A Brutal Assessment of Sarah Palin

Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart weighs in on a former John McCain staffer's comments that Palin "was manifestly unprepared to take the oath of office should it become necessary."

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Sarah Palin (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In a blog entry at the Washington Post, columnist Jonathan Capehart weighs in on commentary about Sarah Palin by the chief strategist for Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign while speaking Monday on MSNBC's Morning Joe. He described her as talented but flawed -- and unprepared for someone running to be vice president of the United States.

Rare is it that a political operative owns up to mistakes. But Steve Schmidt did just that a few hours ago on “Morning Joe.” The chief strategist for Sen. John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign is a plain-spoken and direct man. And he was ever thus when asked for his thoughts on HBO’s movie “Game Change.”

Schmidt’s blunt and unblinking honesty in talking about the selection of Sarah Palin as McCain’s vice presidential nominee and his role in that decision is to be commended. Others who would follow in his footsteps must learn from the mistakes he willingly admits he made.  

“It’s a story of when cynicism and idealism collide, when you have to do the things that are necessary to win to try to get in office to do the great things you want to do for the country,” Schmidt said. “And I think it showed a process of vetting that was debilitated by secrecy, that was compartmentalized, that failed, that led to a result that was reckless for the country. And I think when you look back at that race, you see this person who is just so phenomenally talented at so many levels, an ability to connect. But also someone who had a lot of flaws as someone running to be in the national command authority who clearly wasn’t prepared.”

“Politically, she was a net positive to the campaign,” Schmidt said of the former Alaska governor. But she was a “net negative” because “someone was nominated to the vice presidency who was manifestly unprepared to take the oath of office should it become necessary and as it has become necessary many times in American history.” 

Read Jonathan Capehart's entire blog entry at the Washington Post.

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