If you're a fan of Sarah Palin, today's New York Times isn't the paper for you. It's got a front-page story--above the fold--which shows that Palin started royally failin' not long after she returned from the presidential campaign trail.
How bad did it get? Her fellow Republican governors tried to send help.
In late March, a senior official from the Republican Governors Association headed for Alaska on a secret mission. Sarah Palin was beset by such political and personal turmoil that some powerful supporters determined an intervention was needed to pull her governorship, and her national future, back from the brink.
The official, the association’s executive director, Nick Ayers, arrived with a memorandum containing firm counsel, according to several people who know its details: Make a long-term schedule and stick to it, have staff members set aside ample and inviolable family time to replenish your spirits, and build a coherent home-state agenda that creates jobs and ensures re-election.
But as you might expect from our favorite mavericky diva, Palin didn't listen--and instead kept proving why she was not even remotely ready for prime time.
It started when she came back to Alaska in January to be greeted by a raft of ethics complaints. While most of them were thrown out for want of merit, the NYT says that Palin became consumed by them--to the point her hair started thinning out, requiring an emergency visit to her hairdresser back in Wasilla.
The constant feuding over the ethics complaints and the David Letterman flap, among others, caused a lot of people who supported her to think she was losing focus. For instance, Republican state rep Nancy Dahlstrom, who worked for Palin's 2006 campaign, said that Palin seemed to think she was "all about adoration" rather than governing. Another state rep, John Coghill, thinks Palin misstepped by paying too much attention to the barbs being thrown at her.
The article also details some of Palin's missteps on the national stage. At one point, it seemed her left hand didn't know what her right hand was doing.
After the Conservative Political Action Conference, a meeting of the Republican Party’s evangelical base, announced that the governor would have a coveted speaking role at its annual gathering in February, she canceled, citing scheduling conflicts. Then, organizers of one of the most important Republican Congressional fund-raisers of the year said they had been assured by a political aide to Ms. Palin that she would be their headliner, only to have her Anchorage office announce that she knew nothing about it.
Those snafus particularly concerned one of her major backers, Fred Malek. He tried to tell Palin that she needed to get a better way to return calls. Palin's response? Wait for it--"What number are they calling?" No wonder John Coale, the Democratic lawyer who helped set up SarahPAC, thinks that there were times Palin didn't know what being on the national stage meant.
The NYT did manage to interview Palin for this story. It makes it sound like she was caught by surprise by all the heat she's faced lately. This seems to lend a bit of credence to Andrea Mitchell's report that she might be out of politics for good. For one thing, Palin said the seeds for her resignation were planted when she became McCain's running mate.
"It began when we started really looking at the conditions that had so drastically changed on Aug. 29," she said. "The hordes of opposition researchers came up here digging for dirt for political reasons, making crap up."
Hmmm--that couldn't be because McCain himself didn't even bother to vet you, could it?