According to a former White House chief of staff, the GOP's current dysfunctional state -- that finds them unable to agree on a new Speaker of the House and watching outsiders Donald Trump and Ben Carson become their top 2016 presidential contenders -- can be laid at the feet of Sarah Palin.
Writing for the Washington Post, former Obama administration chief of staff William M. Daley, said Republicans are reaping what they sowed when they fell under the spell of the former Alaskan governor during her vice presidential run in 2008.
Calling the current GOP primary "carnival-like," Daley said the party had a chance to right itself after Palin's "blatant lack of competence and preparedness" became apparent and contributed to the collapse of the McCain campaign.
"What’s critical is that substantive, serious Republican leaders either wouldn’t or couldn’t declare, before or after the election: 'This is not what our party stands for. We can and must do better,'” Daley wrote.
"Once McCain put Palin on the ticket, Republican 'grown-ups,' who presumably knew better, had to bite their tongues. But after the election, when they were free to speak their minds, they either remained quiet or abetted the dumbing-down of the party," he continued. "They stood by as Donald Trump and others noisily pushed claims that Obama was born in Kenya. And they gladly rode the Tea Party tiger to sweeping victories in 2010 and 2014."
According to Daley the Republican's have become captives to candidates like Trump, who is thriving in a system that is built upon "opportunistic soundbites above seriousness, preparedness and intellectual heft."
Daley notes that while all of the GOP's ills can't be blamed on Palin, she set the stage for a batch of "nonsense-spewing, hard-right candidates" who followed her and damaged the Republican brand.
The former presidential adviser drew a direct "Tea Party" line from Palin to Missouri's Todd Akin -- saying “the female body” could prevent pregnancy that was the result of a “a legitimate rape” -- to the surging presidential candidacies of Trump and Carson.
"Now that tiger is devouring the GOP establishment," Daley wrote. "Party elders had hoped new presidential debate rules would give them greater control. But they are watching helplessly as Trump leads the pack and House Republicans engage in fratricide."