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Always Lose: that was the title of the diary I drafted here (and never published) but posted on both Motley Moose and MYDDon September 1st when, soon after Governor Palin's nomination, I argued that we were hamstringing ourselves liberally in Gordian knots with fears about attacking the newly nominated Republican Vice Presidential nominee. The diary opened like this...

Frankly, I'm amazed. Having heard for so many months that the Obama campaign doesn't fight back against republicans, and having countered endless ad hominems about Rezko, Michelle, Ayers, Elitism, and Columns, I'm now being admonished by liberals throughout the blogosphere not to pick on McCain's VP choice, and the contradictions in her family morality

Fine then. Hamstring yourselves. The republicans use Palin's family values politically, as a key part of her appeal to an evangelical anti-contraception base. If those same advertised family values prove to be illusory and wrong, let's ignore that  because we're better than that...

Come on. We all know this argument sucks...

Six weeks later, I look back at my unpublished draft here, and I saw I underestimated Palin:

Sarah Palin deserves a pass perhaps. Her daughter even more so. But John McCain and the republicans don't. That they used this woman and her daughter in their cynical manipulation of identity politics needs endless refutation and rememberance, requires constant putting about.

Let's be clear about this. In an act of egregious cynicism and recklessness, John McCain announced Sarah Palin as his VP, without proper vetting, and merely in response to the perceived identity politics dissensions in the democratic party.

Thanks to the majority of you in the liberal blogosphere, we weren't suckered by the cynical use of the feminist card by the Republicans. We've exposed Palin's lies, her abuse of power and privilege, her misuse of state resources for personal gain, her alliance with right wing secessionists, absurd creationists and End Time seeking pastors who think Alaska is a Refuge State.

But now, thanks to a Times of London piece I realise that more is at stake than just the next election: the future of civil society in the US. It's worth reading the whole article, but here's the nub

Palin, 44, has led the character attacks on Obama in the belief that McCain may be throwing away the election and her chance of becoming vice-president. Her supporters think that if the Republican ticket loses on November 4, she should run for president in 2012.
A leading Republican consultant said: "A lot of conservatives are grumbling about what a poor job McCain is doing. They are rolling their eyes and saying, 'Yes, a miracle could happen, but at this rate it is all over'.

"Sarah Palin is no fool. She sees the same thing and wants to salvage what she can. She is positioning herself for the future. Her best days could be in front of her. She wants to look as though she was the fighter, the person with the spunk who was out there taking it to the Democrats."

So let's get this clear. This is not about November. This is about the next decade. Palin is pissed off at McCain for not being more negative and really thinks she's destined to be the next Republican President.

What we're witnessing is a coup in the Republican Party, and McCain has no control of his base. In fact, Palin has a longer term agenda.

Palin’s frustration with McCain has led to clashes over strategy. When she learnt he was pulling resources from Michigan, an industrial swing state leaning heavily in Obama’s favour, she fired off an e-mail saying, “Oh come on, do we have to?” and offered to travel there with her husband Todd, four-times winner of the 2,000-mile Iron Dog snow-mobile race.

She also told Bill Kristol, the conservative New York Times columnist, that she wished the campaign would make more of Obama’s 20-year association with the Rev Jeremiah Wright, his controversial former pastor, who said, “God damn America”.

“To me, that does say something about character,” Palin said. “But you know, I guess that would be a John McCain call on whether he wants to bring it up.”

It's clear here what is going on. Palin and her backers believe they will lose this election, but win the Republican Party. Here on the liberal blogosphere, the concept of the GOP becoming a rump right wing Christianist party is probably not that unattractive.

But democracy needs dialogue, and a Democratic President and Congress needs a functioning opposition to keep it honest.

For the sake of the US, for the sake of the Republicans as much as the Democrats, Palin needs to be discredited, exposed and negated for good.  

Originally posted to Brit on Sun Oct 12, 2008 at 02:24 PM PDT.

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