They cannot win on the arguments; indeed, they have been proven so catastrophically wrong on the arguments that they have decided not even to fight this campaign on issues but on personalities. But they do care about power, and this Telegraph story suggests that Bill Kristol was a powerful motor behind the absurdity of Sarah Palin's candidacy:

Sources in the McCain camp, the Republican Party and Washington think tanks say Mrs Palin was identified as a potential future leader of the neoconservative cause in June 2007. That was when the annual summer cruise organised by the right-of-centre Weekly Standard magazine docked in Juneau, the Alaskan state capital, and the pundits on board took tea with Governor Palin...

Now many believe that the "neocons", whose standard bearer in government, Vice President Dick Cheney, lost out in Washington power struggles to the more moderate defence secretary Robert Gates and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, last year are seeking to mould Mrs Palin to renew their influence.

A former Republican White House official, who now works at the American Enterprise Institute, a bastion of Washington neoconservatism, admitted: "She's bright and she's a blank page. She's going places and it's worth going there with her."

Asked if he sees her as a "project", the former official said: "Your word, not mine, but I wouldn't disagree with the sentiment."

In so many ways, Palin is the apotheosis of the neocon dream. She siphons the religious fanaticism of the base to support war on behalf of what the neocons believe is in Israel's and America's interests. The goal is war against Iran and Russia. And a further deepening of the occupation of Iraq.


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