Very late in the presidential campaign, staffers for Sen. John McCain came to the painful realization that it would be impossible, ever, to get Sarah Palin up to speed, reports Vanity Fair. They discovered, too late, she was a truth-shifting, self-regarding "little shop of horrors" who knew little about issues, and stubbornly refused to take direction, writes national editor Todd S. Purdum.
Still, a big-time GOP future remains possible for a woman who has a canny knowledge of how to manipulate connections and mercilessly punish perceived enemies. The woman known in high school as "the barracuda" has the "good fortune to have traction within a political party bereft of strong leadership, and whose rank-and-file often demands qualities other than knowledge and experience," writes Purdum. "It is, at the moment, a party in which the loudest voices, not burdened by responsibility, wield disproportionate power."