It was a quick pick


“With time running out — and as Mr. McCain discarded two safer choices, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, as too predictable — he turned to Ms. Palin. He had his first face-to-face interview with her on Thursday and offered her the job moments later. Advisers to Mr. Pawlenty and another of the finalists on Mr. McCain’s list described an intensive vetting process for those candidates that lasted one to two months.

“They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe [Lieberman] or [former Homeland Security Secretary Tom] Ridge.”

“In the final stages, two Republicans familiar with the process said, Mr. McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, emerged as a key advocate for Ms. Palin.”

NYT: Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process

If true — that McCain’s personal first choices were Joe Lieberman and Tom Ridge — that’s interesting. It shows his personal  preference would have produced: (1) a running-mate with whom he had a close personal relationship; (2) a strong national security ticket; (3) a pro-choice running-mate.

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It was a quick pick

  1. Going to the NY Times for the inside scoop of McCain campaign is suspect. McCain use to be their fav Republican but the paper was all too happy to do a hatchet job on him a few months back.

    I read somewhere yesterday that McCain was seriously considering Lieberman. The campaign asked influential Repubs what they thought about the idea and discovered it would go over like a lead balloon. They threatened a floor fight over vp pick, they were going to put up another nominee to go against Lieberman and see who the delegates preferred.

    Palin has been inspired pick. She has energized the base and is now starting a culture war debate, which always favours the Repubs. As long as the vetting was thorough, and there are no major skeletons in her closet, she is going to attract lots of independents.

  2. JWL–the only thing this shows is that the Republicans can’t win on ideas or on their record. Instead they have to reach into the back of their closet to find someone with no great record of achievement in order to launch a culture war. Nice.

  3. Dean P

    Culture war debate raises all types of ideas and viewpoints, they just aren’t favourable to Dems.

    And lets say I agree with your statement “find someone with no great record of achievement”. I am curious to know what Obama has ‘achieved’? There is not much to the guy other than he’s charismatic and has ability to give spell-binding speeches. He comes across as typical bolshie pol who is trying to hide his real beliefs because he knows his ideas are fringe at best.

  4. It may have been a rushed pick, but it has several considered advantages. No one expected this. Obama was almost speechless on 60 minutes when asked about her. It also sucked the wind out of the DMC bounce to the point there isn’t a bounce. And going into the campaign and debate, because of her lack of profile, expectations will be low.

    I agree with jwl, if you examine her experience, she doesn’t match up too badly against Obama.

  5. I hear she even has more executive experience then McCain/Biden/Obama combined! She should be at the top of the ticket. I wonder if Palin will become McCain’s Bridge to Nowhere. And who knew that there was an Alaskan Independence Party two days ago? Amazing.

  6. Isn’t the whole point on the “quick pick” thing though that no one’s seems entirely confident that Palin was properly vetted? That McCain was forced into making a hasty decision when he couldn’t get his way on who he REALLY wanted to be VP (and what it says about the Presidential nominee’s leadership that he COULDN’T GET HIS WAY!)?

    I don’t think the shoes that have dropped so far (the whole thing with her brother-in-law, the thing with her daughter, the fact that she once belonged to the secessionist “Alaskan Independence Party”) are quite as worrying to the McCain team as that fact that there are now reporters all over Alaska looking for info, and they’re not entirely sure what those reporters are going to find. The thing with her daughter is meaningless. The thing with her former brother-in-law is too, at least until the report comes out in October (bet they have their fingers crossed!). The thing with the Alaskan Independence Party is symbolically not that helpful.

    What one REALLY wonders though, is what will come out about Palin in week two?

  7. The question here is was Palin even vetted properly and I think that we are discovering that she was not. Aside from her inexperience and lack of qualifications (not to mention lack of interest in things like foreign affairs), we’re coming up against some pretty damaging revelations – abuse of executive power, support for the Alaskan Independence Party, supporting pork-barrel spending (including the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, even though she claimed on Friday that she fought it), etc, etc, all things that would have been *easily* caught by even a half-serious professional vetting job. And to top it all off, there is that slightly pathetic whiff of small-time politics to the whole affair, which makes the whole thing seem like….well, like a particularly nasty meeting of the Chatham, ON, PTA.

    Now top Republicans are forced to defend her record by reminding people that Palin has a son in Iraq (making her, apparently, an expert on Iraq and the entire Middle East), that Alaska very nearly borders Russia (making her an expert in Russia, eastern Europe, heck, even the EU), and let’s not forget her all-important brood of 5 children, making her an expert in…what, family law?

    Here’s hoping she never gets a chance to fire the head of Homeland Security because he cut her off on the freeway once.

  8. The biggest worry for McCain would be a “week two”. This election was supposed to be a referendum on Obama. Not a referendum on whether McCain made a good VP choice or not. Even if the end people become sympathetic to Palin, there is a long tradition of politicians who people like and feel affinity for but still lose elections – and in this case, Palin isn’t even the primary candidate.

    As for trampling on Obama’s post-convention storyline… avoiding the inevitable backlash that would follow 2 days of fawning pro-Obama coverage could arguably be as much of a positive, especially since the lack of vetting meant that there wasn’t 3 days of glowing “triumph for women in politics” stories.

    In the end though, debates will have a far bigger impact on the race than this. Though maybe McCain not being able to go back to experience later on in the campaign if his current change/reform thrust doesn’t work might be a factor.

  9. Of course, the problem with the debates is that it’s possible that if Palin can keep breathing through her debate with Biden she’ll be deemed to have surpassed expectations.

    I do love the whole “Alaska borders Russia” argument though! It’s right up there with “she was Commander in Chief of the National guard” (no one can seem to point to a SINGLE DECISION Palin had to make in regards to her role as CINC of the Alaska National Guard… it’s really like giving Governor General Jean credit for being Commander in Chief of the Canadian Forces).

    What really gets me about the “Alaska borders Russia” argument though is that no one ever seems to mention that Alaska also borders the Americans’ number one source of foreign oil!

    It’s kinda insulting.

  10. I heard Sarah Palin is a muslim who was educated in a MOSQUE!!!!

  11. To suggest that Palin’s executive experience is meaningful, let’s remember that it’s in a state of 600,000 people, that has NO SALES OR INCOME TAX (meaning, essentially, she doesn’t have to do what other governors do, which is to work with opponents to balance a budget), and when the state had a large surplus thanks to oil revenues, she decided to cut everyone a $1,200 cheque.

  12. Mike T.,

    LOL, it’s almost to that point eh? That she’s making up for every hit against Obama.

    Obama’s not experienced enough? Check. Nominate a VP candidate who was a small town mayor and then spent 18 months as Governor of a tiny state with oil and gas revenues sufficient that a drunk, blind monkey could run the place.

    Obama and his wife aren’t patriotic enough? Check. Nominate a V-P who used to belong to a secessionist party that believes their state never legitimately entered the Union in the first place.

    At this point, it almost wouldn’t shock me to learn that Palin’s dad is a black man from Ethiopia!

    Of course, the main difference to be kept in mind between what’s come out about Palin and the whole “Obama’s a Muslim” thing is that what’s come out about Palin is true.

  13. Dean P

    Yes, we can have a debate on how meaningful her executive experience is. It’s just too bad we can’t have similar debate about Obama because he has none and so there is nothing to debate. And it’s only Obama who is running for the top executive job in the world.


    Stop reading left/dem sources and you will see there is plenty of talk about Palin’s experience with oil and her deal with TransCanada to build pipeline.

  14. Her experience with oil? “Oh we have gobs of cash, let’s hand it out!” rather than do something like invest in education or infrastructure. Great. And she’s fired anyone who’s ever crossed her. Great.

  15. Why do you hate America, LKO? SUPPORT THE TROOPZ!!

  16. Actually jwl it’s not “only Obama who is running for the top executive job in the world.”. I believe, if I’m not mistaken, that one John McCain is also running for that job.

    And he doesn’t have any executive experience either.

    I’m all for a “Palin/McCain” ticket though, if the Republicans think that “executive experience” is so important that running Wisella and Alaska trumps serving in the U.S. Senate.

  17. LKO

    Yes and no about McCain’s executive experience. He doesn’t have exec experience in political realm, I agree, but he does have exec experience from his time in the navy.

    I think people care about exec experience when thinking of president because that’s what the job is. Making priorities, decisions.

    Spending time in the senate is completely different because they don’t make decisions there, they just debate issues and see how many earmarks they can dole out to their home states.

  18. I am looking forward to the VP debate to see how Sarah handles herself against Biden – that will be kind of interesting!

  19. The “bridge to nowhere” thing that was such a big part of Palin’s unveiling is also fascinating to me. I mean, first, there’s the fact that she was for the “bridge to nowhere” before she was against it. I just find that humorous for obvious historical reasons.

    What most people probably DON’T know is that while she cancelled the building of the bridge, Alaska STILL GOT THE WHOLE FEDERAL EARMARK. Sure, the bridge didn’t get built (and good, it would seem) but the federal government simply turned around and gave Alaska the exact same amount of money to spend on transportation infrastructure as they see fit. The “bridge to nowhere” became simply “here’s the money, spend it however you like”. That’s hardly the crusade against wasteful federal earmarks to states that’s portrayed, is it?

    What’s even better, Palin’s already spent tens of millions of dollars building the road that’s meant to link up to the bridge!!! So, basically, the “bridge to nowhere” became, in part, the “road to nowhere”. At least the proposed bridge didn’t LITERALLY go nowhere. It linked one island to another. The road just stops where the bridge was supposed to be.

    As her former campaign coordinator in the region, Republican Mike Elerding has said of the big “I said no to the bridge to nowhere” applause line: “She said ‘thanks but no thanks,’ but they kept the money.”


  20. As for the VP showdown, Palin is expected to have the edge over Biden in the swimsuit competition, but the real battle will come in the talent competition: Palin’s baton twirling will go up against Biden’s vaunted demonstration of how to properly pack a suitcase.

  21. “We are going to flush the toilet,”
    Tucker Eskew
    Senior Adviser to Ms. Palin

    That was Tucker explaining the campaign’s plans for yesterday.

    Make of that quote what you will.

  22. From the sublime to the ridiculous.
    She has experience at being #2.
    Beauty Queen runner-up.
    Whatever happened to #1?

  23. JPW–McCain has been in the Senate FOR-EV-ER. To say that he has some sort of meaningful and relevant executive experience from his time in the navy is really, really reaching. And it’s all that anyone seems to say he has going for him–that because he was a POW and served in the navy he has magical strategic wisdom on how to run a country, and that he’ll be a dashing commander in chief charging into battle on his brave white horse, sword in hand . . .

  24. Soory, jwl, not jpw. . . duh.

  25. Hey JWL, on that “it’s not going to be about ideas” thing that you so pleasantly mocked me for, how about this, from the horse’s mouth:

    Rick Davis, campaign manager for John McCain’s presidential bid, insisted that the presidential race will be decided more over personalities than issues during an interview with Post editors this morning.

    “This election is not about issues,” said Davis. “This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”


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