A campaign divided against itself…

A CAMPAIGN DIVIDED AGAINST ITSELF…. The Lord of the Flies climate at McCain campaign headquarters continues, with a pro-Palin faction reportedly at odds with the loyal Bushies McCain brought in to run the operation.

Even as John McCain and Sarah Palin scramble to close the gap in the final days of the 2008 election, stirrings of a Palin insurgency are complicating the campaign’s already-tense internal dynamics.

Four Republicans close to Palin said she has decided increasingly to disregard the advice of the former Bush aides tasked to handle her, creating occasionally tense situations as she travels the country with them. Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.

“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

“I think she’d like to go more rogue,” he said.

According to the piece in the Politico, Palin’s people blame handlers for not letting her be herself. McCain’s people blame Palin for being unprepared and unable to answer questions coherently. Palin’s people don’t want the governor to get the blame if the ticket loses, and McCain’s people resent the lack of loyalty and discipline.

Putting aside which faction is right, watching both sides go at it with unattributed sniping through the media suggests the air at headquarters is getting increasingly toxic. That doesn’t necessarily mean McCain’s going to lose in 10 days — voters may not care that he’s the head of a dysfunctional operation, with staffers divided against themselves — but it is another hurdle to clear.

As for Palin blowing off the campaign’s advice, I have no idea whether that’s going to help, but it can’t get much worse — voters don’t like her, and even Republicans don’t welcome her as the party’s future.

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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.