They really are desperate

John McCormack calls it the most implausible Palin smear yet, and it is rather odd:

The day of the third debate, Palin refused to go onstage with New Hampshire GOP Sen. John Sununu and Jeb Bradley, a New Hampshire congressman running for the Senate, because they were pro-choice and because Bradley opposed drilling in Alaska. The McCain campaign ordered her onstage at the next campaign stop, but she refused to acknowledge the two Republican candidates standing behind her.

As McCormack points out, Bradley’s opposition to ANWR drilling is the same is Joh McCain’s opposition to ANWR drilling, and Sununu has a 100% right-to-life voting record, so that doesn’t make sense at all.

On the other hand, now that I think about it, I don’t remember Palin putting in plugs for local Republican officials when I saw her in Ohio and Pennsylvania. This routine of name-checking local officials at the beginning of a speech is essential to the presidential campaign business. (You remember Joe Biden’s infamous “stand up, Chuck” moment with Missouri state Sen. Chuck Graham.) And if Palin were indeed averse to that sort of political routine, it might lend credibility to this tidbit in the Newsweek story:

“McCain’s advisers had been frustrated when Palin refused to talk to donors because she found it corrupting . . .”

Here, now, is a charge that would be gravely serious, if true. Political campaigns and political parties live or die by fundraising, and schmoozing donors is a basic function of what candidates do.

The candidate is handed a list of names and numbers with a bit of biographical information about each, and the amount of their previous donations, and he picks up the phone and starts “dialing for dollars” as it is called. And then, out on the trail, at each rally, there is a private VIP reception where the top local donors are rewarded with face-time and a chance for a grip-and-grin photo with the candidate.

This is the inescapable reality of politics, and the best politicians tend to excel at this kind of stuff. Over the course of time, these kind of personal contacts add up to a solid base of support. Bill Clinton famously built his political career in Arkansas by compiling a file of 5″x7″ cards with donor/supporter information.

Surely, Palin has not succeeded in politics without knowing how important it is to do all this, but if — as the implausible Newsweek story asserts — she didn’t know it, somebody had better wise her up in a hurry. She will be (or at least, ought to be) the No. 1 attraction at Republican fundraising events in 2009, an eviable opportunity to build her base of support among GOP bigwigs, and she needs to make the most of it.

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