"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!" - Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) -

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Knives Come Out To Fillet Barracuda Palin And To Begin The Alley Fight In The Republican Party Blood Letting


 The GOP Civil War Begins
By Jason Linkins, Huffington Post
The morning after the election has brought an opening salvo in what could become a contentious battle of recriminations for the GOP. Read more



Knives out for Palin: McCain aides tell tales of diva

WASHINGTON  -- Sarah Palin wasn't aware that Africa was a continent and she and her brood behaved like a band of "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast," aides to Republican John McCain are telling prominent news organizations.


Less than 24 hours after McCain lost the presidential election to Democrat Barack Obama, those close to him apparently wasted no time burning up the phone lines to dish the dirt on Palin, the Alaska governor who portrayed herself as a sensible hockey Mom when she was chosen the Arizona senator's running mate in late August.


If the anonymous McCain insiders are to be believed, Palin, a 44-year-old mother of five, was unaware that Africa was a continent, arguing that South Africa was simply a region of the larger country of Africa.


She also didn't know the three countries that are in the North American Free Trade Agreement, namely Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.


A call last week by a Quebec radio prankster pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly became a fiery source of tension between the already feuding McCain and Palin camps. An aide to the Alaska governor, Steve Biegun, OK'd the call without discussing it with McCain's people or the U.S. State Department.


The Los Angeles Times reported that an outraged Steve Schmidt, McCain's top strategist, organized a conference call after the prank -- which revealed Palin to be ill-informed and naive -- made international headlines and brought further ridicule to the campaign.

He demanded to know who had arranged the Sarkozy call and questioned why anyone would have agreed to such an unusual request without clearing it with top staff.


Biegun immediately took responsibility.


"I was fooled," he told the L.A. Times in a report published Thursday. "No one's going to beat me up more than I beat myself up for setting up the governor like that."


The leaked stories about Palin's alleged antics throughout the campaign are appearing in publications that include Newsweek magazine and the New York Times just as Republicans gather Thursday in Virginia to discuss the future of the party.


Many in the party's ultra-conservative wing are enthralled by Palin and her socially conservative views, and hope to make her a presidential candidate in 2012.


"I'm not doing this for naught," Palin said recently when asked about her aspirations.


Yet soon after she was chosen McCain's running mate with very little vetting, his campaign insiders say they became queasy with the growing knowledge that Palin was desperately unqualified and ill-prepared to be a heartbeat away from the presidency.


They attempted to bring her up to speed on the issues of the day, but she refused any efforts to prepare her for a string of disastrous interviews with CBS's Katie Couric that proved extremely damaging to the McCain campaign.


The McCain insiders have told various news organizations that Palin nonetheless threw angry temper tantrums over their mishandling of her when the Couric interviews went badly.


The most salacious of the stories leaked -- with many more supposedly still to come in the days to follow -- involve Palin's infamous US$150,000 spending spree at some of the most expensive stores in the United States.


Despite her self-styled image as a down-home working mother opposed to big government spending, the aides told Newsweek she behaved like anything but: she spent tens of thousands of dollars more than the US$150,000 originally reported on clothing, accessories and luggage for herself and her family.


One senior aide told the magazine that she was told to buy three suits for the Republican National Convention and hire a stylist, but instead, the vice-presidential nominee began amassing costly goods from stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.


At one point during the campaign, Palin's youngest daughter, seven-year-old Piper, was photographed carrying a US$790 Louis Vuitton bag.


Two sources told Newsweek the goods were bought by a wealthy donor, who was flabbergasted when he saw the bills. Palin also allegedly instructed low-level staffers to buy her new clothes with their credit cards, something the McCain campaign only discovered last week when the aides tried to get reimbursed.


Palin aides had a different version of events, with several telling the Los Angeles Times that she was outraged by the amount of money being spent on her clothing, adding she was naive about what the clothes cost.


"The very first day of shopping, there was a $14,000 price tag and . . . she was absolutely shocked," one of the Palin insiders said.


Another told Newsweek: "Gov. Palin was not directing staffers to put anything on their personal credit cards, and anything that staffers put on their credit cards has been reimbursed, like an expense."


On Wednesday in Phoenix, Palin said: "There is absolutely no diva in me."


Nonetheless, a Republican party lawyer is reportedly heading to Alaska to inventory and retrieve the clothes still in Palin's possession.


The tensions between the two camps reportedly continued even into election night, when Palin met up with McCain at the Biltmore hotel in Phoenix with a concession speech in hand that she wanted to deliver before he took to the podium to address his crestfallen supporters.


Much to her chagrin, she was told by senior McCain aides that such a speech would be inappropriate since vice-presidential nominees do not traditionally speak on election night.


The relationship between Palin and McCain, in fact, had deteriorated in the final days of the campaign to the point that they were seldom talking.


"I think it was a difficult relationship," one top McCain campaign official told the New York Times. "McCain talked to her occasionally."


On Wednesday, Palin disputed suggestions she contributed to McCain's loss, but said she was apologetic if she had.


"I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit that I would trump an economic time in this nation that occurred about two months ago," she told CNN. "If I cost John McCain even one vote, I am sorry about that because John McCain, I believe, is the American hero."






If Palin were to ‘go rogue’ it might mean less money on wardrobe, but more on special effects...

The blame game has started, more than a week to go.


According to a report out today on Politico, Sarah Palin has gone from party saviour to party scapegoat for the Republicans - or at least those most intimately connected with forming and running the McCain campaign.  Polls are showing Palin is now a liability for John McCain among a growing portion of the US electorate and with political obits already starting to appear, there is no shortage of finger pointing going on.  And now, according to the Politico report, Palin herself has “lost the confidence” of campaign advisers and is “off the reservation”.  One source said she wants to ”go rogue” - speaking off the cuff, ignoring advice and generally blazing her own trail.


At least two highly placed people inside the campaign are said to be well advanced in putting some distance between themselves and Palin when the knives come out:


These people are going to try and shred her after the campaign to divert blame from themselves


A later Politico report had McCain insiders branding her a diva.  It said the recriminations were well under way between rival factions in the campaign and bosses at party HQ, quoting an ex-McCain strategist:


The cake is baked.  We’re entering the finger-pointing and positioning-for-history part of the campaign. It’s every man for himself now.


The refusal to open her up to the media, the hefty wardrobe bill, the “palling around with terrorists” line… all the blame looks to be laid at Palin’s feet - which neatly ignores the fact that ultimately it is McCain who must cop the blame if he loses, just as he would earn the credit if he still won (which is possible - an Ohio poll today has him still in the hunt there at least).  Ultimately, the only person whose opinion matters when setting a direction for a campaign is the main candidate.  McCain signed off on all of this and if that comes back to haunt him then he has only himself (and perhaps George W Bush and Barack Obama) to blame.


But that’s not to say everyone is turning against the White House race’s one-time “It” governor.  Her neighbors in Russia are still holding a torch for her, if this touching ballad of unrequited love is anything to go by:


Not Ready To Make Nice




Oh boy. I guess they've forgotten how all of these Republicans were crowing about a "mandate" after Bush's 2004 "win", despite the smallest margins for an incumbent president in nearly 100 years. Because rather than see Obama's victory as a call for a change to business as usual (including flipping some red states--hello North Carolina, Indiana and Florida!--and key Senate seats), the Republicans see the election results not as the time to reach across the aisle in the spirit of unity and bipartisanship, but to "gird their loins" and fight:


McCain Camp Shows Regret on Palin, Her Request to Speak at Concession 'Vetoed'
By Ryan Powers, Think Progress
Steve Schmidt can't say she was a good pick. Read more


Palin Spent More on Clothes than Reported, Didn't Talk with McCain Much
By Ali Frick, Think Progress
Apparently $150,000 was a low estimation. Read more


ANALYSIS: Democratic wins leave the Republicans adrift


Immigration: the 'Sleeping Giant' Sleeps no More


Voters Broadly Rejected Anti-Immigrant Candidates and Politics: Voters defeated leading anti-immigrant crusaders such as Marilyn Musgrave (CO-4), Thelma Drake (VA-02), Lou Barletta (running for Rep. Kanjorski's seat in PA-11), and possibly Virgil Goode (VA-5) (race too close to call at press time), and supported candidates with practical and common sense approaches for fixing our nation's broken immigration system like Dina Titus (taking Rep. Porter's seat in NV-3), Bill Foster (IL-14), Jim Himes (taking Rep. Shays' seat in CT-4), Rep. Giffords (AZ-8), and many others. In the Senate, new pro-reform senators include Mark Warner in VA, Jeanne Shaheen in NH, Mark Udall in CO, Kay Hagan in NC, and Tom Udall in NM.


According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America's Voice, "These results lead us to the following conclusions: 1) Republican hostility towards Latinos in general and Latino immigrants in particular is driving this fast growing group of new voters in the country into the hands of Democrats; 2) Candidates who define themselves as in favor of common sense immigration reform win their races; 3) If Republicans expect to emerge from the political wilderness, they will have to separate themselves from the anti-immigrant extremists that have hijacked most of the party; and 4) If Democrats expect to consolidate the support of these voters, they will have to deliver urgently needed policy changes - from economic opportunity to immigration reform - or risk having a growing group of voters swing back towards Republicans or become disillusioned with the Democratic Party. And these factors combined strongly suggest that neither party will want to go into the next presidential race with immigration reform unresolved."


Losses Prompt GOP Review of How Best to Repackage Its Agenda