Many have described (and done so on the record) McCain/Palin Chief Strategist Steve Schmidt as a foul-mouthed, chain smoking, in-over-his-head bully -- you know, everything HBO's "Game Change" didn't portray him as. But the worst cover-up in the now-discredited HBO film, was treating as a footnote Schmidt's disastrous decision to have Sen. John McCain suspend his campaign.
The film completely rewrites this history and chooses instead to blame Governor Sarah Palin for the 2008 loss. But we all know, and polls prove, that until McCain inexplicably stepped into the media's "erratic" narrative by trotting off to DC to "save the economy," Palin had given the ticket a very real chance to win.
Up until this memo was released by Politico, those of us who pay attention could only use common sense, logic, and events to make our case that in order to save his own skin, Schmidt turned on Palin in the most venomous way imaginable. In other words, he threw her to the MSM/Tinseltown wolves who so hate her, he knew he could count on them to rewrite history to his benefit.
But now we have another piece of proof, and in writing:
Ten days before the 2008 presidential election, as blame was beginning to be laid out for John McCain’s “likely defeat,” a top communications adviser to the campaign wrote a detailed strategy memo focused on how to preserve the reputation of another key adviser, Steve Schmidt, POLITICO has learned....
The protective maneuver sheds more light on the final days of the 2008 campaign, a period of low morale marked by tensions between the Palin and McCain camps and the expectation of defeat....
With the subject line “Schmidt,” the memo went on that the three, along with another former Mercuryite, Terry Nelson, would “engage in this project” and seek out the help of other supportive Republicans and some “friendly Democrats.”
“It is critical this defense effort be smart and soft, as Politico has already reported that, ‘efforts to absolve Schmidt are already in the works,’” he added. “We cannot be seen coordinating a pre-election defense effort. That being said, I believe we should in the course of natural conversations with friendly reporters begin to provide positive messaging — off the record.”
The memo, which contained two more pages of an action plan listing “influential” journalists and opinion-shapers, was followed by a second one three days later, on Oct. 29, and sent to “interested parties,” with a bit more of the plan fleshed out. It did not call for ascribing blame to anyone else, including Palin, but did suggest some message points for how to explain the key elements of where McCain did well and where he struggled.
Asked about the memos by POLITICO, Jones said, “Given the criticism of Schmidt at the time, along with his likely return to Mercury Public Affairs, it made sense for his business colleagues to develop a plan in his defense.”
Schmidt was not listed as a recipient of the memos from his business partners. Jones said he did not recall Schmidt being part of those discussions.
Schmidt told POLITICO he knew nothing about the pre-election plan or the memo.
This is just my personal opinion, but asking me to believe Schmidt didn't know about this memo is a bridge-to-nowhere too far.
Anyway, this next part also proves "Game Change" a lie -- proves Palin was really the only chance McCain ever had to win:
Three days before the first Oct. 26 memo, POLITICO reported that recriminations were already beginning among staffers who described chaos within McCainland.
That was followed by another story in which Palin loyalists faulted McCain’s team for her flubbed rollout.
The memo suggested “top line message points along with suggested action items.”
“Any messages in defense of Steve should be structural in nature and not ascribe blame to other parties,” the memo said. And there were additional bullet points:
• “Despite an extremely challenging electoral environment, by mid-September John McCain was ahead of Barack Obama in the majority of national public opinion polls and was also ahead in the race for 270 votes in the Electoral College based on polls in key battleground states.
• John McCain was ahead despite being written off by the ‘media intelligentsia’ in the summer of 2007, then again late spring in 2008 and after the Democrat convention.
• McCain was ahead because the candidate and the campaign had focused on:
• His maverick credentials and his longtime status as an agent of change. Governor Palin’s selection worked to accentuate this maverick status.
• Distancing himself from an unpopular president, and given his past stances on issues like spending, torture, the War in Iraq and climate change he had the record and credibility to deliver this message.
• Exciting the base with the selection of Governor Palin and highlighting the ideological differences between himself and Obama.
With the collapse of the global financial markets in mid-September, an already challenging electoral environment turned absolutely toxic for anyone with an R behind their name. In fact, nearly 95% of the country felt America was headed in the wrong direction. Add to this mix an incumbent Republican president whose approval ratings were hovering in the mid 20s and you’ve got a campaign running into a category 5 headwind.”
Like the film, however, the memo ignores Schmidt's own "game-changer," the campaign suspension. And it's fairly safe to say that the memo's lofty (cya?) goal to "not ascribe blame to other parties" lasted all of about five minutes. Almost immediately after Obama's acceptance speech, absurd leaks damaging to Palin started to drip-drip-drip to a media desperate to have its own smear-of-lies campaign validated.
As you would expect, Politico doesn't work as hard as it should to connect the dots directly to last Saturday's low-rated "Game Change" premiere. But what you essentially see here is a Chief Strategist surrounded by faithful cronies desperate to put back together again a man who, by many accounts, was an incompetent monster to work with and who made or fully backed the fatal decision that put a stake in the heart of any chance McCain ever had.
The last thing on anyone's mind was accepting responsibility.
This memo is yet another piece on a growing pile of evidence that pretty much proves that those behind the "Game Change" book and film were suckers who wanted to be suckered -- who chose to listen to those afraid to put their names behind their story. The authors and screenwriter also CHOSE to ignore nearly a dozen people who told the story that backs up this memo, and who were willing to speak on the record.
It's just not hard to imagine a humiliated and unemployed Steve Schmidt plotting a comeback as he watched soar the careers of Kathleen Parker, David Frum, and anyone on the Right who stabbed Palin in the back.
The MSM and Hollywood have all but placed a full page ad in the New York Times that reads: "Betray Palin and Feel Our Love."
Of course, the small print reads: "...and the only price is your soul."