It's been a few fun days watching the Palin-McCain campaign. Oops! I meant the McCain-Palin campaign.
Granted it hasn't been easy with these two mavericks to tell who's really in charge, what with Palin contradicting McCain on issues like throwing in the towel in Michigan and whether to dredge up the inflammatory Rev. Jeremiah Wright again. And ditching McCain staffers who've been tormenting her on the campaign trail.
As some Republicans close to Palin told Ben Smith of Politico, Palin is fuming over how McCain strategists have kept her under wraps, not letting her be her true Hockey Mom self. You know, the gal who shops at a consignment store in Anchorage and bills Alaska taxpayers for her family's jaunts to New York.
It's hard to pull off that reformer image when you're strutting before GOP crowds sporting Valentino, have a Hollywood make-up artist on call for thousands of dollars a week, and your seven-year-old is lugging around a Louis Vuitton satchel (those big designer bags, by the way, are so last year). And you're trying to brand your opponent who grew up in a blue-collar neighborhood and attended college on scholarships an "elitist." No wonder Palin felt misunderstood and abused! All that wasted energy slandering Barack Obama. Maybe it's time for some "Free Sarah!" protests?
Last week the VP candidate finally decided she'd had enough of being treated like a Beverly Hills five-year-old (or, alternatively, a prisoner of war). After landing in Colorado Springs, she practically sprinted off the campaign plane so she could have an impromptu chat with reporters. When her handlers finally caught up with her and shut things down, Palin ignored them. "I think she'd like to go more rogue," admitted one high-level Republican close to the Alaska governor this week.
Which in hindsight probably isn't a very politic thing to say if you're trying to win an election. Faster than you can say "you betcha!" a McCain adviser turned up on CNN and started bad-mouthing Palin. "She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone. She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom."
Just what we need: another insurgency. But I suppose this is what happens when you don't vet your candidates. And you keep endlessly repeating how great it is to have a maverick as your V.P. sidekick.
One thing about Palin. She might not be able to stitch together a declarative sentence but she sure knows how to fight back. That $150,000 the RNC put out to dress her up? She didn't even know about it. The pricey clothes, the make-up artist, the red peep-toe heels, the hair stylist, just showed up! What else was she supposed to do? Wear L.L. Bean? Go to the nearest Wal-Mart and stock up on hair spray and Maybelline? Besides, she's going to donate the clothes to charity.
At a rally in Tampa this week, Palin tried to put the controversy to rest. She turned up in a jacket she said she bought back home. She also brought along that noted feminist icon, View co-host Elizabeth Hasselback, to put the whole designer debacle in perspective. "This is deliberately sexist!" the Survivor refugee declared to the crowd.
A couple of nights ago -- I think it was a couple of nights ago, these rallies are all starting to blur together -- I watched McCain give a speech while Palin stood dutifully behind him. When McCain was through and the crowd began applauding, he violently waved his arm for Palin to come beside him.
It was one of the weirdest moments in politics I've ever seen.
Later, though, the two of them sat side by side during an interview. In a nod to the tension, McCain joked that you can't always expect two mavericks to agree. Palin smiled gamely.
Yeah, but it would be nice if they could agree on something, wouldn't it?