I’m back from the Last Frontier with this week’s dead tree cover story on Sarah Palin, written with the very excellent editor-at-large David Von Drehle. I don’t think this will be the last we hear from the soon-to-be-former governor. To me, one of the most interesting aspects of the story is how vehemently the Palin camp blames Barack Obama.
From the story:
For Palin, however, these aren’t isolated incidents. She believes they grow from the same root, which is too big and too formidable to ignore. “A lot of this comes from Washington, D.C. The trail is pretty direct and pretty obvious to us,” says Meg Stapleton, a close Palin adviser in Alaska. Awaiting a flight back to Anchorage from distant Dillingham, Stapleton adds that the anti-Palin offensive seems lifted straight from The Thumpin’, which describes the political strategies of Rahm Emanuel, who is now the White House chief of staff. “It’s the Sarah Palin playbook. It’s how they operate,” Stapleton says.
Palin and her Alaska circle find evidence for their suspicions about the White House in the person of Pete Rouse, who lived in Juneau for a time before he became chief of staff to a young U.S. Senator named Barack Obama. Rouse, they note, is a friend of former Alaska state senator Kim Elton, who pushed the first ethics investigation of Palin, examining her controversial firing of the state’s public-safety commissioner. Both Rouse and Elton have joined the Obama Administration. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at the theory. “The charge is ridiculous,” he said. “Obviously there is no effort … From my vantage point, a lot of the criticism she is getting from others seems to be generated from self-inflicted wounds.
Meg went a step further at one point telling me, “I just hope to God Rahm Emanuel isn’t using taxpayer money to come after Alaska.” That’s the way they think about it: that these Alaskans filing ethics complaints have been hoodwinked by Obama operatives into wasting the Alaskan government’s time and resources. They believe that with Palin gone, the state will no longer face this barrage of “frivolous” compliants. On that point, they are probably right — there will be much less interest in filing complaints against Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell. Palin, Meg said, was their target all along because she “represents the biggest threat to Obama. She’s the only one who can get the base excited.” I’m not entirely convinced of Obama’s Nixon-esque sabotage capabilities, but I do think Palin has felt under attack for the last eight months and it wasn’t a hard leap for anyone in her orbit to connect local progressive wingnuts and the Administration. Palin has never been great at playing defense.
But “the barracuda” enjoys the offense and I think that’s part of what we’ll see from her going forward: an offensive against the Obama Administration. Obama is probably not shaking in his boots just yet, but a U.S.A. Today/Gallup poll showed that Palin’s surprise resignation has actually given her a bump amongst G.O.P. voters. She lost ground, though, with Dems and Independents, voters critical to winning the White House. On the other hand, moderates a general election target group. Right now, the only people Palin needs to please ahead of a potential 2012 run are Republican primary voters.