BLAMING KRISTOL FOR PALIN…. There’s been quite a bit of animosity of late between the McCain campaign and Bill Kristol. This wasn’t at all expected, given that Kristol has been a McCain cheerleader for years.
But the two aren’t getting along well this week at all. Kristol wrote a column urging McCain to “fire his campaign” and “start over.” A campaign spokesperson responded that Kristol had “bought into the Obama campaign’s party line.” Kristol fired back that the McCain campaign is composed of “a bunch of nice young kids” who are “out there spinning implausibly.” The campaign responded once more, saying, “[I]t’s a good thing Bill Kristol has never run a political campaign because he’d probably have to fire himself at least two or three times.”
The ongoing animosity may have something to do with the McCain campaign blaming Kristol for one its biggest problems — picking Sarah Palin was his idea. Harper’s Scott Horton told Glenn Greenwald that McCain aides see Palin as a “total disaster,” and see Kristol as culpable.
“We’ve got a lot of finger-pointing going on within the camp, and I’d say there’s a pretty broad agreement amongst a number of the senior-most advisors to McCain that the Palin pick is worse than disappointing. It’s a total disaster, as one describes to me. And there is a sort of blame game going on there. […]
“I would say the anger and irritation between a number of the senior people in the McCain camp and Bill Kristol is become really acute…. They view this man as the guy who gave them this albatross, Sarah Palin. I think there’s a lot of real anger about it. There’s also recognition that it’s too late to do anything.”
I’m the last guy who would defend Kristol, and the campaign aides are certainly right to perceive Palin as humiliating, but this isn’t Kristol’s fault. Sure, he recommended Palin and vouched for her, but the McCain campaign thought it was wise to listen to Bill Kristol.
They’ve made that mistake quite a few times, changing campaign strategy to match Kristol’s advice. It’s failed every time.
Who’s worse, the fool or the fools who listened to him?