So, let me get this straight:  Team McCain didn’t bother to have a sit-down interview with Sarah Palin until the day before McCain’s precipitous leap into the badly-vetted void.   And I do mean badly vetted, as in McCain associates are saying outright they hadn’t finished looking at all of her issues before McCain announced her selection.  

Can you say impulsive gamble?  Haven’t we had enough of immature "yee haws!" as decision points?

Hell, even David Frum is mocking this openly at AEI.

But the McCain campaign has decided their failure to fully vet his potential running mate, the fact that she comes with a plethora of ethics and bad connections baggage, a history of shifting her political positions based on the current prevailing winds, and that the National Enquirer has allegedly dispatched a scandal SWAT team to Alaska to do further digging … well, whatever shakes out is someone else’s fault.

Time to play the victim card!  

Phyllis Schlafly and Laura Ingraham have already been dipping their lacquered toes in the tepid waters of blame-someone-else-for-our-woes.  Because nothing says "martyr" quite like a ratty beehive hair-do and badly waxed eyebrows raised in pique.  (Note to McCain: Schlafly is peeved that you thoughtlessly had a low-level lackey call to cancel Palin’s appearance at her shin-dig. Better promise her something quick — chop-chop — or she’ll take her Aqua-net and shuffle home.)

Allow me to resuscitate a phrase that Republicans like to throw at welfare moms and criminals:  personal responsibility.

If John McCain wants to pretend that the buck moose stops on someone else’s doorstep for a mess of his own making, the GOP can pretend away.  But outside of their own private Oh-No-No, the rest of America is being forced to view the seedy underbelly of a political party willing to woo the evangelical door knocking and phone tree crowd at any cost.  And I do mean any cost.  

Because without them, they have no ground game.

The dirty little secret about the McCain campaign all along has been that they have no infrastructure or ground game, and Rick Davis has been tap dancing around any and all questions about GOTV efforts for months and thus far Steve Schmidt’s been all bluster.  McCain had to come to terms with the religious right somehow, or there would be no ability to rev the base up and get them to the polls.  None.

So he sold his Veep pick to the holy bidders.  The big question though — was that the only price for admission?

I doubt it, given the two marquee players in this drama are James Dobson and Richard Land, with Ralph Reed no doubt playing handmaid (or desperately wanting to be viewed that way, in any case) to this festering tale of escrow. 

(Patty Smyth and Scandal perform Goodbye To You.)