The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Watch Your Back

Don’t get me wrong. I’m voting for Barack Obama, but as a human being I can’t see someone in danger and not warn them. And, I’m not talking about Obama, even though everyone has probably at some point wondered and worried about “what if.” (And the first and second foils assasination attempts don’t help calm anyone’s nerves.

I’m talking about John McCain. And I feel the need to warn him, because I can’t see someone in danger and not warn them. And I think John McCain is in danger based on the latest quotes from Sarah Palin about 2012.

ELIZABETH VARGAS: If it doesn’t go your way on Tuesday … 2012?

GOV SARAH PALIN: I’m just … thinkin’ that it’s gonna go our way on Tuesday, November 4. I truly believe that the wisdom of … of the people will be revealed on that day. As they enter that voting booth, they will understand the stark contrast between the two tickets. …

VARGAS: But the point being that you haven’t been so bruised by some of the double standard, the sexism on the campaign trail, to say, “I’ve had it. I’m going back to Alaska.”

PALIN: Absolutely not. I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we’ve taken, that … that would … bring this whole … I’m not doin’ this for naught.

The only thing more stunning more stunning than this is the reaction of a McCain campaign aide upon hearing of the above.

Dana Bash: I just got off of the phone, Wolf, with a senior McCain adviser and I read this person the quote and I think it is fair to say that this person was speechless. There was a long pause and I just heard a “huh” on the other end of the phone. This is certainly not a surprise to anybody who has watched Sarah Palin that she is interested in potentially future national runs, and she is being urged to by a lot of people inside of the Republican Party if they do lose, but it is an “if” and people inside of the McCain campaign do not want any discussion that has an “if” in front of it six days before the election, they don’t want any discussion at all, any kind of hypothetical talk about running for the next time around. So certainly, this is not at least initially being received well inside of the McCain campaign.

Wolf Blitzer: I am not surprised, not surprised at all. It is one of those “wow, she is talking about 2012 if we lose,” that is not supposed to be something that you say. You are supposed to say, “well, I’m not looking ahead, I’m not looking ahead only to Tuesday,” and those are the talking points she’s supposed to be saying, but she is obviously blunt and she is looking ahead if something were to happen on Tuesday that she wouldn’t be happy with.

John, I know that there are Republicans who’ve already scheduled a post-mortem, probably after hearing that you’re opponent is very close to outpolling you in your own state, and fearing a long sojourn in the wilderness. But John, you need to know that the buzzard is no longer circling overhead. The buzzard is in the house, sitting at the table, waiting patiently. Outside, the rest of the flock is cheering on their champion. (Who, by the way, is not you.)

That’s where the warning comes in; rest of the flock. These are not folks to be taken lightly, and they plan on running things if you should lose, and may even if you (*shudder*) win. And they plan on wrenching the party even further to the right.

South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson insisted this is necessary, arguing that “moderating our party is what caused us to lose power” in 2006.

This is not an uncommon sentiment among leaders of the Republican base — they seriously believe voters would be far more likely to support the GOP if party leaders were more right-wing. What’s more, if things don’t go well for the party seven days from now, these activists will push this line very aggressively as the party starts to put the pieces back together, whether it makes sense or not.

Kevin recently predicted that the Republican Party is “going to be riven by factional warfare for years, with moderates unable to get a purchase on the party apparatus because of the McCain albatross hanging around their necks. Eventually, like Britain’s Labor Party in the 80s, they’ll find their Tony Blair, but in the meantime they’re likely to double down on the most strident possible social conservatism, convinced that the heartland will respond if only they regain the true faith.”

How that wil work out, I can only guess, but these people are serious. These are the same people who were praying for your early demise after winning the election, following the Palin pick. Need I explain why?

So, on the outside chance you win the election, my advice to you (which I sincerely hope you never need) is to watch your back. Don’t trust your vice president any further than you can throw her. I mean this. If you’re walking down a staircase together, let her go first. If you’re dining together, don’t eat until until she does, and … in fact, just skip eating. Oh, and travel together as much a possible, on the same plane.

For your sake, I hope you don’t have to worry about it, because if you do become president, well, you’re gonna have to watch your back when it comes to some of the people in your own party, and perhaps even in your own administration.


  1. It is clear to me since the days of the Republican convention, when everyone was focused on Palin and finding out her political background, that this woman has a lot of ambition and the need for power (political or otherwise). From the way she runs her office in Alaska, of surrounding herself with people she trusts, who will keep a vow of secrecy and stonewalling — it’s scary to think who a Palin administration would be like — it’ll be like the second coming of GWB administration of abusing executive powers and act without regard to the U.S. constitution and balance of power.

    It is apparent that she is clearly not ready for the national stage, but she will no doubt use her experience in this campaign as a stepping stone for additional “opportunities” on the national stage in the future.

  2. Two thoughts:

    First, I don’t read Palin’s comment the way that Wolf Blitzer and others seem to be. I hear her insisting that she’s focused on this election, and that she still believes her ticket can win. When pressed, she says that if things don’t go their way, she’s not going to be discouraged and give up on national politics. Finally, she adds that win or lose, she believes this fight isn’t for nothing. I don’t believe that adds up to talking about her own political future, except in the most harmless terms.

    Second, I don’t see the national Republican Party moving strongly to the right in the next four years. (That’s different than McCain being able to turn his back on Palin, which fortunately won’t be a problem when he loses and loses his political relevance.)

    Win or lose (almost certainly lose), there will be much soul-searching among Republicans, and the forces that urge more focus on the social-conservative wing of the party will be laughed out of the room. The lesson for Republicans from this election will have to be that they’re losing moderate voters, and conservative appeals to social issues and national security didn’t work. I think even the social conservatives will see the merits in this analysis, even if they don’t like toning down their approach. Otherwise, we’ll see decades of Democratic leadership and Republican irrelevance in this country.