Palin and Stevens

PALIN AND STEVENS…. On Friday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told CNN, “Gov. Palin took on Ted Stevens. If she can take him on, she can take on the Russians. Heh.” He liked the line so much, Graham repeated it on ABC News yesterday, saying, “If you can take on Ted Stevens and that crowd in Alaska, you can handle the Russians.”

On its face, it’s an unusually inane thing to say. Unless Ted Stevens is a nuclear power with autocratic tendencies, the analogy is rather a childish one for a United States senator to make on national television.

But more to the point, Graham’s just wrong. Palin didn’t “take on” the allegedly corrupt Alaskan senator; she allied herself with him throughout her brief political career. That includes, we learned today, Palin’s work on Stevens’ 527 group.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin began building clout in her state’s political circles in part by serving as a director of an independent political group organized by the now embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.

In the grand scheme of things, this is probably not the most serious of revelations. It’s interesting, I suppose, to connect Palin to one of the more scandal-plagued lawmakers in Washington, but most Americans probably don’t even know who Ted Stevens is.

More importantly, though, doesn’t it seem as if the McCain campaign’s talking points on Palin need a complete overhaul?

The McCain campaign said Palin opposed the infamous “bridge to nowhere.” That’s false. The campaign said Palin supported the Bush “surge” policy. That’s false. The campaign said Palin is the “commander in chief” of the Alaska National Guard. That’s misleading. The campaign said Palin is qualified on foreign policy because she lives in a state near Russia. That’s dumb.

And the campaign boasted about Palin “taking on” Stevens, and that’s wrong. Did the person who wrote the talking points have any idea who Sarah Palin is?

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.