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There was a time when the worst thing one Republican could say about another was that he was aligned with “the Eastern Establishment,” a “Rockefeller Republican.” A few years later, accusing your GOP rival of favoring detente with the Soviets was the favorite submarine tactic.
Now? If you really want to undercut a Republican antagonist’s conservative credibility, accuse him of spreading dirt about Sarah Palin, as Marc Ambinder notes:
Rumor: Aides and advisers to Mitt Romney are responsible for spreading most of the anti-Palin stories that have been going around; during the campaign, they pressured reporters to look into reports of tension between McCain and Palin factions… .
Palin is the most popular figure in the Republican Party right now, and if you want a future in that party, you can’t be seen as spreading gossip about her.
The rumors are mostly false, Ambinder says, but this raises the question of who’s spreading this smear? My guess: The McCain aides who bashed Palin are now the ones trying to hang the blame on the Romneyites.
So it’s like Tessio proposing a meeting with Barzini: Any McCain aide blaming Romney thereby becomes identified as an anti-Palin traitor.
Applying to this situation the logic of Sherlock Holmes and the dog who did not bark, therefore, I observe that Nicolle Wallace has reportedly denied being the anti-Palin leaker and ask: Did Nicolle Wallace ever say anything nice about Mitt? (Let the folks at Operation Leper take note.)
(Cross-posted at The Other McCain.)
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