William Daley served as President Obama's chief of staff for a while, and it's not surprising that he would describe the GOP primary as having a "carnival-like" atmosphere. But in the Washington Post, Daley also makes the case that the GOP's current problems can be traced to one moment: when John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate. That she had a "blatant lack of competence" was one thing, but that no prominent Republicans stood up to criticize the pick when that became clear was even worse, writes Daley. Afterward, she became an even bigger political figure, with her no-compromises "bombast" becoming the norm.
Today, "the 'settle for flash' aura of Palin’s candidacy looks like a warning that the party was prizing glib, red-meat rhetoric over reasoned solutions," writes Daley. In her wake came candidates like Christine O'Donnell, Todd Akin, Michele Bachmann, and, now, Donald Trump. House Republicans, meanwhile, are engaged in "fratricide." On the campaign trail, Trump has talked about putting Palin in his Cabinet. "That seems only fair," writes Daley, "because he’s thriving in the same cynical value system that puts opportunistic soundbites above seriousness, preparedness and intellectual heft." Click for Daley's full column.