TRASHING PALIN…. The McCain campaign was obviously a failure, but it now seems clear that McCain’s aides want to bring Sarah Palin down with them.

Fox News’ Carl Cameron reported yesterday that the McCain campaign struggled with Palin’s apparent stupidity, which included not knowing that Africa is a continent, not knowing which countries are in NAFTA, and refusing preparation before major media interviews. Cameron added that Palin was “hard to control emotionally,” and was prone to “temper tantrums.”

All of this comes a day after McCain aides dished to Newsweek about Palin’s ridiculous shopping sprees — which were even worse and more lavish than previously reported — described by one aide as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast.”

Also this morning, the New York Times reports on the “difficult relationship” between Palin and McCain, and the fact that the two barely spoke during the campaign. The piece emphasized the fact that McCain aides believed Palin “harbored political ambitions beyond 2008,” and was using the campaign as a platform. It noted that as late as Tuesday night, Palin was pushing to give her own speech before McCain’s concession speech. Mark Salter and Steve Schmidt refused.

It’s hard not to watch this trainwreck play out — in fact, I suspect it’ll get worse — but to reemphasize a point from a week ago, there’s a limit to how much McCain’s team can blame Palin. No matter how successful they are in trashing Palin, it’s still McCain who ends up holding the bag — he picked the “whack job” to be one 72-year-old heartbeat from the presidency, without any serious vetting. Even if all of the dirt we’re hearing now is true, and I suspect it is, it doesn’t explain why McCain thought it was wise to put someone some obviously unqualified on the ticket.

To blame Palin is to blame McCain. If the campaign was her fault, then the campaign was his fault.

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.