In defeat, the Republican Party is a house divided. Operatives, obviously fearful and angry about the possibility of a Palin presidency in 2012, have been leaking explosive rumors and information about her. While the other side of the party is still trying to prop her up as the "new face of the Republican party."
Her own party claims she refused to prep for the disastrous Katie Couric interview. She did not know Africa was a continent or that South Africa was a sovereign nation. They have reportedly flown up to Alaska to repossess that $150,000 in clothing. They have even gone so far as to refer to her and her families as "Wasila hillbillies."
The other side keeps pointing back to the spike in the polls immediately after the Republican National Convention when she was picked for the VP slot. They say she mobilized the Republican base. They say McCain would not have gotten as close as he did without her. And that his defeat was more about the economy than Palin or, quite frankly, his opponent, Barack Obama. Why such cold-hearted attacks against their own party? Why such blind and stubborn clinging to a bad candidate? Well, the Republican Party is split in two. And while the far-right wants Palin, the fiscal conservatives are scared to death and angry.
The fiscal conservatives
Fiscal conservatives are affluent, well educated, small government, deregulation and low taxes folks. These folks, by and large, could care less about gay marriage. They could care less about stem cell research. They believe in global warming but only as long as it doesn't interfere with commerce.
They are often fairly pro-immigration, because many depend on immigrant labor, and they believe in free trade. But I think they also sympathize with immigrants, because they value that pull-yourself-up-by-your-boot straps, first generation "work ethic." On principle, they stand with gun rights, because it means less government interference. Above and beyond all else, they are pocket-book conservatives who have lived, breathed and prospered from supply-side economics.
Folks talk about liberal elitism, but these folks have no love for evangelicals. They went along with the inclusion of the far right, only as a means to win elections, not as a blueprint to governing. These folks have since suffered through the reality of having an incompetent president. And they know it is going to take a stroke of genius, not just competence, to get us out of the mess we are currently in.
These are the Republicans — about 79 percent voted for McCain on Tuesday, while 20 percent voted for Obama — who started to question their party shortly after Palin was tapped.
Then, there are the evangelicals. These are the folks who really came out for Bush in 2000 and 2004. They are often single-issue voters. They are not wealthy or college-educated. They don't mind big government, as long as it is being run their way. They are pro-life, abstinence-only, gun-toting, small-town folks who vote their "values" to the detriment of all others.
They believe in America in its heyday. They believe America is always right. They don't care how much money it takes, as long as America wins in Iraq, as long as their leaders allow them to hold onto the myth of American supremacy.
Pat Robertson, Bay Buchanan and Newt Gingrich are all ideologues from the far right. They have remained loyal to Palin, and have been hawking the "Thrilla from Wasilla" stock since the beginning. She was their pick. And if they have anything to say about it, Palin will be the ticket in 2012.
The Republicans assembled this unlikely coalition very thinly on a federalist premise, but based on their individual self-interest and collected distrust of "liberals."
The rich folks got their tax breaks and loopholes and the far right got abstinence-only education, conservative judicial appointments and a few well-placed anti-gay marriage initiatives.
But then, the Iraq War didn't end. To date, that is about $569 billion, which I am sure does not sit well with the fiscal conservatives. Then, there was a litany of ethics scandals, not to mention a parade of closeted gay politicians propositioning assistants, pages and men in public bathrooms. This, too, was also a little hard for the far right to digest with their Sunday dinner. Then there was immigration, which really shook the foundation of this unlikely union. Finally, there was the financial meltdown, which has in some ways pitted poor against rich. But it has also really re-affirmed that we need to have people in charge who know what they are doing.
This Palin business is less about Palin than the Republican Party's own identity crisis. What will it be in four years when it emerges from the rubble? Who will lead it, and upon what principles will they lead?
I'm kind of rooting for the evangelicals. If they are in charge, they can kiss the White House and majority rule in Congress goodbye. They will become the Dixiecrats of the 21st century.
Devona Walker is The Loop's senior reporter/blogger.