slings and arrows from both sides.

    Rent free in your heads, indeed.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7E7OB7BMLOMJ6VHFDA7GITJXQY DaveO

    GOP Operatives, whether their job title is advisor or ashtray cleaner live in a very tight world.

    Today, they are a GOP operative. Tomorrow, they are a Congressional Aide. When junior needs to go to Hahvahd, the Aide becomes a Lobbyist. And then, having experience and seniority, becomes a higher-level GOP operative. BTW, their Dem counterparts do the same.

    One function of these operatives is to Scout and recruit potential recruits for political office. They select folks like themselves – it’s human nature and its easier. That’s why Santorum and Romney are so very similar. Palin, however, like Cain and the TEA Partiers were not scouted, not recruited, and present an existential threat to that incestuous circle of an operative’s employment.

    These operatives/aides/lobbyists truly suck. And that’s a charitable characterization. They don’t help their candidates win – it’s up to the candidate to be uber charismatic (or filthy stinkin’ rich), or for the Democrat to f*ck up and lose.

    Podhoretz could have save ink by just writing “Murkowski.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7E7OB7BMLOMJ6VHFDA7GITJXQY DaveO

    Agree – never give the MSM an edge unless it’s the razor’s edge.

  • Kranky One

    Not quite.  Palin was the only real reason to be excited by McCain.  Obama was an unknown, with the tidbits being leaked out about him more unnerving by the day.  

    McCain was a disaster.  Palin was the reason why he had a chance.  His campaign suspension?  Kind of stupid.  His aides who despised Palin?  They should be employable in any progressive democratic campaign going forward.  Unemployable on the right.

    When McCain skipped Michigan, we were heartened to hear that Palin wanted to bring the fight here.  That was the right thing to do.  McCain said no.  

    Start out with nominating someone with a fighting chance to win, and then hand them a barracuda like Palin.  Don’t start out with 3 day old dead fish which is stinking badly, and then tie them to someone like Palin.

    McCain lost because he is McCain.  Palin almost … almost … saved him.

  • Kranky One

    Yeah, Palin was treated unfairly by our team as well as the opposing team and MSM (but I repeat myself).  

    Those who think she is an idiot are either unaware of her writings, or unable to bring themselves to admit that she actually is quite intelligent.  Read some of what *she* wrote (not speech writers for Zero).  Read enough of it and you realize that a very good candidate was very badly maligned.  And whats worse is that she continues to be maligned by some, ostensibly in her own party.

    I’d strongly recommend those who wronged Governor Palin by making unjustified claims as to her mental abilities, do themselves a mitzvah by apologizing to her.  Publicly or privately.  It doesn’t matter.  

    For those with an incurable case of Palin Derangement Syndrome, there’s a pretty good chance that if she doesn’t drive out many of the old guard via her Tea Party efforts, that she will bolt the party, help build a national Tea Party, and bring the *majority* of GOPers with her.  Leaving the GOP establishment core to the whiny pricks that stabbed her (and the rest of us) in the back.  

    So, control your urge to vent your bile on her.  The reaction to such stupidity, and the penalty paid by the stupid is probably going to be pretty high.  Lets not make it any worse than it needs to be.  

  • A Guy From Lithia Springs

    As I said,  the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” debate among the right about 2008 will go on forever.   But my point remains incontrovertible.   Palin was a terrible fit for McCain and his team.   Whatever she did or didn’t add to the ticket–bottom line is they still lost badly.  The lesson to be learned from the Palin fiasco is that you can’t wait that late in the game to vet prospective VP candidates, especially ones as obscure as Palin. 

  • http://rightnetwork.com Jack Reno

     Wallace and  Schmidt need to spend less time working for and sucking up to liberals and more time sucking on revving chainsaws.

  • Garym

    Keep on whistling past that graveyard.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I’ve noticed I’m getting a bit of Google search traffic on a post I wrote in October …

    My top hit-getting post today is from that same day in October:  Nicolle Wallace Is A Backstabbing Bitch.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I was involved in state and local politics up until the mid-1990’s and I got the feeling that some people were Republicans only because they like the image associated with being one versus the blue double-breasted jacketed Democrats.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Well put.

    The only reason many of us voted for McCain [and not for, say, Bob Barr] was because of her.

  • Garym

    I was ready to protest vote until they picked Palin.

  • K-Bob

    I am. It’s called “crowdsourcing.”

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    That Wallace post of mine out did Rule 5 Saturday by two to one in hits!  That never happens on a Sunday.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    Also, we had higher quality booze and food.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    It’s not surprising at all if you realize what motivates them above all: fear of Sarah Palin as a political and cultural force.

  • http://thecampofthesaints.org Bob Belvedere

    I hereby offer my services, free of charge, to hold one of them chainsaws.

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