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Tilting at Windmills

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September 2, 2008
By: Hilzoy

John Didn't Get What He Wanted

From the NYT:

"A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice. The campaign was still calling Republican operatives as late as Sunday night asking them to go to Alaska to deal with the unexpected candidacy of Ms. Palin. (...)

In Alaska, several state leaders and local officials said they knew of no efforts by the McCain campaign to find out more information about Ms. Palin before the announcement of her selection, Although campaigns are typically discreet when they make inquiries into potential running mates, officials in Alaska said Monday they thought it was peculiar that no one in the state had the slightest hint that Ms. Palin might be under consideration.

"They didn't speak to anyone in the Legislature, they didn't speak to anyone in the business community," said Lyda Green, the State Senate president, who lives in Wasilla, where Ms. Palin served as mayor.

Representative Gail Phillips, a Republican and former speaker of the State House, said the widespread surprise in Alaska when Ms. Palin was named to the ticket made her wonder how intensively the McCain campaign had vetted her.

"I started calling around and asking, and I have not been able to find one person that was called," Ms. Phillips said. "I called 30 to 40 people, political leaders, business leaders, community leaders. Not one of them had heard. Alaska is a very small community, we know people all over, but I haven’t found anybody who was asked anything."

The current mayor of Wasilla, Dianne M. Keller, said she had not heard of any efforts to look into Ms. Palin’s background. And Randy Ruedrich, the state Republican Party chairman, said he knew nothing of any vetting that had been conducted.

State Senator Hollis French, a Democrat who is directing the ethics investigation, said that no one asked him about the allegations. "I heard not a word, not a single contact," he said."

As far as I'm concerned, the story about Sarah Palin is what John McCain's decision to make her his running mate says about his judgment. And what this tells us is stunning. It is basic, basic politics that before you ask someone to become your running mate, you vet them thoroughly. You want to know what you're getting into, and you don't want any unfortunate surprises. Apparently, McCain didn't bother to do this. That's astonishing. It's like starting surgery before you do an initial medical workup and diagnosis, or handing all your money over to a financial advisor before you find out whether she's legitimate. In this particular case, there are two huge problems with what McCain did.

The first is the most obvious: in choosing a Vice Presidential nominee, McCain is choosing someone who might well end up taking over as President. This would be true for anyone, but it's especially true in McCain's case, since he is a 72 year old cancer survivor. Anyone who "puts country first", as McCain is fond of telling us he does, would have taken care to ensure that that person was up to the job, and had no unpleasant secrets like, oh, past membership in a fringe secessionist organization. Not bothering to do the most basic due diligence before naming her as his running mate is staggeringly irresponsible.

The second is that McCain was willing to take a huge gamble not just with our country, but with his own political interests. As I said earlier, gambling with the country is worse, but gambling with your own interests is a different kind of bad judgment, and worth noting in its own right. If you are selfish enough to put your own interests above the interests of your country, that's awful. But it doesn't move you into the realm of the wholly unpredictable, the people from whom you truly never know what to expect. (It's like being one of those dictators who are nonetheless rational enough that things like deterrence can work with them: you are bad, but bad in a way that makes it possible to anticipate what you might do next.)

Being willing to take a huge and reckless gamble with your own interests is not like that. It's not cool and collected selfishness that leaves room for some hope that if your interests and the interests of your country align, you might end up doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. It's sheer impulsive stupidity: an unwillingness to think, in even the most basic ways, before you act. That's a terrible trait in a President.

Consider what one of McCain's advisors said about how he made this decision: "This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn't get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge."

John didn't get what he wanted. Right. He could have waited to make his decision until after Palin had been thoroughly vetted. That, however, would have meant giving up his clever idea of announcing his VP pick the day after Obama's convention speech. Alternately, he could have gone with one of the people who had been thoroughly vetted: Pawlenty, for instance. But "neither was the transformative, attention-grabbing choice Mr. McCain felt he needed, top campaign advisers said". So he decided to gamble it all on someone he barely knew and had not vetted.

Was it pique at not being able to nominate the people he really wanted? A desire to be the "attention-grabbing" maverick again, or a Norma Desmond-like urge to show the young whippersnapper who has the gall to say that he's the agent of change how it's done? Pushing back against the discipline of a campaign? Or just plain unadulterated idiocy? I have no idea, though I suspect it's all of the above. What I do know, though, is that I don't want someone who makes decisions like this to be my President.

Hilzoy 11:24 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (65)

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Comments

Picking your VP should be like picking your children's guardian in the case of your death. You'd expect a minimum of due diligence--especially if it's someone who's basically a stranger to you.

That simply wasn't the way McCain approached this. There was really no respect for the responsibility and stewardship this decision demanded. Yes, he could have gotten lucky and picked someone great, but on a decision like this you simply shouldn't trust to luck.

Posted by: anonymiss on September 2, 2008 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

does this mean that Ridge and Lieberman declined, or that GOP overlords would not accept McCain's preference for either of them?

Posted by: bdbd on September 2, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

McCain is the Manchurian candidate. His mind is being controlled by the right wing, and his gonads are being controlled by Sarah Palin.

Posted by: bob5540 on September 2, 2008 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

If he had been 'rushed' this wouldn't excuse the pick. But he knew he was the nominee 5 months ago, and yet he doesn't make the pick until the last week, then gets turned down, and picks Palin.

The only argument I've ever heard that makes a military man 'especially qualified' for Pesident is that he is trained to stay cool 'under fire' and that he is trained in decision-making.

The Republicans thought they might be getting Dwight David Eisenhower.

They got George Armstrong Custer instead.

Posted by: Prup (aka Jim Benton) on September 2, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

He had six months to carefully make his VP pick, and obviously he waited until the last couple of days to actually make that important decision.

The man is not right in the head.

Posted by: Racer X on September 2, 2008 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

bdbd, Ridge and Lieberman would have caused a floor right (I believe it's because both are pro-choice) so unless McCain wanted to start his only little war inside the convention center, he had to pick someone else. I think THAT would have been pretty maverick.

Posted by: MNPundit on September 2, 2008 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

It's like starting surgery before you do an initial medical workup and diagnosis, or handing all your money over to a financial advisor before you find out whether she's legitimate.

True. Though I admit I rather like Billmon's analogy for the post-announcement vetting that the McCain camp is now doing on Palin. It's like "putting the condom on after having sex."


Posted by: JJF on September 2, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

He's taking a page from Nixon and going with the Madman Theory. He's so crazy and unpredictable no one is going to mess with us. Putin will be quaking in his boots and the entire Mid East will roll into the fetal position in fear the crazy old guy will chase them off his lawn with a nucoolar weapon.

Brilliance, sheer brilliance!

Posted by: martin on September 2, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

mccain's idea of VP responsibilities: to daily inquire as to the health of the president and attend funerals of 3rd world dictators. no kidding:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=apdFC-vh6Ng

i believe he's either losing his marbles or he's just plain delusional. however, i do believe palin is qualified according to mccain's definition of responsibilities.

the next thing you know mccain will be touting palin's husband for Secretary of Defense because he won a bar fight in fairbanks.

Posted by: entheo on September 2, 2008 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Big News Media have repeatedly reported that "left leaning blogs" were propagating the rumor that Gov. Palin's youngest was actually her daughter's child. I gotta say, as a person who reads left leaning blogs, I had seen no mention of this. Anyone else notice this? Or was this rumor put out there to take the edge off the news of Palin's daughter's condition?

Posted by: Martin on September 2, 2008 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Forgot to say our talking point should be "The VP is the most important pick, and he made that one at the last second without checking her out. So how badly will he do all the other appointments if he's elected?"

I'm sure the fundies think he hit one out of the park, but the rest of us will find his "vetting" process scarey at best. Will he appoint James Dobson to the Supreme Court? who knows!

Posted by: Racer X on September 2, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

At one point during the primaries, I speculated on this blog that it was unlikely women voters over age 50 or 55 would back McCain because he would remind them of their husbands, who are getting older and dumber by the minute.

I hope you and other bloggers will continue to hammer on this recklessness issue. It's impossible to bring up age directly, but focusing on judgement will have the same effect. After eight years of dry-drunk, we sure don't need four years of incipient dementia.

Posted by: dcsusie on September 2, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

Camera fades in to a close-up of Sarah Palin wearing the Alaskan national flag and an AK-47 rifle holding a cigarette lighter which is lit. Camera draws closer as palin ignites an American flag.

Camera pans back to a smaller image of the fag ablaze and the phone number for a membership to the AIP. Voice-over states: So that you don't forget, order your State's flag and an AK-47 before midnight tonight. (Cigarette lighter not included. Tax and shipping extra)That number is Muryhill 7-0500. That's Muryhill 7-0500.

Now, picture the same image except photo shop Michelle Obama with an Illinois fag. How do you suppose that would play itself out in the MSM?

Posted by: Stevio on September 2, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

John McCain as the new canonical example of a wanton. Wonderful!

And remember this too: I assume that the VP has highest level security clearance. Before choosing one's running mate, one might want to make sure that they will pass the test to get that security clearance. I don't know, maybe run an FBI check or something. It doesn't seem as if that was even done. There is a very concrete sense in which McCain's choice did put national security at risk.

Posted by: lisainvan on September 2, 2008 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

If Big Media is reporting that left blogs have been flogging the pregnanct rumors, then Big Media is getting played again.

the rumors originated with rightwing blogs who in an obviously orchestrated manner all proclaimed that the left blogs were spreading a rumor and then all spread the rumor themsleves. Those of us who read left blogs only heard the rumor later after it leeked into the Big Meida from the right.

it's classic Rove: cover the real problems by accusing the opposition of unfarly arracking your candiate over a faux issue. In this case the right created the faus issue.

Posted by: wonkie on September 2, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Big News Media have repeatedly reported that "left leaning blogs" were propagating the rumor that Gov. Palin's youngest was actually her daughter's child. I gotta say, as a person who reads left leaning blogs, I had seen no mention of this. Anyone else notice this? Or was this rumor put out there to take the edge off the news of Palin's daughter's condition?

It was a rumor current in Alaska (including in Alaska newspapers, but not in "left-leaning blogs") last year, based on the fact that apparently Palin never looked that pregnant.

Posted by: Stefan on September 2, 2008 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

You lefties are just envious of the great Sarah Palin.
Posted by: Crusader on September 2, 2008 at 11:40 AM

****************

the REPIGLICAN HEMMOROID JUST POPPED UP AGAIN .. SOMEONE GRAB THE PREPARATION H ... AND APPLY 'LIBERALLY' TO THIS EVIL MESS

Posted by: stormskies on September 2, 2008 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

It was a news-cycle pick.

It's that simple.

Posted by: airron on September 2, 2008 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

John didn't get what he wanted.

WTF? Who's running John's chicken-shit operation? He's trying to become President and he didn't pick who he wanted nor vet them properly? Game. Set. Match.

Posted by: ckelly on September 2, 2008 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

If you look at the total of John McCain's life you will see a lifetime of selfish and thoughtless, or downright stupid decisions. So what is new and why are we suprised? She is a former beauty contest contestant and a runner up for Miss Alaska; what more does he need to know?

Posted by: Gracious on September 2, 2008 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Two thoughts:

(1) Apparently through folks like Steve Schmidt, the Karl Rove way of thinking about politics is now part and parcel of how the McCain campaign operates. Isn't the Palin selection just a perfect example of McCain really isn't any different than Bush? The same kneejerk decision making, the same business of putting politics before good governance. Till the Karl Rove/Lee Atwater cancer is cut out of the Republican body politic, till they give themselves some electoral political chemotherapy (i.e., promote the honest Republicans, not the crooks), it's tough to see how they survive long-term as a party. Everything they do now seems to reinforce a basic message of incompetence in governing. I'd say it couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of white guys (after all, that's mostly what the R's are these days) but it would be nice to have an honest opposition party (say, one that stressed smaller government and a balanced budget) and a healthy debate.

(2) The Dems were perceived as losing steam since the 80's due to their interest-group politics; labor unions, abortion rights, whatever. Are we seeing the demise of the Republicans for their interest-group politics? Sarah Palin was a bone tossed to the anti-abortion interest group, or the women interest group, rather than being a Veep candidate who could transcend labels. Lay this at the feet of McCain; he ran as a maverick, but his choices show he is beholden as ever to the interest group politics.

Posted by: TomH on September 2, 2008 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

The McCain-Palin campaign says that they were forced to make her teenage daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy public, to counter the rumors supposedly being spread by "left-leaning bloggers" that Palin's youngest son was actually her daughter's son.

Does that mean that in the absence of such rumors, the McCain-Palin campaign would not have made her teenage daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy public? Would they have attempted to keep it secret until after the election?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 2, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

John didn't get what he wanted.

Umm....how is that possible? After all, let's not forget he's A Maverick! Isn't John the nominee? Isn't he the one in charge? Isn't he the one who gets to decide what he wants?

This is a bit of a damaging admission for them, as it reveals (again) that McCain isn't quite the take-charge guy he pretends to be.

Posted by: Stefan on September 2, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

what ckelly just said. Someone should ask him -- if you're not making the decisions on your campaign, who is? and will they also be making the decisions during a McCain presidency? can that person participate in the debates instead?

Posted by: halle on September 2, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

But "neither was the transformative, attention-grabbing choice Mr. McCain felt he needed, top campaign advisers said".

Well, John got what he wanted then after all. A transformative, attention-grabbing choice.

Yes, it's been mostly all negative transformation, and bad-attention-grabbing, but still.....

Posted by: Bob Loblaw on September 2, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

"This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn't get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge."

WHY didn't McCain get what he wanted? No courage of his convictions? Or is someone else running the show?

Posted by: OkieFromMuskogee on September 2, 2008 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

The funny thing is they vetted Palin more than BushCo prepared for Iraq.

Posted by: ack ack ack on September 2, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

I love Sarah Palin. She's the gift that keeps on giving. And a MILF. She's made this a lot of fun. Seriously, aren't we all having fun with this? She's awesome.

I'm sure as hell not envious.

Posted by: MillionthMonkey on September 2, 2008 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Well, Gigolo John already has a trophy wife. I guess he wanted a tropy VP as well.

Posted by: Stefan on September 2, 2008 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

It certainly has been funny cruising the lefty boards and seeing them shaking in their boots over the terror of a woman. You guys know this was a great pick, has energized the base of the republicans, and your pathetic attempts to pick apart her character and her family are pretty lame.

Now can we get onto the real contest and see how she stands up on policy and debate. I am confident she will do well.


Posted by: John Hansen on September 2, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Palin pick is analagous to McLame crashing a plane on an aircraft carrier. He is reckless, impulsive, erratic, unreliable. He shoots first and asks questions later, and we can not afford such a "maverick" in the White House.

Posted by: Doofus on September 2, 2008 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Big News Media have repeatedly reported that "left leaning blogs" were propagating the rumor that Gov. Palin's youngest was actually her daughter's child.

My son was giving me the details via reddit.com. Not sure the actual source though. It did move up reddit quite fast way before it was breaking on MSM.

"...it was unlikely women voters over age 50 or 55 would back McCain because he would remind them of their husbands, who are getting older and dumber by the minute."

Actually, it informs me that anyone who resembles my own X in manner, should be strapped for life in a strait-jacket. My own mom at 80 would never vote for an old guy like that, knowing what she does about the old guys she sees at senior events. It makes her giggle just to think about it.

:P~~~

Posted by: 63days on September 2, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Is there a political equivalent of malpractice? Because if there is, the choice of Palin is it.

Posted by: Stefan on September 2, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Just like Bush, more of the same. Who cares about proper credentials, it's all about what the man feels in his gut, or maybe a bit lower in this case.

If you liked Bush sticking it to Congress by nominating Harriet Miers to the supreme court and John Bolton to the UN, I'm sure you'll love the pandering maverick.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on September 2, 2008 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

What I do know, though, is that I don't want someone who makes decisions like this to be my President.
—Hilzoy

I finally figured out what's been bugging me about all the posts on this topic. Between you and Steve, you've been beating the dead horse of "No way now I'll ever vote for McCain!" which kind of implies that you ever would in the first place. Not.

I'm interested in how this is playing in Peoria, so to speak. What are the non-fanaticals thinking? Personally, I'm having a hard time not seeing this as a slo-mo train wreck for the Repubs, which of course makes it the gift that keeps on giving for the Dems.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 2, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Does that mean that in the absence of such rumors, the McCain-Palin campaign would not have made her teenage daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy public? Would they have attempted to keep it secret until after the election?
Posted by: SecularAnimist

Do you mean they ship her off to Australia to "visit relatives" until the baby is born like they used to do in the old days? Keep her stashed in an igloo? I doubt it. She probably has a facebook page already.

Posted by: SJRSM on September 2, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

This decision is McCain at gunslinging, fighter pilot best: react before thinking. In trying to steal the aura from the Dem convention, McCain had to pull the trigger quickly and did just that. Win a battle, but lose the war. Experience means nothing if a person doesn't have the good judgment to capitalize on it.

While McCain and Palin like to let their maverick flags fly by touting how often they have bucked their own Republican party, don't the Democrats buck the Republican party line even more often then that making them the real mavericks?

Posted by: petorado on September 2, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly the right argument. Forget about Palin's family problems. Hit on McCain's temperament and judgment. Just a few good foreign policy questions in the VP debate should show how irresponsible this choice has been.

And find a way to remind people that JSM's chances of finishing even a first term are not odds to on which to stake the future of the world.

Posted by: jrosen on September 2, 2008 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

"Now can we get onto the real contest and see how she stands up on policy and debate."

Yes, I really want to see her talking for herself and answering questions about her own record and about what policies she would adopt if she were to become President. The sooner the better, in fact. McCain thinks she's ready to be President. Let's see her in action for ourselves and make our own judgment. No quantity of surrogates peddling talking points about the distance between Alaska and Siberia can substitute for hearing the candidate in person.

On my side, I'm pretty confident that what we'll see if and when her handlers let her out is an attractive, smart, talented woman, but one with extreme rightwing views on various issues, some awkward skeletons in her closet (the AIP ??), and zero expertise in foreign policy and national economic issues. Bring it on.

Posted by: Richard Cownie on September 2, 2008 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

I can't believe this. I've never seen anything like it. I had to go through a background check to get my current job. Are you kidding me? Is this a joke?

Also- I wish somebody in the MSM would point out that the talking point of Palin having more "executive experience" cuts both ways. If she has more executive experience than Obama, then she has more then McCain too, who has only ever been elected to the House and Senate. Are they saying she's more qualified to be president than McCain?

Posted by: Haik Bedrosian on September 2, 2008 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

I have to ask, did McCain ever seriously think he was going to get Lieberman or Ridge as his VP? Be serious. Both are pro-choice and for the GOP base, that is a deal-breaker. I can understand if he was pissed, but sheesh, understand your party for once, Gramps.

Posted by: gf120581 on September 2, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

OMG I'm in stitches!

CNN was interviewing Sam Brownback.

Her exceptional foreign experience ("more than Sen. Obama") consists of: Dealing unilaterally with Canada! CNN's John Roberts got him to admit though, that the *experience issue* was off the table.

Ed Rollins has just now said, "...IF she gets to tell her story [at the convention]...".

IF!!

Posted by: MsMuddler on September 2, 2008 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

What are McCain's actual credentials? Why would any sane person vote for him? I mean, sure he dropped bombs on the heads of innocents and I'm sure there are some idiot American Taliban members who think that makes him a hero, or that the fact that he got better treatment as a POW than the victims of his bombs did (at 72, POW McCain is still alive, how many of those innocents under his bombs can say the same?) makes him a hero, but what of rational people? Why would they vote for this empty suit? He's been in the Senate for how long? He fought in a war? And he still knows so little about national security that he supported slaughtering Iraqis as revenge for Saudi hijackers?

Again, what would cause a rational person to vote for this trainwreck?

Posted by: the on September 2, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Two points -

The Palin pick was rushed because of a groundswell of threats from the evangelical loonies that took care of Lieberman and Ridge as possibilities.

And the ex post facto vetting is not that surprising. The Republican Party assumes that it can control the fallout, so whatever skeletons Palin has aren't dealbreakers, just aspects of her candidacy that need to be spun.

It's a win for McCain!

Posted by: Barringer on September 2, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

It's also like invading a country on bad intelligence or trying to run an occupation without a plan. Do you see a trend here? George W.' was as ignorant of Iraq before he took it under our wings, as John McCain seems to be of Sarah Palin before he took her under his. And both report to the same Republican base.

Posted by: Ted Frier on September 2, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

"He wanted to do Joe or Ridge."

That's an image I could have done without.

Posted by: on September 2, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'll disagree. John McCain got exactly what he wanted when he chose Sarah Palin.

He got the support of the social conservatives and the Council for National Policy.

Without the strong support of the Council for National Policy McCain has no shot at all at the Presidency. With their strong support the odds shift a little towards a shot at winning.

Posted by: Rick B on September 2, 2008 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

All across the blogosphere - left, right and center - the one word that is popping up every where is gamble. Maybe appropriately so. McSame is known to play craps and gets off on the thrills available in high stakes action and the stakes are about as high as it gets now.

Here's what I think is happening. The Democratic Convention was the equivalant of crap dice for McSame - it wiped out his line bet, his place bets, his hardways and his bets on the hop.

Rolling the dice with Palin is equal to betting everything he has left that the come out roll will be 11.

Obama, on the other hand has been playing an extremely skilled game of no bluff poker. And for the moment, has checked - he's left the campaign trail for the day, Obama knows Palins candidacy is over and rather than gloat about it; he's creating the exactly correct spin to put on this gamble: Not what it says about Palin, what it says about Bush III. Temperament and Judgment.

Posted by: bcinaz on September 2, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Something else is also gained in the vetting process: you get to gauge how the candidates respond to the process itself.

There were reports that Biden's support staff saw the process as an opportunity. This showed Obama that Biden was open, willing to defend himself in a helpful way, actually had a useful staff, and that he was actually interested in the job.

Sometimes the process itself is what is important, more than any particular fact that is uncovered. I liken this to a college degeee. The information learned is of short usefulness. But it proves to everyone else that you can remain focused for long and short periods of time on things that are not all that interesting. This is even more true with advanced degrees. Most dissertations are of fleeting value, if any. But the process is a vetting. The degree is the final report of the vetting process. Doesn't mean anyone will hire you, but that is the price everyone must pay to get to that job interview.

McCain just hired someone from high school to defend him on a murder charge. His innocence, or his defender's virtue are totally unimportant.

Posted by: tomj on September 2, 2008 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

There's a really big vetting process called "The Primaries". Palin wasn't vetted by McCain and wasn't vetted by the public. There will be 1 VP debate. I bet there won't be extensive "catch-as-catch-can" press conferences with Palin where we can see her in action. IOW, the country is being asked to buy a pig in a poke.

Why didn't McCain just stick a finger in his dimple, twirl a curl in his hair, and coyly say "Not gonna tell y'a" when asked about his choice as VP?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 2, 2008 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

John Hansen wrote: "Now can we get onto the real contest and see how she stands up on policy and debate."

Yes, I am very interested to hear Sarah Palin explain her view that burning fossil fuels does not even "contribute" to the global warming that is already devastating Alaska -- particularly given that both Senator McCain, and the Alaska state global warming advisory group that Palin herself created, acknowledge that emissions from fossil fuels are driving global warming and climate change.

I am also interested to hear Sarah Palin hold forth on the fact that she doesn't "believe in" evolution and wants the Biblical creation myth to be taught in science classes on an equal footing with biological evolution.

Palin should also have great success in her debate with Senator Biden when she elaborates on her statement a couple of weeks ago that she doesn't even know what the Vice President of the USA does.

And while the Palin family insists that her teenage daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy is a "private family matter", that is certainly not the case regarding Palin's views on public policy, such as her determination to criminalize abortion so that any teenage girl who is violently raped and becomes pregnant against her will, should be violently forced by the government to give birth to the rapist's offspring against her will.

During the 1988 presidential debates, Democratic candidate Governor Dukakis, who opposed the death penalty, was asked if he would oppose applying the death penalty to someone who raped and murdered his wife.

I think it is entirely appropriate that Governor Palin be asked what she would do if her teenage daughter were impregnated in a violent rape, and made the "decision" to terminate the pregnancy. Would Palin regard her as a cold-blooded murderer? Would she want her daughter to be imprisoned or otherwise forcibly prevented from obtaining an abortion? If her daughter did in fact abort a fetus conceived in a violent rape, would Palin insist that she be prosecuted, and imprisoned or even executed for murder?

These are all legitimate questions about Palin's strongly held and publicly stated views on an important public policy issue.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on September 2, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oh my God. He really wanted to pick Lieberman. I thought that was just a wild hope on my part.

Thank you, universe. Thank you.

Posted by: David on September 2, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Again: Palin is a lead balloon, meant to look like such a horrendous choice for VP that when McCain runs out Ridge or Lieberman (or Olympia Snow or Christie Whitman, if he wants to stay w/a woman) the result will be a sigh of relief from the GOP rather than a floor fight at the RNC.

-Z

Posted by: Zorro on September 2, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

In defense of McCain, his campaign probably had polling data that said he had no chance of winning unless he made a game-changing pick. Unfortunately, his party insisted on someone litmus-tested. So the spec was a litmus-tested game-changer. I'm not sure who filled that bill besides Sarah Palin.

Posted by: kth on September 2, 2008 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

He had six months to carefully make his VP pick, and obviously he waited until the last couple of days to actually make that important decision.

I think this needs to be a MAJOR talking point whenever Palin is mentioned. McCain had nothing but time on his hands for MONTHS and MONTHS and then he made a last minute pick of Palin?!?? Think of how he could have used that time-- he could have thoroughly vetted everyone and anyone that made the list. There is absolutely no reason for him to have rushed this decision when he had so much time to do it right.

The bottom line is this-- Palin's introduction to the national scene has been little more than scandalous and salacious stuff. From her flip-flopping on the "bridge to nowhere", her teenage daughter's pregnancy to "troopergate," does America really want to invite this kind of drama into their living rooms? Palin's seriousness as a candidate has been dramatically undermined by all of this stuff. It doesn't mean she can't get past it-- especially if the GOP at-large decide that she's America's sweetheart-- but at this point it's looking worse for her by the day.

Posted by: zoe from pittsburgh on September 2, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

People were concerned that he stole Obama's convention thunder. He sure did. Now it's his storm due to his rushed and panicky decision to do that. Wait for the insider bickering over whose fault it was to begin. They clearly chose Palin for that dramatic effect thinking it couldn't backfire that badly. These are people who've been making bad decisons for decades, so why would they stop now? All they've got left will be slander, smear, lies and fear mongering.

Posted by: Dannyshenanigan on September 2, 2008 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

Republican blockhead John Hansen wrote: You guys know this was a great pick, has energized the base of the republicans

Thanks for going on record that a successionist like Palin is just hunky-dory with you and your fellow base Republicans, Hansen. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on September 2, 2008 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

These are people who've been making bad decisons for decades, so why would they stop now? All they've got left will be slander, smear, lies and fear mongering.

What do you mean, will be?

Posted by: Gregory on September 2, 2008 at 2:22 PM | PERMALINK

I think he just proved Obama right when he said that HE was the candidate with the temperament and judgment to be President.

There is a quote I saw in the last couple of days in which McCain said as a matter of pride that he likes to make decisions quickly, "faster than the other guy," and that some times gets him in trouble.

In his own friggin' words.

Posted by: No Way No How No McCain on September 2, 2008 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just waiting for Gwen Ifill to ask her whether she wore an American flag pin when she was a member of the Alaska Independence Party, and when she changed her mind about Alaska seceding from the United States.

Posted by: No Way No How No McCain on September 2, 2008 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Hold on, what about the storyline that the nominee isn't able to choose the running mate he deems best in the first place? How strong a leader is he if he feels Tom Ridge would make the better Vice-President, and someone is able to veto him? Why would it be different during his presidency?

Weak. Weak. Weak.

Posted by: Algernon on September 2, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Has anyone actually debunked the rumor or just taken Palin's word for it.

It would be nice if the News would bother to differentiate 'blog reporting' from the comments.

Back to the story. Does anyone believe for a minute that John's pants didn't chime in on this one ? There is a list of women more qualified and vetted he could have defaulted to, Hutchinson, Condi, or even Dole. But he decided to put all his chips on Ms Congeniality and lost.

Tell me again why we should give McCain the access to the nuclear football ??

Posted by: ScottW on September 2, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

3. What does this tell us about his likely decision-making process as commander-in-chief?

Posted by: catherineD on September 2, 2008 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

One point which seemed unchallenged during this weekend's news coverage was that the Palin nomination once again showed McCain's maverick streak.

The real story seems to be quite the opposite. As reported in today's New York Times (Palin Disclosures Spotlight McCain's Screening Process) and elsewhere, McCain's strong preference was to choose Joe Lieberman, or failing that, Tom Ridge as his vice presidential candidate. It was only when faced with the "outrage of influential conservatives who predicted an explosive floor fight at the convention and vowed rejection of Mr .Ridge or Mr. Lieberman by the delegates" that McCain went with Sarah Palin. The question to ask is,

"What would a real Maverick have done?"

Is there anyone who doubts that either Mr. Lieberman or Mr. Ridge, whatever one may think of them, is eminently more qualified to serve as vice president, or to assume the presidency than is Sarah Palin? In his selection of Palin, McCain has demonstrated that he is not Independent, that he is not a Maverick, and that he does not Put Country First. Rather, he is the captive of those who he once referred to as "Agents of Intolerance". Democrats should make certain that it is understood how deeply he has tarnished these brands.

His life's journey has taken him from being an involuntary prisoner of war, to a self-incarcerated prisoner of the culture wars.

Posted by: Artie on September 2, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Hwhlkecd on June 28, 2009 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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