When it comes to John McCain, Sarah Palin just can’t win.
Campaigning for the man who catapulted her onto the national stage has prompted some McCain detractors to demote her from conservative rock star to unprincipled RINO sell-out. But were she to snub her former running mate, she’d be branded a disloyal backstabbing ingrate.
There’s no question McCain’s campaign staff repeatedly smeared Palin to distract from their own ineptitude. And once or twice, McCain experienced Bidenesque foot-in-mouth disease when discussing Palin with interviewers. But author Shushanna Walshe notes there are “no hard feelings between the former GOP presidential and vice-presidential nominees, even after all the public warring continues between some of McCain’s closest advisers and Palin.”
My sense is that Palin and McCain share genuine affection for one another. In fact, McCain has spoken highly of Palin and her ideas, and Palin has frequently described McCain as a man of honor and character. She takes to heart what Ronald Reagan once told his staff: “The person who agrees with you 80 percent of the time is a friend and an ally — not a 20 percent traitor.”
Sarah Palin is campaigning for John McCain because she values personal loyalty over political expediency. Sure, that’s a potential political weakness, but it’s also a sign of integrity.
In her memoir, Going Rogue, Palin laments a politically-motivated decision to support a candidate running against her stepmother-in-law in a mayoral race.
I loved Faye and knew she’d be a great mayor, but I didn’t know if she’d defeat a former multiterm mayor. It was a lame excuse for a lame deed, and deep inside I realized it.
That lesson about loyalty stuck with Palin. Choosing to support John McCain in the face of significant conservative opposition might not win Sarah Palin accolades for Beltway political savvy, but it says quite a bit about her character.