Gross itchy scabs Mark Halperin and John Heileman want to sell books by setting up Steve Schmidt and Sarah Palin in a cage match, argues Wonkette founding editor and Gawker Media alumna Ana Marie Cox on her Air America Radio blog.
You know when you were a kid, sometimes you'd get a scab on your knee and — even though it hurt — you couldn't help but sloooowly peel the scab back, just to gawk at how your skin could suddenly become reptilian, covering something softer, grosser, and more mysterious?
Well, Washington has a scab. Game Change is the horrible oozing infection that comes after you pick at it.
Today, the authors of the book show that they're not afraid to milk it for all its worth. In a column on Time.com, John Heiemann and Mark Halperin spend several paragraphs wonder why more people aren't responding to their best-selling (ugh), omnipresent (guilty!) book. Thanks to them, we just spent an entire news cycle hashing out the precise semiotics of "Negro," and boy, did that move race relations forward, but H/H (as DC has dubbed the team) DEMAND SOME MORE HOOPLA. Specifically, they wonder why former McCain staffer Steve Schmidt and Sarah Palin aren't retaliating all over each other. Because I guess that would be newsworthy, I guess? But they aren't and so we are treated to a column about how they aren't. WHAT COULD IT MEAN?
With the publication of our book Game Change and the appearance of [Steve] Schmidt on '60 Minutes,' ... much of the truth about Palin has begun to emerge. The questions are how she might respond and what effect the turn of events will have on her future.
Actually, "how she might respond" used to be pretty easy to predict: on Facebook. Now, who knows, she might tell Bill O'Reilly (she's on tonight) that she won't respond to "facts" because that would be just some "conventional, traditional debate," unlike, say, birtherism, which "the public rightfully is still making...an issue." She could stop the interview halfway through! She also might ask if there's a talent portion. Good lord, the woman could do anything. She's CRAZYPANTS.
Which brings me to my next point: The only reason H/H (that IS easier! Thanks, DC!) care about what she says is... well, I honestly have no idea. A combination of inexplicable actions and incoherent statements have conspired to bring her further and further down in 2012 polls. What's more, almost every action she's taken since Nov. 4 of 2008 seems designed to move her further and further away from credible candidacy for elective office. To pick just a few examples off a long and hilarious list: She picked a fight with a 19-year-old. She quit the only elected office that could conceivably even partially prepare her for national office. She has capriciously accepted and reneged (and barged in on!) on speaking engagements. And she has made not one lick of sense. Actually, not responding to (mostly true, mostly already out there) allegations in Game Change is the most responsible thing Palin's done since she started flossing.
As for Steve Schmidt and whether or not he will engage in whatever Mexican Wrestling Death Match for a Tiny Slice of Whatever Passes for the Soul of the Republican Party? Full disclosure: I like Steve a lot. But in the past year he has done something that makes him, as political consultant, pretty much irrelevant to a discussion of presidential politics: He turned on Sarah Palin, the candidate he was advising.* He may have done it for good reasons, but the fact remains: No candidate — or person that hires staff for candidates — can ever fully trust him again. I think he took himself out of that game by choice. But now he just isn't part of the story any more. Hoping that she'll attack him so that he'll re-attack her for the sheer joy of watching the ugliness is to go with another squeamish metaphor: It's like pulling Bluto's human zit routine to start a food fight.
* UPDATE: Some correspondents have pointed out that when someone lies about you, correcting the record is not exactly the same as "turning on" that person. True. To the extent Steve WANTS work on a presidential campaign again, it'll have to be for a Republican candidate that can make that distinction. I really hope he or she exists, not for Steve's sake, but for ours.