William M. Daley makes some very salient points in this Washington Post article.
Here are a few of them:You can choose from a litany of insurrections, government shutdowns and other self-inflicted wounds. But this year’s carnival-like GOP presidential primary makes one event, in retrospect, stand out as a crucial turning point on the road to upheaval: the 2008 embrace of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be a heartbeat from the presidency.
Palin’s blatant lack of competence and preparedness needs no belaboring. What’s critical is that substantive, serious Republican leaders either wouldn’t or couldn’t declare, before or after the election: “This is not what our party stands for. We can and must do better.”
Daley goes on to point out that by the end of the 2008 campaign many in the Republican party were relegated to defending one of the dumbest people on the planet from criticism or from further media scrutiny.
After the election Palin actually ramped up the damage she had been doing to the Republican party:
Palin became a Fox News fixture, reinforcing the newly formed tea party’s “never compromise” demands. Bombast, not reason, reigned. Now the “settle for flash” aura of Palin’s candidacy looks like a warning that the party was prizing glib, red-meat rhetoric over reasoned solutions.
Palin, who back in those days still had great influence, helped to elect morons like Ted Cruz, and pave the way for disastrously unqualified folks such Christine O'Donnell and Todd Aikin.
Now those folks did not get elected but others such as Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Louie Gohmert did.
Now that tiger is devouring the GOP establishment. Party elders had hoped new presidential debate rules would give them greater control. But they are watching helplessly as Trump leads the pack and House Republicans engage in fratricide.
This is how Daley wraps up the article:
This isn’t to heap new scorn on Palin. But let’s not diminish the recklessness of those who championed her vice presidential candidacy. It was well known that McCain, 72 at the time of his nomination, had undergone surgery for skin cancer. It wasn’t preposterous to think Palin could become president.
Now Republicans ask Americans to give them full control of the government, adding the presidency to their House and Senate majorities. This comes as Trump and Carson consistently top the GOP polls. Republican leaders brought this on themselves. Trump calls Palin “a special person” he’d like in his Cabinet. That seems only fair, because he’s thriving in the same cynical value system that puts opportunistic soundbites above seriousness, preparedness and intellectual heft.
Amen to that.
In 2009 one of the first books ever written about Palin was entitled "Trailblazer." And as it turns out that title was prescient. However, the trail that Palin blazed was toward the destruction of the very party that rescued her from anonymity in Alaska and made her a household name.
And as we see that name is now not only synonymous with ignorance and stupidity, it is also linked forever to the dumbing down and disintegration of the Grand Old Party.