Crooks and Liars:
We need look no further than the 2008 nomination of Sarah Palin for vice president to understand when the Republican Party left the rails.
Seven years on -- following two crushing defeats in presidential elections and the likelihood of a third in November -- the destruction that the former half-term governor of Alaska has wrought is immense. And continues to grow. In a much-quoted Washington Post op-ed piece, former Obama chief of staff Bill Daley wrote that Palin set "a new standard" for the Republican Party that has gifted us Carson and Trump, among other buffoons:
"Once John McCain put Sarah Palin on the ticket, Republican 'grown-ups,' who presumably knew better, had to bite their tongues. But after the election, when they were free to speak their minds, they either remained quiet or abetted the dumbing-down of the party. They stood by as Donald Trump and others noisily pushed claims that Obama was born in Kenya. And they gladly rode the Tea Party tiger to sweeping victories in 2010 and 2014. . . .
"It's hard to feel much sympathy. The Republican establishment's 2008 embrace of Palin set an irresponsibly low bar. Coincidence or not, a batch of nonsense-spewing, hard-right candidates quickly followed, often to disastrous effect."
Daley may seem to be belaboring the obvious, but the deeply toxic effect that this narcissistic, power abusing kook and liar (who now threatens to take on Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski out of sheer spite) has had on the GOP still is not fully appreciated, and only barely so by historians as well as Republicans who mourn the destruction of the GOP Big Tent and the party's descent into pooch screwing.
Nor is McCain's decision to invite Palin to join the ticket after spending less than two hours with her (his man in charge of vetting veep nominees never even met her face to face) properly understood to be the most irresponsible decision in the history of presidential campaigns.
Palin is not the only reason for the Republican Party's dysfunction, but her toxic lip lock is evident in the hapless 2016 presidential campaign.
As I am sure all of you know this is the song that I have been singing for years.
THIS is why I continue to cover Sarah Palin, And THIS is why what is happening to her today, helps to explain what will happen to the Republican party tomorrow.
I still maintain that without a Sarah Palin we would not now see a Ted Cruz, or Ben Carson, or Donald Trump, on the national stage.
She blazed the trail that they are navigating on today, and helped to identify the lunatic fringe that would support them if they tapped into the magical unhinged rhetoric which triggers their paranoia.
Way back in 2009 when Palin up and quit her job I attended a rather festive gathering of Alaska bloggers, where the high fives were many, and the jubilation was contagious.
However when most of them were talking about never having to write about the Wasilla Wendigo ever again, I was the lone voice saying that her story was not yet finished and that she would continue to have a destructive impact in the years to come. And that it was our duty to cover her until the bitter end.
I was right, and by staying on top of the story from the dizzying heights of her first book tour and almost constant media presence, to the inevitable crash that many of us predicted as far back as 2010, she has remained my barometer for determining where the Republican party itself was headed as well.
So today virtually EVERY GOP presidential candidate has a book they are hawking, and many of them seem far more concerned about building up their brand for speaking tours and consulting jobs, than they seem to care about winning the nomination.
In fact a few, like Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina, seem as if they were to actually get close to winning the damn thing that they would quickly sabotage their chances in order to take the pressure off.
Sarah Palin NEVER wanted to work in politics again, but she knew that there was big money in making people believe that she might.
Sarah Palin, as far as I can tell, was never REALLY part of the Republican party. But she knew that the party had piles of cash, and gullible supporters.
So she shook her money maker in their faces, twirled the tassels on her pasties to the beat of the music, and leaned back as fistfuls of money were shoved into her g-string.
Donald Trump may not have Palin's once upon a time good looks to seduce the conservatives into supporting him, but he certainly knows how to put on a show and to hit the notes that reverberate within their gullible little hearts. And apparently in this election cycle that is enough.
But in the end Trump might end up accomplishing what Sarah Palin started back in 2008, and has nurtured and promoted ever since, the destruction of the Republican party as we know it.