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CYNICAL….Via TPM, an off-mic conversation about Sarah Palin between NBC’s Chuck Todd and conservative guests Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy:

Todd: Yeah, I mean is she really the most qualified woman they could have turned to?

Noonan: The most qualified? No! I think they went for this — excuse me — political bullshit about narratives —

Todd: Yeah they went to a narrative.

Murphy: I totally agree.

Noonan: Every time the Republicans do that, because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at, they blow it.

Murphy: You know what’s really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and this is cynical.

Now you know what they’re saying in private. What they’re saying in public is a whole different thing, of course. Why? Todd and his colleagues get to the heart of things here:

Last night had the feel of a party that was still trying to find its groove. Tonight, that will change when the GOP rock star of St. Paul — Palin — takes the stage. And judging by the reception she gets, there could be a very real debate on the following question: Whose Republican Party is this — John McCain’s or Sarah Palin’s? Talk to the GOP delegates here and it’s no contest. This is Palin’s party; McCain’s just the surprisingly cool guy who “got it” more than these folks thought.

The social conservative base is giddily in love with Palin. They want her to be the future of the party. And you cross the base in public at your peril.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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