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Kristol: Liberal Media and GOP Hacks vs. Palin

12:17 PM, Jun 30, 2009 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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Lefty journalist Todd Purdum has a hit piece in the new Vanity Fair on Sarah Palin. You don't have to be a big Palin fan to recognize the article is full of dubious claims, and is dependent on self-serving stories provided on background by some of the people who ran the McCain campaign into the ground.

Here's a highlight of Purdum's reporting: "More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin's extravagant self-regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of ‘narcissistic personality disorder' in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders--'a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy'--and thought it fit her perfectly."

Is there any real chance that "several" Alaskans independently told Purdum that they had consulted the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders? I don't believe it for a moment. I've (for better or worse) moved in pretty well-educated circles in my life, and I've gone decades without "several" people telling me they had consulted the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

Meanwhile, on the day Purdum's piece hit the web (today), a journalist who had expressed suspicions in the past that elements of the McCain campaign had undercut Palin suddenly got a friendly e-mail from top McCain-Palin campaign strategist Steve Schmidt. This journalist hadn't heard from Schmidt in months. Perhaps Steve was nervous someone would finger him for the Purdum piece. One reason people might do so is this passage in Purdum's article: "All the while, Palin was coping not only with the crazed life of any national candidate on the road but also with the young children traveling with her. Some top aides worried about her mental state: was it possible that she was experiencing postpartum depression? (Palin's youngest son was less than six months old.)" In fact, one aide who raised this possibility in the course of trashing Palin's mental state to others in the McCain-Palin campaign was Steve Schmidt.