THE INTRA-PARTY PIE FIGHT CONTINUES…. ABC News’ Jake Tapper had a very interesting piece late yesterday, noting the subtle efforts Sarah Palin has made to distance herself from the McCain campaign and its strategic decisions. Tapper noted, “[S]ome Republicans are starting to now say they should have seen this coming, since Palin has a reputation for making friends who can help her and then screwing them over.”

The ABC report noted several examples, including mentors Palin ultimately challenged when she wanted to advance her career. Tapper concluded:

[A]ll I can tell you is that some McCain allies are now quite suspect of Palin and worried that Sen. McCain is going to become just the latest Palin ally whom she uses — and then discards — in her rapid ascendance to power.

I’m really curious — how did Tapper come upon this angle? I don’t mean that as a slight; Tapper has done some solid work during the campaign. But he had a lengthy list of Alaskan politicians Palin has “screwed over” for professional gain, and cited “some Republicans” who believe Palin has established a pattern of using and discarding allies when it suits her purposes. It reads a bit like an oppo piece put together by the McCain campaign.

If this is poised to become a common sentiment in Republican circles, it represents an aggressive new line of intra-party attack. Up until now, the whispers from GOP insiders have focused on Palin being incompetent, inexperienced, and unqualified. Republicans, though, generally don’t care about competence, experience, and qualifications.

But if insiders are dishing to Tapper and others about Palin’s habit of “screwing over” Republican allies to advance her career, that’s more damaging, isn’t it?

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. 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.