THE ‘BLOODBATH’ IS BOUND TO GET UGLY…. About a week ago, Jim Nuzzo, a White House aide to the first President Bush, took issue with Sarah Palin critics in the Republican Party, calling them “cocktail party conservatives” who “give aid and comfort to the enemy.” He predicted that, after the election, there would be a “bloodbath.” Nuzzo explained, “A lot of people are going to be excommunicated. David Brooks and David Frum and Peggy Noonan are dead people in the Republican Party. The litmus test will be: where did you stand on Palin?”

We talked earlier about McCain aides trashing Palin, leaking word about the governor’s apparent ignorance and emotional instability. With that in mind, it appears the “bloodbath” is already getting underway. Here’s an item from RedState’s Erick Erickson, published last night.

RedState is pleased to announce it is engaging in a special project: Operation Leper.

We’re tracking down all the people from the McCain campaign now whispering smears against Governor Palin to Carl Cameron and others. Michelle Malkin has the details.

We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them. Naturally then, you’ll see us go to war against those candidates.

Erickson added, in an all-bold font, “It is our expressed intention to make these few people political lepers.” The list now has three names, all of whom have been top McCain aides who also worked in the Bush White House: Nicolle Wallace, Steve Schmidt, and Mark McKinnon. (Erickson’s “leper” list misspells Wallace’s name.)

When Jim Nuzzo first brought up the looming “bloodbath,” Yglesias raised a good point: “I’m actually one who thinks that the occasional ideological purge can strengthen a movement, but this would be a seriously odd basis for conducting such a cleansing exercise. Nuzzo is talking about a blind test of loyalty, not any kind of substantive demarcation of conservatism.”

“Operation Leper” seems to fall into the same category.

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.