The XX Factor

Whitman, Fiorina Shun Palin Rally

If we’re living, as Maureen Dowd says, in the era of the Republican Mean Girls , what happens when the clique splinters? Neither Carly Fiorina nor Meg Whitman showed up at a California GOP rally on Saturday night that featured Sarah Palin and Michael Steele; Palin, for her part, mentioned neither of the high-profile candidates (she’s endorsed Fiorina, but not Whitman). It makes political sense for Fiorina and Whitman, who are going after independent voters in a state where there’s not a lot of Palin love, to distance themselves . Steele, for his part, took great pains to say that there’s nothing to see here, so just move along, folks: “Let me clear up any confusion that may be out there sowed by the other side. … There is no struggle, rift, fight between those who claim the banner of the Tea Party and those who are in the Republican Party. We work together.” And that might be true for the duration of the election, but at some point, someone’s going to feel very Regina George about the situation: “She thinks she’s gonna have a party and not invite me? Who does she think she is? … I like *invented* her, you know what I mean?”

Photograph of Carly Fiorina by HKA, Inc. Public Relations for Wikimedia Commons.