That's the conclusion of Politico's Roger Simon:
The real problem for McCain is that Palin is running a separate--and
scary--campaign that does not seem to be under anybody’s control.
She storms around the country saying: “Our opponent ... is someone who
sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough that
he’s palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.”
She also says: “This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America.”
Get the drift? Obama is not only different, not only an alien incapable
of loving his country, he is an actual friend of terrorists who would
To win, the Republican ticket must attract a significant number of
independent voters, swing voters and even some Democrats. Do Sarah
Palin’s attacks really help achieve that?
Meanwhile, grudgingly endorsing Obama at Slate, Christopher Hitchens merely winks at the rogue-running-mate possibility:
McCain occasionally remembers to stress matters like honor and to
disown innuendoes and slanders, but this only makes him look both more
senile and more cynical, since it cannot (can it?) be other than his
wish and design that he has engaged a deputy who does the innuendoes
and slanders for him.
I actually don't see any reason to think Palin has somehow escaped McCain's control. After all, the contrast Hitchens notes is entirely in keeping with McCain's previous attempts at self-serving loftiness, like (allegedly) putting politics aside during Hurricane Gustav* or (allegedly) suspending his campaign to deal with the Wall Street mess. In both cases, McCain patted himself on the back while his surrogates did the necessary.
That said, the fact that some commentators are seriously suggesting McCain can't manage his vice-presidential nominee (!) really can't help his prospects.
UPDATE: Here's a contrasting take from the Huffington Post's Erik Ose.
*NOTE: Not Katrina, as I originally wrote.