Election 2008: Playing the Blame Game

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John McCain lost the election.

Was it "fair and square"? With the antics of ACORN and questionable financial contributions to the Obama campaign, that question will be up for grabs for years to come.

As is common, Monday morning quarterbacking has already begun with regards to McCain’s campaign – the woulda,coulda, shoulda of a failed political contest. And while I have engaging in such rock throwing in the past, this year I
was inclined to let the meatheads babble on all they wish and move on with life.

But with recent revelations that elements within the Republican Party are doing everything in their power to attack and destroy the credibility of the one person who was the saving grace of McCain’s campaign – Alaska Governor Sarah Palin – I could not, in good conscience, remain silent.

Pennsylvania’s zombie-like senior US Senator Arlen Specter has already begun dissing Palin, dismissing her relevance to the future of the Republican Party. And campaign insiders and "advisors" to McCain are preparing to "shred" Palin in order to shift the spot light of responsibility of a blundered campaign to the one person they know the mainstream media will jump on.

In short, they want to make Palin the scapegoat for their incompetence.

Consequently, any "news" that comes out about Palin will be tainted and intended to serve one purpose – save their own incompetent fannies. Sadly, this is the nature of paid political consultants.

Since Palin is a political soulmate of the grassroots, conservative base of the GOP, those of us on the right side of the aisle cannot help but consider such attacks against Palin as nothing less then attack against us.

In other words, the left-wing, establishment of the Republican Party blows a race, and then wants to blame the conservatives for their ineptitude.

Obviously, such unjustified and misguided assaults cannot be countenanced, so if we want to identify the reasons why the McCain/Palin ticket failed in Pennsylvania, here are the real culprits:

The McCain Campaign – Hands down, this campaign was one of the worst run since Bob Dole was skunked by Bill Clinton in 1996. Poor communication, lousy distribution of resources (how many of us were scrambling to get
McCain/Palin signs and found that the McCain campaign didn’t have any?), and catering to Independents instead of the traditional conservative values did nothing but deflate the tires on McCain’s bus. Indeed, McCain’s advisors failed to exercise one of the most fundamental basics of any political campaign: secure the base. The conservative base was not secured until Palin was selected, and while the timing was brilliant (deflating Obama’s post-convention bounce), they failed miserably in defending the vicious and unjustified assaults that the media launched against Palin. There was no
McCain "truth squad", just political science wonks and cash grabbing campaign consultants anxious to add a politicalcampaign to their resume. Bottom line is that the McCain Campaign as an institution must bear the blame for failure.

The Pennsylvania Republican State Committee – Never before have I witnessed such ineptitude in a campaign at the hands of the leaders of the state GOP than this election. Even when the RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) were
scrambling to defend political black holes like Bob Jubelirer and "Chip" Brightbill, they did a heck of a better job getting the word out about the candidates. Where were they with the McCain campaign? There were no mailings, no get-out-the-vote effort, no pounding on the polls on Election Day.

Consider this: Lebanon County is reported to host one the top ten largest polls in Pennsylvania, yet the Pennsylvania Republican Party did nothing to galvanize local Republican voters. In fact, the only thing they did was provide cheaply printed palm cards for distribution at the polls. And as a direct consequence, not only did the PAGOP lose the state to Obama but all of the state row office were lost, save one; were it not for the fact that Corbett was well prepared and organized, he would have suffered the humiliation of defeat that Tom Ellis and Chet Beiler experienced.

Congressional candidates were completely disregarded and key races that
should have flipped – Murtha and Kanjorski – were retained by the lefties. With the state House having lost more seats to the Democrats, need further case be made that the Pennsylvania Republican Party is a failure? Bottom line is that Rob Gleason has been guiding the GOP ship of state during two General Election cycles, with politically tragic results, and the time has come for him to resign and let someone competent take over.

Local Republican Committees – How is it that Dauphin County went to Obama? How is it that neither Lancaster County nor Lebanon County pulled more than 60% for McCain – counties with enviably high Republican voter registration? How is it that Montgomery County – reputed to be the money bag for the Pennsylvania Republican organizations – failed to gain McCain more than 40% of the vote? Speaking from personal observation, many local Republican committee people did not even bother to work the polls (I have yet to meet my local committeeman, and I spent a few hours at the polls myself).

Signs weren’t available until too late, and the local headquarters failed to secure an adequate supply of bumper stickers, buttons and other campaign material; they can blame the McCain campaign all they want for bad distribution but the county committee organizations could have purchased the supplies on their own instead of waiting for freebies from the main campaign. Where was the leadership? Too busy buying drinks at the club bar?

Bottom line is that the local Republican organization leaders deserve to share the blame for McCain’s loss and the loss of some of the Congressional
seats; given the fact that people like "Chip" Brightbill – a Republican committeeman in Lebanon County – have given money to liberal Democrats but have been given a pass by GOP leadership, and now with critical races having been lost, it’s time some county chairman’s scalps were hung over the fireplace.

These are just three classes of people who justifiably deserve to be criticized for the Republican losses in Pennsylvania,and many of these same people are the ones who want to finger Palin and conservatives for their own blunders.

Anyone can throw stones after an election; it’s up to the GOP to either pick itself up and dust itself off and start preparing for the next round, or they can continue to wallow in self pity and blaming others for their own mistakes. These people should take the lead of John McCain himself, and take responsibility for their errors and learn from those mistakes.