While offscreen at an outdoor MSNBC studio, conservative Republican pundits Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy trashed John McCain's choice to select Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. Murphy, who contributes to Time and MSNBC, called it "cynical" and "gimmicky," adding, "It's not going to work." Noonan went further, saying, "It's over." She went on, unaware that her mike was still on:
"The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives. Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and that's not what they're good at, they blow it."
Jiminy Cricket! God bless hot mikes. The McCain fans over at Fox News have gotta be bummed they resurrected that trend. You can hear the dialogue in the above video. What's especially telling about this is not that Republicans are grumbling privately about the risky move of choosing the relatively unknown (and slightly baggage-heavy) Palin. It's that they're doing it while publicly voicing support for the choice. Murphy basically echoes what he said in an even-handed post about Palin last week on Time.com's Swampland blog.
But Noonan was outlining why the "Hail Mary" move on McCain's part just might work. "Most Hail Mary passes don't work," she wrote. "But when they do they're a thing of beauty and a joy forever." Noonan later concluded, "[Palin] is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy." If anything, excuse us, that now sounds like political bullshit.
UPDATE: After the jump, Noonan addresses this snafu in her Thursday column.
According to Noonan:
I must plead some confusion. In our off-air conversation, I got on the subject of the leaders of the Republican party assuming, now, that whatever the base of the Republican party thinks is what America thinks. I made the case that this is no longer true, that party leaders seem to me stuck in the assumptions of 1988 and 1994, the assumptions that reigned when they were young and coming up. "The first lesson they learned is the one they remember," I said to Todd -- and I'm pretty certain that is a direct quote. But, I argued, that's over, those assumptions are yesterday, the party can no longer assume that its base is utterly in line with the thinking of the American people. And when I said, "It's over!" -- and I said it more than once -- that is what I was referring to.
Noonan adds that she doesn't, in fact, think McCain's campaign is "over." She also apologized for using the word "bullshit," which is too bad, because that was the best part of the whole tape.