Notice What’s Missing from this Thorough List of Vetting Discovery?

The McCain campaign has finally realized how badly picking Sarah Palin as his running-mate reflects on the candidate. To rebut the reports that "the McCain team used little more than a Google Internet search as part of a rushed effort to review Palin’s potential pitfalls," they’ve trotted out an anonymous aide to provide details of the vetting they did.

Before she was chosen to be Sen. John McCain’s running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin submitted to a three-hour interview with the head of his vice presidential search team, and responded to a 70-question form that included "intrusive personal questions," a senior campaign aide said Monday.


The process included what aides described as a full search of public documents and videos of her speeches. That included a review of Alaska newspapers, but not Palin’s local newspaper because aides worried that going through back issues would indicate that she was under consideration to be McCain’s running mate. 

This anonymous aide would have you believe that they’ve found everything that has been amusing and appalling us all weekend.

"Nothing that has come out did not come out in the vet. She was fully vetted," the senior aide said. 

But here’s the list of things they claim to have found in the vetting process (the list given in this AP article is identical):

  • Troopergate
  • Bristol’s pregnancy
  • Todd Palin’s DUI
  • Her ticket for fishing without a license
  • Her earlier support for Pat Buchanan

Now compare that to one of the lists that tries to capture Palin in all her wonderfulness (here’s one from Bowers). There are a few things missing:

  • Palin’s claim to oppose the Bridge to Nowhere was a lie
  • Palin not only directed one of the 527s McCain claims to hate–it supported profile in corruption, Ted Stevens
  • Palin was also a big fan of the earmarks that McCain claims to oppose as a central plank of his campaign
  • Palin, the apparent Veep candidate for a campaign whose theme got changed to "Country First" to accommodate such an inexperienced Veep, has ties to a secessionist groups whose motto is "Alaska First"

You think some enterprising journalist will get around to asking why McCain’s campaign neglected to mention these items in its list of things they learned before picking Sarah Palin to be their Veep?

Did they learn her reformist credentials were just a front for the same old Alaskan Republican corruption and not want to admit that they didn’t care? Or didn’t they find those tidbits?

Likewise, did they know that their candidate has, in the past, aligned with a group that puts state before country, but that they thought white radical separatist groups were okay, just not black ones? Or was that, too, news to them?

They claim they found all this stuff. But either they didn’t–and don’t want to admit how incompetent their supposedly thorough vetting process was. Or, they did, and don’t want to admit they don’t care that their candidate is a radical with the same fondness for corruption that brought down the Republican party.

In either case, it still doesn’t say much for McCain’s seriousness about picking his VP nominee.

  1. Leen says:

    sure have to wonder as others have pointed out on your blog if this is part of the plan? She drops out, Lieberman or Romney drop in.

    • manys says:

      sure have to wonder as others have pointed out on your blog if this is part of the plan? She drops out, Lieberman or Romney drop in.

      How about: she doesn’t drop out, the issues so far are explained as problems everybody has, and the remaining mysteries in the World Of Palin are sewn up in a narrative being written right now and trotted out over the next month or so.

  2. eyesonthestreet says:

    Good Morning, this has me wondering: “just a front for the same old Alaskan Republican corruption “

    I am not so sure it is limited to Alaskan republicans. Dengre at Kos had a diary on sunday night

    In fact she may already have a few in her closet. The big one is most likely the recent Gas Line license awarded to TransCanada. Yeah, of course it is potential scandal about fossil fuels—we are discussing Republicans after all.


    As Murkowski took office there were several competing factions within the Alaskan GOP for control of the oil/gas wealth. Murkowski was one faction seeking control and he did not play well with others.

    The big issue facing Alaska was how to build a pipeline to move natural gas from Alaska, through Canada to the lower forty-eight States. Murkowski had a plan and he tried to force it through. In June 2006, wrote that the Gas pipeline dispute fuels wild Alaska race. This dispute was the key to Murkowski’s downfall:


    Murkowski had made powerful enemies by not playing along with the system of Republican corruption in Washington. In the end they took him out and replaced him with somebody they could get along with, the easily marketed Sarah Palin

  3. FrankProbst says:

    I’m posting this question over at the mothership, too: Does anyone know if she really CAN drop out once she’s on the ballot? I honestly don’t know the answer, and this isn’t my area of expertise. My (admittedly limited) understanding is that the ballots are a made up on a state-by-state basis, and the President/Veep slots usually go on the ballots as a single unit. I would imagine that the what-if-someone-drops-out-or-becomes-incapacitated scenarios would all have to be dealt with on a state-by-state basis. Does anyone know?

    • Peterr says:

      What you have to remember is that it is the electoral college that elects the president and vice-president, not the direct votes cast by the voters. The voters are technically choosing electors who will presumably vote in accordance with their state’s preference. Should Palin leave/be removed by the GOP from the ticket before the election, I have no doubt that the RNC would choose someone by some process to be the party’s new VP candidate. Meanwhile, state laws would kick in as to whether Palin’s name could be removed and replaced with someone new. In any event, the GOP electors chosen by the voters would likely cast their ballots for whomever were the official GOP standardbearers, regardless of what names appear on the ballot.

    • scribe says:

      My sense is that you are correct, though the cases which tossed out state-law-imposed term limits for Congresscritters all revolved around the principle that the only qualifications which mattered and were enforceable were those specifically enunciated in the Constitution. Those state law provisions had limited ballot access to those who were not term-limited. Since that requirement (limiting ballot access) was not in the Constitution, it could not be allowed to remain.

      Thus, applying that same principle to the VP nomination, no ballot access restriction could be applied to prevent a substitution of one VP nominee for another, probably even through the date of the election, so long as the incoming candidate met the Constitutional requirements to be President – over 35, native-born citizen, and not from the same state as the running mate.

      Whether anyone could go to court to enforce those Constitutional requirements is an entirely different matter. The term limits were tossed after putative candidates who were denied ballot spots sued – they were personally aggrieved enough to have standing. OTOH, a voter would likely not have standing to sue. There was a case after the 2000 election in which someone from Texas sued to prevent Bushie and Deadeye from being sworn in, on the ground that they were both from Texas (violating a Constitutional requirement) and that Deadeye’s supposed switch from Texas resident (while heading Halliburton) to Wyoming resident was fraudulent. His case was tossed for lack of standing to sue to enforce it.

      • DeadLast says:

        “His case was tossed for lack of standing to sue to enforce it.”

        All the more need for an independent judiciary, one that is willing to follow both logic and the constitution. I suppose that the Texan who sued lacked standing, either because she was not impacted or effected in anyway by the selection of the president of the USA — or she was not a member of the electoral college and therefore didn’t really have a right to representation.

        In terms of Palin and the vetting, this whole thing is good. One more bright light on the manufacturing of politics. Now, if we can use this to help the GOP build integrity into their platform. They used to be an idealistic party that believed in the competition of ideas. They accepted the fact that many didn’t buy their vision with magnanimity. Now they don’t bother with competition — they have moved to embrace mandatory cram-downs as a substitute for democracy. It is more efficient (except when they are wrong — that is make a Type II error).

    • lllphd says:

      of course she can drop out. at any time. this is not a death pact, to coin a phrase.

      she could even resign once (gasp! horrors!) elected?!!

      tom eagleton was replaced by mcgovern with shriver after the convention in 72.

      the comparison is weak, except that we may well see that this too will tank a campaign.

      however, the comparison falls apart there because eagleton’s only ‘crime’ was his prior treatment for depression. palin, on the other hand….. (pick a scandal…)

  4. Peterr says:

    They claim they found all this stuff. But either they didn’t–and don’t want to admit how incompetent their supposingly thorough vetting process was. Or, they did, and don’t want to admit they don’t care that their candidate is a radical with the same fondness for corruption that brought down the Republican party.

    Or . . . they’re incompetent and didn’t find this stuff AND they don’t care that their candidate is a radical with the same fondness for corruption that brought down the Republican party.

    Being incompetent is not incompatible with being uncaring.

    (I’ll leave listing the examples of this statement in the Bush Administration to others . . .)

  5. AZ Matt says:

    From Alaska Real blog site.

    Palin – Alaska Native issues

    Any venture into the Alaska Native community has been superficial at best. I can’t even take issue with her Alaska Native policies, because she has NOTHING of substance. She has ignored Alaska Native people from before she took office as governor – an act all the more harmful because it is her own children’s heritage she is not acknowledging.

    The only thing I know she’s “done” for Alaska Native people – fire them. Or not hire them in the first place. The more recent one is Walt Monegan. I absolutely don’t believe she fired him because he was Native – I believe she fired him because he wouldn’t fire her ex-brother in law- despite the investigation that had already been done on him, with findings and reprimand.

    The most troubling part of all of that was, here was a man who was finally doing something about the horrible rates of violence and abuse in Rural Alaska – and for Alaska Native people. He was passionate about these issues. So she fires him. To “go in a new direction.” The problem was, she hired a guy to replace Monegan who had been reprimanded for sexual harrassment. And she never could explain what that “new direction” was.

    I don’t know what Sarah Palin’s views on Alaska Native issues are, mostly because she hasn’t said what they are. She’s skated by without addressing those issues so far. But before she fires any more staffers for personal reasons, she needs to remember we’re here, and that these firings can affect Native people in a big way.

  6. bmaz says:

    Kind of amusing that a couple of weeks ago McCain’s campaign was yammering about how Obama had not vetted the most vetted woman in the history of national politics, Hillary Clinton, for VP and then blithely name what must be the most unvetted woman in national politics, Sarah Palin, as VP.

  7. scribe says:

    The NYT article on the “vetting” also indicates the rather sloppy way it was handled.

    My conclusion:
    1. The Party Elders told McCain he could not have the choice he wanted – Lieberman or Ridge, and the campaign told him Romney or Pawlenty were losers, so he had to find someone else. This came late in the game – maybe even last week – compressing the time frame.
    2. The excessive secrecy inherent in being a Republican kept them from digging too deeply into anyone who wasn’t already a prominent possibility. Sudden activity looking at Republican X would have set everyone off.
    3. The compressed time frame, forced by (a) McCain’s being intransigent on wanting Holy Joe or Ridge and the Party wanting to appease the base (irresistible force, meet immovable object – this kept the pick from being vetted for most of the summer, I’d bet) and (b) McCain wanting to sh*t on Obama’s parade by naming his pick right after Obama’s speech (this alone stole a week from McCain) really f’d any sense of schedule or organization (Are you seeing a theme – disorganization, not doing one’s homework, and all ad hoc, all the time, here?).
    4. McCain got a look at her and, as he’s done so many times in the past, followed his unit rather than his brain. He’s already come out and said she’s his “soulmate”.
    5. All this combined with (a) McCain being p*ssed off b/c he was told he couldn’t have what he wanted, (b) McCain’s bad-pilot penchant for making snap decisions and (c) not a little vindictiveness at the Party both for 2000 and for telling him “no” now, has gotten him into digging in his heels. He’s in a position that he’s saying “if I have to lose – again – and without my first choice, then you’re going down with me.” He indulged the crapshooter mentality and set off to chase his losses, hoping for the good roll.

    Generic Republican corruption – sure. But it’s made all the worse by the character traits of the nominee, who’s ultimately in charge of it all.

  8. AZ Matt says:

    Just how desparate are Republicans? The Doughy Pantload in column at the LA Times gives a fair indication of how bad things are: Hold Nose Before Entering

    Readers of National Review Online — a reliable bellwether of conservative sentiment — flooded the site with e-mails throughout the long weekend. The messages ran roughly 20-1 in almost orgiastic excitement about the pick. On Friday, one reader expressed Christmas-morning delight over the gift of Palin, proclaiming that McCain had just “given us our Red Ryder BB gun.”

  9. BooRadley says:

    “Her ticket for fishing without a license”

    First I heard of that. The “elitist” Republican sense of entitlement strikes again. I hope she gets a chance to kill hunt penned quail with DeadEye.

  10. AZ Matt says:

    No Love Lost. From Sidney Blumenthal at HuffPo: McCain vs. Bush

    The Battle Between McCain and Bush: The Cancelled First Night, The “Furious” President and the Palin Gambit

    Hurricane Gustav was “a big blessing,” according to a source close to the McCain campaign. Facing a Katrina level wipeout–the landfall in St. Paul of both President Bush and Vice President Cheney–McCain felt trapped. How could he prevent the President and Vice President from appearing at the convention? Only an act of God could intervene. Suddenly, a hurricane whipped up in the Gulf and looked headed for New Orleans. Like a divinely inspired miracle, a storm to blow away Bush and Cheney had been conjured.

    The McCain campaign and the Bush White House negotiated terms that unfolded as a script over the past several days, several sources told me. First, Bush announced he must oversee the preparations for dealing with the hurricane. He would not be able to attend the convention. Cheney, too, would drop out. In order that Bush and Cheney not seem to have been humiliated, McCain cancelled the entire proceedings for the first evening.

    Almost certainly, Bush had to cancel his planned speech while Gustav loomed. But the sources say he didn’t like the idea and felt pushed. Bush is described by sources as “furious” at McCain for being deprived of his last appearance before his party, which nominated him twice, as a sitting president. He believes he is being treated disrespectfully.

    Shuttering the convention for a night was probably inevitable given the hurricane, but to provide a cover-up for scratching Bush and Cheney it became absolutely necessary. But once the hurricane passed, Bush asserted his primacy as president and forced his way back on the schedule to deliver a satellite speech to the convention.

    McCain’s selection of Governor Sarah Palin of Alaska reflected his impulse to reject Bush. As I explained in a previous article in the Huffington Post, he really wanted to name Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate, but that option was a political impossibility that would have provoked an open revolt at the convention. Karl Rove tried to manipulate McCain into choosing Mitt Romney, endorsed by almost all members of the Bush family (except the president who had to remain above the fray). Rove organized a campaign against Lieberman and other potential choices. There could be little doubt that Rove was doing Bush’s bidding. But McCain, resentful of Rove’s maneuvering, outflanked him with Palin.

    • al75 says:

      So, after all the failed and incoherent policy, and all the damage he has done, the Bush presidency ends in a petulant snit because he didn’t get to give a speech at the convention.

      There’s a measure of the man.

    • Leen says:

      I was deeply disappointed in Sidney Blumenthals response to Hugh’s questions and comments about impeachment during Blumenthals visit to Firedoglake. Blumenthal said that impeachment efforts would have appeared to be “vengeful partisanship” by the Democrats if they would have pushed for it. Just when did holding an administration ACCOUNTABLE for producing and disseminating false WMD intelligence, invading a country based on a “pack of lies”. torture, more torture, outing an undercover agent, an illegal wiretapping program, politicization of the Dept of Justice, etc etc (pick your crime) start being defined as “vengeful partisanship”? I thought we were supposed to be a country based on the rule of law.

      Damn Sidney was disappointing on this critical issue.

      Sidney to Hugh “Some congressional Democrats have done brilliantly, like Henry Waxman in his conduct of his House committe investigating wrongdoing. That should be the standard for committee work. The committees have not been used to their maximum effectiveness.

      On impeachment: I have always thought this was a distraction and miscue. As everyone can see, it will not happen. It was never going to happen. And if it did it would paradoxically overshadow the administration’s shortcomings by becoming the only show in town and making the Democrats seem like vengeful partisans, like the Republicans who staged the Clinton impeachment. In any case, it’s a non-starter.

      I do believe we need something like a national commission to investigate the administration’s torture policy and to make recommendations regarding restoration of the rule of law. This might fall to the next Congress to create or the next president.

      SINCE WHEN DID SIDNEY START EQUATING HOLDING AN PRESIDENT ACCOUNTABLE FOR LYING UNDER OATH ABOUT A BLOWJOB TO A CONGRESS WHO SHOULD HAVE HELD THIS ADMINISTRATION ACCOUNTABLE FOR AN INTELLIGENCE SNOWJOB that has directly resulted IN HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DEATHS AND INJURIES. Oh did I forget to mention 5 million Iraqi refugees. Holding those responsible for this would have been “vengeful partisanship”. Sidney has been inside the machine far too long.

    • perris says:

      Rove organized a campaign against Lieberman and other potential choices. There could be little doubt that Rove was doing Bush’s bidding. But McCain, resentful of Rove’s maneuvering, outflanked him with Palin.

      man, I hope joe gets some of that emailed to him and opens a nice can of payback, to which I am sure joe has information that would do just that

      *crosses fingers*

  11. WilliamOckham says:

    OT: The report on AGAG’s document handling miscues also references documents related to a TS/SCI “detainee interrogation program”.

    I’m still trying to determine the timeline on these documents…

  12. 4jkb4ia says:

    In a wound of an ugly hypothesis by an ugly fact, McCain was so determined to have Lieberman speak at the convention that Rudy has been scratched from the keynote slot and Fred Thompson and Joe Lieberman will take that time to speak about their personal experiences with John McCain. H/T Open Left. Admittedly Palin was supposed to be on the schedule for tonight, but that was before McCain had a VP pick. Something disastrous will have to happen in the next 24 hours for Joe Lieberman to speak two nights in a row, the second as the VP candidate, and the delegates not to have open revolt. Perhaps a manufactured Iran provocation, who knows? There was some sarcasm in that last sentence.

  13. yonodeler says:

    I have to quit thinking in bumper sticker slogans so junk like that below won’t come to mind.

    Poachers for Palin

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      mmmmm…. wouldja wanna bet on a few former Greenberg Traurig types…?

      Just coming up at TPM, this little sign of linkages leakages between Our Vandal Princess, the Mayor of Wasilla, and… potential Abramoff ties.

      Who’da thunk?


      Also, for a little more context here’s an item from mid-August re: evangelical leader Land recommending Gov Palin as VP:…..o-mcc.html

      I hope all EWheelies saw the YouTube link at TPM of Campbell Brown’s exasperation at being lied to by the McCain staffer who claimed Palin had been vetted ;-))

  14. LabDancer says:

    WARNING: Metaphor Avalanche Area

    Actually, I love that McAssGazing picked a snowmobiling Valkyrie.I’ve been so confused at the mixed messages:

    Are they Boris & Natasha? Or Moose & Squirrel? If the latter, which is Squirrel?

    If Hurricane Sarah had been born into a dubiously acquired beer fortune, she’d be running her mouth right now as presumptive Frist [sic] Lady & from that duck blind she’d actually be dangerous.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Your wit is as skewering as ever, but having a bit more time this p.m. to check out a wider variety of sites — including, which includes a video interview of Ron Paul talking about how the GOP basically made him pick up his convention pass **at the door** and wouldn’t even let him bring a staffer, I wonder whether we aren’t looking into a potentially dreadful cultural abyss.

      I have to admit that I was impressed Glenn Beck (!) called it like I also see it – there’s a ‘trailor trash’ aspect to this whole VP nominee that has the potential to arouse some really deep resentments. And I don’t see anyone with Mrs Palin’s ’spunk’ giving up a VP position, which she evidently sought fairly actively, without one hell of a catfight and a generation of bad, b-a-d feelings.

      I’m starting to wonder whether Bob Barr may pick up more votes in a few counties (certainly precincts!) of my state than McCain will have. I realize it sounds bizarre, and while there’s a lunacy to this whole McCain VP selection on absolutely legitimate grounds (experience, preparedness) it’s hard to believe that ANY nominee for Pres could have made such a dreadful mistake.

      Ironic, too.
      Wonder whether, in retrospect, Rove is sorry he didn’t just let McCain go ahead and pick Lieberman. Mwahahwhahaha….

  15. Sara says:

    As others observed, the replacement of Eagleton by Shriver in 1972 is the only precedent we have to go on here — and key to it is time. It happened within a week after the end of the Convention, the Democratic National Committee accepted Eagleton’s resignation, and has via the bi-laws, the power to make the substitution. In fact all state Democratic Parties have this power — it was used here in Minnesota, for instance, to replace Paul Wellstone with Walter Mondale in 2002.

    Otherwise it also depends on State Laws. In Missouri in 2000, they did not have the power to replace the Senate Candidate who died about a month before the election, and even though dead, he beat Ashcroft. Missouri had no State Election Law supporting a replacement in 2000, in 2002, Minnesota did have that legal avenue available to them. Minnesota had that law due to the need for the Republicans to replace a Governor’s candidate in 1900, when Grundseth, the Nominee, was caught with a mistress, and in addition skinny dipping with some of his teen-aged daughter’s friends. He was forced to resign, the State Republican Committee nominated a replacement, this was challenged in the State Courts, and the State Supreme Court ruled the substitution be made, but also wrote that the State Legislature needed to clarify the rules. They did, we used them in 2002.

    What governs all this is whether it is possible to provide all voters with an updated ballot. You just can’t assume that someone who voted absentee for let’s say Paul Wellstone in 2002, intended to vote for Walter Mondale. You have to provide for a means for voters to alter their ballot if a change is made. If you do early voting where a ballot cannot be recovered for the individual voter — you can’t make a substitution. If you do Absentee Ballots, where the ballot is still in an envelope with the voter’s name attached, they you can write proceedures for substitution. At least in 2002, the cost of doing substitutions is born by the State Party and Candidate Committees — Minnesota’s DFL had to spend lots of money on UPS and DHL to substitute all those early Wellstone Votes in 2002. Given that it appears Ohio will have an on-site registration and early voting window at the end of September, early October — it looks like they could not do substitutions should the GOP ticket change, as these appear to be early voting, and not absentee ballots. There are, as one can see, 51 election laws on this matter. At least as far as Presidential Elections are concerned, this cries out for Congress to set a common national law on the matter.

  16. acquarius74 says:

    The husband, Todd Palin, should have been investigated for his intervention in the governor’s official activities. He sat in on official meetings of the governor (reminder that it is really he that they are dealing with). He also received carbon copies of all the governor’s e-mails. Here is the link:

    That doesn’t look right. Just Google: Todd Palin, Shadow Governor?

    This article indicates that the husband is to the wife (governor) what Cheney is to GWB. This, in my opinion, is very serious.

    Let’s not be so distracted by the sleazy, soap-opera, trailor trash endless episodes of this family that we miss the real dangers of Ms. Palen as VP.

    I also researched the Pentecostal beliefs, of which the Assembly of God is one element. This is scary. (As Gov. Ms Palen removed federal funds from 3 largest cities of Alaska and redirected them to Faith Based Institutions. Is separation of church and state the next to go??

    The comments to this article are excellent.