Kate Klonick makes the smart point that the nasty Kristol v. Schmidt spat over the Vanity Fair Sarah Palin piece is really about making sure those who are deemed "disloyal" pay a price:

Schmidt and (to a lesser-extent) Wallace both make their living as Republican heavy-weights. If Kristol and Scheunemann succeed in tying them to the hit pieces and potshots against Palin, they will pay a very steep price indeed.

Here's one particularly thuggish example of that, from a Red State blogger named Moe Lane, who titles his post A friendly suggestion to former McCain campaign staffers:

If you were one of the people who participated in that Vanity Fair hit piece, and we find out your name, you will be a net drag on any national campaign for the rest of your professional career.  Not because you helped the Left go after Governor Palin, but because you are an untrustworthy sneak who is dedicated to propping up the elitist system in DC, not fixing it.   Any candidate that hires you will have to overcome the base’s natural reluctance to work with a campaign that would hire someone like you.  This can be done; but it’s much easier to hire people with your skill set and a name for basic party loyalty.

If you are a McCain staffer who did not talk to VF, I suggest that you find some way to demonstrate that you aren’t one of the people in the first paragraph.  Because until we know who talked, the default assumption is going to be that you may have talked.  This will not wreck your career, but it will blight it if the base has anything to say about it.  On the bright side, a simple and declarative denial will do; of course, if your denial is a lie and we catch you at it, brush up on your typing skills.

A lot (most?) of this is pure bluster--I kind of doubt that Bill Kristol, much less Moe Lane, has hiring authority with many (any?) GOP campaigns--but it sure is revealing.

--Jason Zengerle