Palin’s detractors in McCain campaign were warned of retribution
In a piece in Politico today, Jonathan Martin credits a Vanity Fair article on Sarah Palin as the impetus behind the sudden infighting between conservative William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, and John McCain’s former campaign manager Steve Schmidt.
But while the Vanity Fair article might have served as Kristol’s excuse to call out Schmidt, it is a battle that has been long in the making.
Earlier this year, Weekly Standard blogger and former-McCain campaign blogger, Michael Goldfarb warned that those inside the campaign who had spoken ill of Palin were known — and that they would pay a “steep price” for their actions:
Kate Klonick: What about all the talk about the acrimony between the McCain/Palin camps behind the scenes? What was the story with that?
Michael Goldfarb: The reporters who produced those quotes
weren’t making them up. It was a disgrace to the campaign and John McCain, and I think the people who did that are going to pay a real steep price in the long run, because the media ate it up, the media loved it. Once you’ve lost the campaign, who holds responsibility for [publicly airing their grievances with Palin] and who escapes with their credibility intact won’t be decided by The New York Times. Conservatives are not pleased by this.
And it looks like those conservatives decided now was the time for payback.
On Tuesday, Kristol accused Schmidt of “trashing Sarah Palin’s mental state” and being behind the leaks that had debased Palin in the midst of the campaign, a charge Schmidt flatly denied. Kristol’s accusation was seconded by Randy Scheunemann, a McCain campaign foreign advisor.
Besides Schmidt, Scheunemann also fingered Nicolle Wallace, a senior McCain advisor who had worked closely with Palin, as well as Wallace’s husband, Mark.
Schmidt and (to a lesser-extent) Wallace both make their living as Republican heavy-weights. If Kristol and Scheunemann succeed in tying them to the hit pieces and potshots against Palin, they will pay a very steep price indeed.