During the McCain campaign, Roveian media strategist Steve Schmidt proved that he was a shitty Roveian media strategist. He was also responsible for the Palin pick. But he quickly grew to regret that.
In the end, Schmidt, architect of the McCain campaign's wildly shifting meta-narratives and stunts, was smart enough to realize that his hail-mary VP stunt had backfired, terribly. And so his relationship with Palin, a paranoid narcissist, suffered. CBS's Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe are writing a book about Palin, and they are releasing some of its wonderful anecdotes to us, the public, in advance.
So. Remember when it was revealed that Todd Palin was a member of the secessionist Alaska Independence Party? The publication of that actual fact annoyed Sarah Palin greatly!
Palin blasted out an e-mail with the subject line "Todd" to Schmidt, campaign manager Rick Davis and senior advisor Nicolle Wallace, copying her husband on the message (all of the e-mails are reprinted below as written).
"Pls get in front of that ridiculous issue that's cropped up all day today - two reporters, a protestor's sign, and many shout-outs all claiming Todd's involvement in an anti-American political party," Palin wrote. "It's bull, and I don't want to have to keep reacting to it ... Pls have statement given on this so it's put to bed."
Her reference to a single protestor's sign and "many shout-outs" was indicative of Palin's occasional tendency to take anecdotal evidence of a minor problem and extrapolate it into something far more menacing.
Schmidt hit "reply to all" less than five minutes after Palin's e-mail was sent. "Ignore it," he wrote. "He was a member of the aip? My understanding is yes. That is part of their platform. Do not engage the protestors. If a reporter asks say it is ridiculous. Todd loves america."
That simple and smart response did not work for Sarah, who responded by "adding five more names to the 'cc' box, all of whom traveled on her campaign plane."
"That's not part of their platform and he was only a 'member' bc independent alaskans too often check that 'Alaska Independent' box on voter registrations thinking it just means non partisan," Palin wrote. "He caught his error when changing our address and checked the right box. I still want it fixed."
Haha that is just a straight-up complete fucking lie. This woman! She is pathological! She is not even responding to a question from a reporter, she is straight-up lying to her own campaign strategist, in a really obvious and stupid way. This is not the way normal people behave. This is the way bad children behave when they are caught being bad.
So Schmidt replied-all, again:
"Secession," he wrote. "It is their entire reason for existence. A cursory examination of the website shows that the party exists for the purpose of seceding from the union. That is the stated goal on the front page of the web site. Our records indicate that todd was a member for seven years. If this is incorrect then we need to understand the discrepancy. The statement you are suggesting be released would be innaccurate. The innaccuracy would bring greater media attention to this matter and be a distraction. According to your staff there have been no media inquiries into this and you received no questions about it during your interviews. If you are asked about it you should smile and say many alaskans who love their country join the party because it speeks to a tradition of political independence. Todd loves his country
We will not put out a statement and inflame this and create a situation where john has to adress this."
So yeah, one can see how working with Sarah Palin might be difficult. Neither that nor the admirable straighforwardness of these emails absolves Schmidt of his responsibility for the campaign's miserable failure, though.