But what really happened here? Did Palin and her allies correct a terrible mistake made by misguided local leaders? Did they play a vital catalytic role to make sure the people’s voice is heard? Or did a local election get hijacked by ideologues with a national agenda?
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association and often mentioned as a 2012 White House prospect, blamed locals for an “inside baseball, smoke-filled room” process that produced the wrong person. “They should’ve had a primary” and let the people choose, he said on CNN.
But that was not possible. You could even argue that those county party officials came as close as they could to a small-D democratic process by choosing a public official who had been elected by residents of the largest city in the congressional district.