MSNBC Finds McCain’s ‘Biggest Political Mistake’: Sarah Palin

Amid glowing tributes to the life and career of Arizona Senator John McCain on Monday, MSNBC took time to use the Republican lawmaker’s passing to trash his 2008 vice presidential running mate Sarah Palin, labeling McCain’s selection of the then-Alaska governor as his “biggest political mistake.”

“McCain made some controversial decisions, some much-criticized decisions. One of those decisions was who he chose to run with in 2008, Sarah Palin,” proclaimed anchor Katy Tur early in the 2:00 p.m. ET hour. She then recited a column from Washington Post Associate Editor David Ignatius making that case:

 

 

The anti-Washington rage embodied by Palin came back to haunt McCain, in the person of President Trump. My guess is McCain was one of the many millions of decent Republicans and Democrats who could never imagine that the GOP and then the American electorate (or at least the Electoral College) would actually vote for someone with such low moral character.

Tur lamented: “I guess there are some out there who could argue that the choosing of Palin and legitimizing that voice, legitimizing that brand of politics, that reality show brand of politics, you could draw a straight line from that to the election of Donald Trump.”

Appearing on the program, Ignatius doubled down: “I think that choice of Sarah Palin was probably the biggest political mistake that John McCain made in his career.”

He continued: “There is an insurgency in the Republican Party. Sarah Palin was an early example of it, this kind of, you know, unprepared in the normal sense ex-governor of Alaska.... It was a poor choice. She was so unprepared for the office.” Of course Sarah Palin was the current governor of Alaska when McCain selected her as his running mate.

Ignatius concluded: “But I think it shows that McCain saw something changing in his party, this party that would spawn the Tea Party movement that really existed to trash Washington, the world that John McCain grew up in.”

Leave it to MSNBC and The Washington Post to use the death of one politician to denigrate another.

Here is a transcript of the August 27 exchange between Tur and Ignatius:

2:09 PM ET

(...)

KATY TUR: David, in your column about McCain, you write that it’s important not to gild the lily. And no doubt, McCain made some controversial decisions, some much-criticized decisions. One of those decisions was who he chose to run with in 2008, Sarah Palin.

And you wrote this in your column, “The anti-Washington rage embodied by Palin came back to haunt McCain, in the person of President Trump. My guess is McCain was one of the many millions of decent Republicans and Democrats who could never imagine that the GOP and then the American electorate (or at least the Electoral College) would actually vote for someone with such low moral character.”

I guess there are some out there who could argue that the choosing of Palin and legitimizing that voice, legitimizing that brand of politics, that reality show brand of politics, you could draw a straight line from that to the election of Donald Trump.

DAVID IGNATIUS [WASHINGTON POST FOREIGN COLUMNIST & ASSOCIATE EDITOR]: I wrote, Katy, that I think that choice of Sarah Palin was probably the biggest political mistake that John McCain made in his career. I think what he was trying to do was to connect as an older establishment Republican with the energy that he understood rightly was out there. There is an insurgency in the Republican Party. Sarah Palin was an early example of it, this kind of, you know, unprepared in the normal sense ex-governor of Alaska, spoke out sharp, funny.

And McCain wanted to have that as part of his presidential campaign. It was a poor choice. She was so unprepared for the office. But I think it shows that McCain saw something changing in his party, this party that would spawn the Tea Party movement that really existed to trash Washington, the world that John McCain grew up in.

So I think he was caught in this, it’s part of what makes him, to me, such a poignant person. As we play these tapes of Senator McCain, I just think about the basics for him: Love your country, tell the truth, you know, don’t sell out your principles. Those are the things that he always, always said and tried to do.

(...)


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