McCain says he regrets choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate

The forthcoming final memoir from Senator John McCain, titled The Restless Wave, and a nearly two-hour-long HBO documentary on its way seem to be being used as an opportunity to settle some scores. Jonathan Martin of the New York Times has obtained copies of both books, and has spoken with the ailing senator at his ranch, where he seems to be spending his final days. This leaped out at me:

While he continues to defend Ms. Palin’s performance, Mr. McCain uses the documentary and the book to unburden himself about not selecting Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat-turned-independent, as his running mate.

He recalls that his advisers warned him that picking a vice-presidential candidate who caucused with Democrats and supported abortion rights would divide Republicans and doom his chances.

“It was sound advice that I could reason for myself,” he writes. “But my gut told me to ignore it and I wish I had.”

It is odd indeed to call it “sound advice” and to simultaneously wish he had disregarded it. Logically, this seems to mean that he wishes he had lost, while making a futile gesture towards bipartisanship, or maybe just avoiding contamination with the populism of Sarah Palin. It is an open secret that members of McCain’s campaign sought to sabotage Palin during the campaign, apparently preferring to lose rather than tolerate her views and her persona.

This odd, unsourced paragraph written by Martin offers a clue:

 Yet many in Mr. McCain’s own party believe that, by selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, he bears at least a small measure of blame for unleashing the forces of grievance politics and nativism within the Republican Party.

I strongly suspect that McCain himself expressed these views to Martin, but asked not to be quoted.

Quite clearly, McCain is part of the Republican internationalist establishment, against which Trump is fighting. I suppose it is admirable that he is sticking to his guns to the end. But there is no way that these views are less than an insult to the woman who dropped everything after being asked to be his running mate.

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