Karma: McCain’s Veep Announcement Timing Backfires

John McCain’s campaign thought they were being very clever, scheduling their VP announcement for the morning after Obama’s historic speech in Mile High. They calculated–correctly–that they could blunt the media excitement about that speech by staging their own big media event.

But their determination to pull off this nasty timing trick appears to be one of the biggest things that prevented them from managing the Palin announcement for maximum benefit. I have no doubt that Sarah Palin’s speech tonight will be the highlight of the Republican Convention (not least because she will be the only non-wrinkled speaker of the lot, and she is a great speaker on her own right). But it’s not clear the McCain campaign will repair the damage they did to themselves by managing the announcement as poorly as they did. In other words, their maneuvers to bigfoot Obama’s press coverage may be precisely the thing that prevents them from winning maximum benefit from what, handled differently, might have been a game-changer.

Here’s a timeline:

"Late" in week of August 17-23: Rove still trying to convince Lieberman to withdraw from VP consideration

Saturday, August 23: Obama names Biden as his running-mate

Sunday, August 24: Christian Conservatives finally convince McCain to give up on Lieberman pick; McCain speaks to Palin by phone

Tuesday, August 26: Hillary gives a great speech at DNCC, warmly endorsing Obama

Wednesday, August 27: Arthur Culvahouse conducts first in-depth face-to-face vetting interview of Palin; Palin also speaks to Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter; campaign first learns of Bristol’s pregnancy

Thursday, August 28: McCain campaign still researching Pawlenty; at 11 AM, McCain first meets face-to-face with Palin, he offers VP spot to Palin; Obama accepts nomination before 80,000 people at Mile High

Friday, August 29: McCain introduces Sarah Palin as his running mate

Monday, September 1: After the Enquirer tells the campaign it will reveal the news, McCain campaign reveals Bristol Palin is pregnant; McCain team dispatches team to Alaska to conduct more research on Palin;  at 10 PM, McCain campaign informs Phyllis Schlafly that Palin will cancel her appearance at Tuesday afternoon Republican National Coalition for Life event, which was set to honor the Governor

Tuesday, September 2: McCain releases email and video introducing Sarah Palin

A couple of things stand out from this timeline. As was already pretty clear, McCain first called Palin only after he knew Obama had not selected a woman for his running mate and he decided on her only after Hillary did so well at the DNCC.

More stunning, though, is that McCain first learned of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy less than two days before they announced Palin as the running mate. According to the Enquirer, Sarah Palin was pushing her daughter to get married right after the Republican Convention, but Bristol refused; this family squabble had to have happened over the last weekend (since otherwise the RNC timing would have been irrelevant). But even if Governor Palin had been able to win that argument, it would have been too late. Had the campaign not revealed the pregnancy, the Enquirer already would have long before the marriage. Because the McCain campaign decided on Palin just a day before they announced it, it left no time to straighten up that little family mess. And, it appears, it was only after that announcement of Bristol’s pregnancy that the campaign put Palin into seclusion, notably canceling an event that would have galvanized the pro life community in supporting Palin.

And note, the campaign did not even formally introduce Palin until well after the press had done it for them–it took them five days after the announcement to actually send out an email introducing their candidate.

Finally, none of the stories on the Palin vetting process refute my supposition yesterday: that the campaign did not learn of Todd Palin’s membership in–and Sarah Palin’s friendliness towards–a seccessionist political party until after it was already out in the press. They sent out proof of Palin’s continual Republican registration yesterday, at about the same time as TPM was verifying that Todd Palin had been an AIP member until his wife first ran for state-wide office. And I have no idea whether they knew of Palin’s fondness for earmarks or of her ties to a Ted Stevens 527 before they picked her. Did she lie to them about the Bridge to Nowhere the same way she lied to us?

Taken together, this timeline makes it clear that the McCain campaign made its decision at least partly in reaction to Obama’s actions, and they only learned of some damaging aspects of Palin’s background at the same time as the rest of the world was learning of them. They failed to do their own oppo research on Palin, and as a result, were (and are) much more vulnerable to those of us doing some of our own.

Now imagine how it could have been, had the campaign decided on Palin sometime between the cantankerous resolution to the Democratic primary in June but before the DNCC in August. That would have given the campaign two months to dig up these details on Palin, which would have (in turn) allowed them to try the head fake they tried last night, denying all association between Governor Palin and her separatist friends using her voter registration data. Bristol would have had an opportunity to marry Levi quietly (though presumably she’s already had four months to do so and hasn’t done so yet). And the Republicans could have laid the ground work to play up Palin’s anti-choice credentials with the Christian conservatives, rather than having to minimize that exposure by canceling an event already designed to honor her.

To say nothing of giving Sarah Palin the time to actually learn some national and foreign policy, rather than asking her to cram on how to run the world’s most powerful country in 72 hours as they are.

More and more observers are judging the story of the Palin nomination to be about McCain’s rash judgment. But one of the biggest reasons they’ve reached that conclusion is because the McCain campaign chose to play nasty by bigfooting on Obama’s convention buzz.

Update: Typo fixed per FrankProbst.

  1. Rayne says:

    Oh, you and I were in the same groove at the same time.

    Posted a short timeline, not as detailed as yours. Didn’t add the Rove bit because the audience is not as in the weeds as yours.

    Would like to know EXACTLY when they offered the slot to Palin, because I suspect they didn’t do it until they saw the crowd forming at Invesco Field and took a preliminary assessment of the potential television viewing audience.

  2. GregB says:

    That’s the funniest part of all. By trying to ratf*ck Obama, McCain and Rove ratf*cked themselves.

    Rove has toppled Doug Feith s the Most Stupid F*cking Man on Earth.


  3. FrankProbst says:

    Proofreading pickiness: I think “the same was she lied to us” should be “the same WAY she lied to us”.

  4. FrankProbst says:

    Cross-posted at the mothership. Here comes the next shoe, via HuffPo:

    Levi Johnston, a high school hockey player for Wasilla High School, is not listed on the team roster for 2008-2009, and his mother wouldn’t say if he graduated. She said simply he’s no longer a student and any further information would have to come from him.

    Question: If Barack Obama had a 17-year-old unwed pregnant daughter, and the father was a high-school dropout, would John McCain tell his people to back off?

    • emptywheel says:

      Or I wonder if the Governor told the Johnstons that he had to own up to his responsibilities?

      Frankly, I’ve long thought one of the ways liberals ought to present choice is in an equality stance: if the woman has to give up school to deliver the child, forgoing income for life, then the man ought to be asked to do the same.

      Still, both these kids are seniors. The pro-family thing to do would be to get them a high school degree.

      • FrankProbst says:

        That strikes me as a VERY bad idea for them. “The Enquirer” would be willing to pay this kid 6 figures for an exclusive.

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        Still, both these kids are seniors. The pro-family thing to do would be to get them a high school degree.

        I read somewhere this morning that Levi’s mother, in response to a press question, said that he is no longer in school. Has he dropped out? I’ll try to resurrect the link.

        • Minnesotachuck says:

          I found the link, thanks to the new library feature of Firefox 3. The pertinent info is in the 8th paragraph:

          Levi Johnston, a high school hockey player for Wasilla High School, is not listed on the team roster for 2008-2009, and his mother wouldn’t say if he graduated. She said simply he’s no longer a student and any further information would have to come from him. (Emphasis MC)

          The heading shows the piece came from Wisilla, and looks like it could be via a wire service, but I don’t know forsure.

  5. BooRadley says:

    Thanks ew.


    Per everyone else, the story that liberals can cover is McCain’s incompetence. The GOP has no clue what’s in her closet. My guess is that their greatest fear is that some old boyfriend has “Dr. Laura” photos of her.

  6. PJEvans says:

    Adding in the reports that the vetting team didn’t get to Anchorage until Thrusday last week, and that he only asked her on Thursday, I’m sure his vetting was limited to ‘Is she female, is she conservative, and is she acceptable to the base?’

    CNN is asking if women will vote for her: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITI…..index.html
    If they (any of the news media, any politicians) think that’s all that we look for in a candidate, they’re even more gullible than I thought.

  7. Arbusto says:

    The GOP seems completely cowed by the Evangelical religious right, as selecting Palin for VP shows. Yet only 7% of Americans are Sunday go to meeting, bible thumpers while 25% claim to be evangelical, yet don’t attend church. The triangulation in politics has threated our representative democracy with Obama racing to the right to get the “uniformed” voter while the GOP courts the Dobsons of the religious right.

    God Save Us All!

    ref: http://www.christinewicker.com/?p=25

  8. RevDeb says:

    I don’t know where Aravosis finds these things, but this video MUST go viral The GOP Vetting Emporium indeed!

    So I decided to write about the process I had to go through to get my job. LOTS more process to get a job as a minister of a smallish congregation than the one to become the veep. Oy.

  9. Leen says:

    Does not matter how much the Republicans have stumbled around the Pallin announcement. The obvious effort to “blunt” the enthusiasm after the Invesco event has worked in many ways.

  10. DefendOurConstitution says:


    You gotta give credit where credit’s due. Palin’s announcement on Friday completely took the limelight away from Obama. In that sense it was a complete success. Unfortunately for McShame, in politics “Any press is good press” does not apply when the press is really bad.

    In the end it does not matter as McCain clearly puts Country First w/Palin, as she is unquestionably proof that he made his VP choice with our Country interests in mind. He realy loves this Country and wants to make sure Barack Obama is elected in November! Brilliant, John, you are a national treasure!

    Democrats kept trying to link McCain to Bush/Cheney and selecting someone like Palin (cronyism and nepotism FIRST!) helps Obama make the case better than he could have by spending millions of dollars in commercials.

    • emptywheel says:

      Totally agree–as I said in the post.

      But all they had to enliven the GOP funeral this fall was Palin (and frankly, she’s a decent pick to do that, introduced carefully). But now they’ve spooged their wad, and Obama’s numbers are climbing in the middle of their convention.

    • Rayne says:

      Okay, props to McSame’s team for his political maneuver which check the media as it was giving Barack Obama high marks for his acceptance speech Friday night. They had to stop the media from carrying on about the over-capacity crowd at Invesco Field, and the 38-40 million television audience watching the speech, while halting conservatives from giving Obama any more praise.

      But a very solid kick in the ass to McSame for his ability to select his backup should he die or become incapacitated in office. McSame showed that he thinks the role of the vice president deserves the same kind of vetting one might give to a pool boy or lawn care staff.

      And in the end, it’s really not about cheap wait staff that McSame is supposed to be worried, if he truly puts his country first.

      It’s about the caliber and integrity and capabilities of the person who must be able to put their hand on the Bible at a moment’s notice.

      Like this.

      This wasn’t just about McSame’s incompetence. This was about his arrogance, his pride, and the lack of respect with which he treats us, the folks who must rely upon that second person when they put their hand on that Bible.

    • DeadLast says:

      You are right that it took something away from Obama…but from the media coverage and the talk on the street, no one is paying attention to the Repug convention either. Except as a circus sideshow.

  11. Leen says:

    amazing how many Republicans are repeating that the Palin’s daughters out of wedlock pregnancy is a private family affair. What a contradiction. What hypocrisy. They truly have no shame

  12. Arbusto says:

    Just read at TPM that Palin refuses to be interviewed by the Special Prosecutor appointed by the AK Senate and will only allow interviews by the State Personnel Board, lead by appointed Republicans.


  13. DeadLast says:

    “According to the Enquirer, Sarah Palin was pushing her daughter to get married right after the Republican Convention, but Bristol refused;”

    Pro Life obviously means no choice over whether to get married. No wonder Palin endorses the Alaska Freedom Party. Children, wives, animals are all chattel — in otherwords, welcome to 19th Century America.

    • Mason says:

      I recommend we let The National Enquirer continue to vet Palin for us.

      Now I know that I’ve been sucked down the rabbit hole along with everyone else and entered an alternate reality because in my wildest hallucinatory visions I never, let me repeat, I never imagined that I would seriously write such a recommendation. Have the terrists spiked our water supply with LSD?

      “Enquiring” minds want to know.

  14. DefendOurConstitution says:

    The National Enquirer stuff is a game changer. GOP hacks can attack the NYT and actually succeed in getting the base to show up by that, but they have no antidote for the National Enquirer. Let’s face it, it’s elitists like us liberal bloggers that read NYT, but hundreds of millions of Americans see the Enquirer at the checkout in their supermarkets.

    I am amazed Intrade has dropped below 10 on Palin withdrawing nomination. I am sure that it will stay below 10 today and tomorrow (as GOP circles wagons) and explode on Friday.

    • RevDeb says:

      I don’t think Intrade is wrong. The Godfather (Dobson) summoned a guy who needs to be in his good favor and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. Unless the Godfather changes his mind, McShame is stuck. Don’t think that’s going to happen. But, as always, YMMV.

      • emptywheel says:


        The only way she steps down is if the press picks up on the AIP stuff–and they seem totally satisfied with Sarah’s party registry, even in spite of the video for them and Todd’s own party registration.

  15. Leen says:

    Palin faces laundry list of complications
    “When she was introduced as McCain’s running mate last week, Palin portrayed herself as a political maverick in McCain’s mold: “I’ve stood up to the old politics as usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the big oil companies and the ‘good old boy’ network,”‘ she said.

    If Palin is such a “reformer” a “political maverick” standing up to the old politics as usual. Wonder if Palin will take on the issues of RESPONSIBILITY for the crimes committed by her party, by those in the Bush administration. She could take her pick, lies, false documents in the run up to the invasion, outing of Plame, torture, torture, torture, politicization of the Dept of Justice, illegal wiretapping. Wonder if Palin will take on the issue of Accountability for these crimes. Or will she as McCain, Obama, Biden and all of the rest keep repeating “we need to move on as a nation”, “turn the page”, “move forward”, “look to the future”. How many times are we going to hear this spin instead of what we really need is ACCOUNTABILITY NOW

  16. MarieRoget says:

    When I think of the vetting process my daughter went through on her 1st psych job working as an autism therapist, or for that matter mine before I landed my current job running acquisitions for this org….sheesh.

    For a bit of fun, here’s David Horsey’s cartoon of Palin on the RNC runway, from today’s Seattle P-I:


  17. chrisc says:

    SDUT is reporting that the McCain campaign is calling for an end to the public vetting process too.

    “This nonsense is over,” declared senior campaign adviser Steve Schmidt in a written statement.

    The statement stood out for its admission that Palin is under siege – it condemns “this vetting controversy” – and for its attempt to blunt questions about how rigorously McCain and his campaign explored the background of a candidate who may get the nation’s second most powerful job.

    “The McCain campaign will have no further comment about our long and thorough process,” Schmidt said.

    So, the campaign vetted her for a day or two, the press and public have had 4 days. Now everyone is supposed to STFU??? McCain: Get off my tire swing.

    I think we need more vetting of Todd Palin. I disagree with Obama that spouses are off limits. When spouses take a very active role in policy decisions, then they should be vetted. I have read (do not know if it is true) that Todd Palin was present at meetings held by Gov Sarah Palin. And I have read that he took a leave of absence from his managerial job at BP and later returned to a non-managerial job at BP to avoid the appearance of conflict as Gov Sarah Palin, his wife was in negotiations with BP.

    I do not remember McCain calling for an end to the press frenzy about Jeremiah Wright. I so hope someone is making a video of this god-damn-america-separatist group.

    • vieravisionary says:

      I went to the link you provided and I can not believe the hate, anger, and pure malice these folks are presenting! This kind of hateful message is the reason, I personally believe, we see the acts of violence against other churches and organizations thorughout our nation. The Taliban and these nutcases are just two examples of the extreme zealots that many religious factions have.

      As my late mother told me, “Be very careful of what you pray for! You just might get it!” To pray for the death of a human being is the same as murder in my opinion since the hate a preosn has ot have in their heart to pray that kind of prayer generates nothing but more hate and anger.

  18. chrisc says:

    Just remembered McCain’s little ad congratulating Obama and the one day celebration in honor of the historicalness of it all. That ad ran Thurs., the day he offered the VP pick to Palin.

  19. foothillsmike says:

    The Obama campaign started pulling together a VP staff immediately after Obama became the presumptive nominee. I believe I saw a day or two ago that the McShame campaign had just hired a former McShame adversary to head up this endeavor

  20. GregB says:

    McCranky is sawing off the branch to the tree swing as we read and write.

    If Steve Schmidt and the McCain camp can’t handle the media, how will they deal with Al Qaeda?


  21. bmaz says:

    I have been speaking to some local Republicans that I know. None of these are the Joe six Pack types, all professionals. All, and I mean all, are genuinely excited and energized by the Palin pick. These are not necessarily religious people either. They think all the carping about her qualifications and Peyton Place soap opera Alaska stuff is comical; the only thing that bothers them is that poor Sarah is being attacked over a “bunch of nothing”. There are local people speaking at the RNC convention, and the only reports i hear are excitement about Palin. Palin on her own looks like she can handle a situation and command a room. Republicans don’t give a flying fuck about their own hypocrisy; never have and they are not going to start now (they do go crazy over any Dem hypocrisy though). Palin is going to give a decent speech tonight, the moronic crowd their is going to love her, and that looks to be that. As big of a freaking doofus job McCain and the GOP did picking her and rolling her out, sure looks to me like the Goopers are feeding off of our attacks. I think it is wearing blinders to think that she is toast and McCain is done. And, yes, I do think that “liberal blogs” have played into their hands on all this. I hope I am wrong (and, hey, I am all the time), but I think Palin is here to stay and we better get back to supporting our guy and great policies and quit wasting time focused on attacking Palin.

    • dcgaffer says:

      The base is enthused about Palin, but they can’t win on their base.

      After last week, the Dems are united, more so than I thought possible, and the Hillary backers are PO’d.

      The key as always is the indies, and from what I can see, they are saying either bad judgment on McCain’s part or bad judgment on Palin’s part.

      Too much open mockery out there – not by dems – for it to be good for the goopers to woo indies. Of course, in the long run it will come down to McCain v Obama and he really hurt his entire image – an talking points – with this pick.

      • bmaz says:

        Undersell McCain’s ability to flat out lie, cheat and steal hi way into people’s hearts and polling booths at your own risk. McCain is one of the most disingenuous loathesome men I have ever seen in my life, but he has made a career out of beating smug attitudes like that handily.

        Eight months ago, McCain literally could not afford gas money for his freaking bus and was down into single digits; he is now the nominee. Do not underestimate him or you will lose to him. Asshat Republican politics works, time and again the Democrats fail to realize that, and they are smug and get their ass handed to them. If we do not go out and sell our policies, hard, it will happen again. It is our policies that will win the cherished “independents” that you speak of (and I do not think there are really as many of them as people believe) not distaste for Palin. Policies that help Americans; that is the winning hand.

        • dcgaffer says:

          Do not underestimate him or you will lose to him. Asshat Republican politics works, time and again the Democrats fail to realize that, and they are smug and get their ass handed to them.

          Oh, I am not misunderestimating them at all. Yet, respectfully, I disagree entirely with your analysis.

          The Dem ALWAYS win on issues. They will here. However, for 30 years, the Reps have made every election one of character, maturity and judgment.

          Going in McCain had a huge advantage here. Not so much today, but admittedly there is 2 months to go. I always believed, regardless of how effective Obama was, he’d still have a huge hill to climb quite simply by being the first African American candidate. That issue can never go away, but McCain has severely tarnished his own armor.

      • emptywheel says:

        I think that’s one of the big probs.

        He can’t cite experience now, without getting laughed at.

        He can’t cite “Country First” (and actually took it off the convention website) while running with a women whose husband believes “Alaska First.”

        He can’t even cite his environmental credentials, which were important for independents, since she wants to eliminate the polar bears (to say nothing of her fondness for “hunting” from the air).

        So what’s that leave–besides the POW thing?

    • WilliamOckham says:


      That’s interesting. Are the people you’re talking to regular party members or party officials (office holders, precinct chair types, etc.)? I would have expected the excitement over Palin to be inversely proportional to one’s position in the party hierarchy. Average Republican probably loves the idea, Romney hates it.

      • RevDeb says:

        Of course Romney would hate it. He thought the job should be his.

        The question I would have bmaz ask his associates is “what kind of president do you think she would make?” It’s one thing to think about how cool it is to have her jazz up the ticket. It’s another to think of her actually in the oval office and choosing cabinet members and SCOTUS judges and dealing with Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Russia and China.

        • bmaz says:

          Yeah, well, they think she would be as good, if not better, than Obama. Don’t shoot me, I am only the messenger. But these are not ignorant wingnuts, these are what ought to be normal people. I too am incredulous; but I report.

          WO @50 – Both.

          • sojourner says:

            I have to wonder if it is how you define “good.” She presents pretty well, but is that just a cover-up for how much of a patsy she will become if she has to fill someone else’s shoes? Do the party higher-ups think they can use her for their own devices, just as they have with the present company? Just a thought…

    • Rayne says:

      Read Lakoff at Truthout on framing Palin.

      After reading his take, I figured it out: she is a very primitive archetype for the authoritarians, a vengeful earth mother, a veritable goddess Kali, a bringer of death. They respect that in their guts, in their tissue, at atomic level; their heads cannot engage because her being communicates like a dog whistle to the very molecules of which they are made.

      Our challenge is to appeal to another primal archetype that competes with and crowds out that other archetype. Progressives THINK too much, we don’t listen to the fiber of our being like conservatives do; we make mental software that overrides those primal messages. We’re going to have to get back in touch with that primacy in a hurry.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I think one of several attacks should be on her obviously faulty and erratic judgment.

        It will take deft handling to avoid those attacks being characterized as against her because she’s a woman or an erratic driver or “as ambitious as a man”, attacks the Goopers hope and are ready for.

        But they need to assault her judgment because it’s impaired. She is thoughtlessly willing to sacrifice others to obtain her own goals. If she’s this reckless with the lives and treasure of those most near and dear, how much more reckless would she be with your Army, your Treasury, your health and safety?

        • Rayne says:

          That’s one line of attack, but that may not work at gut level. Just look at how she hands a gun! Surely she’ll protect us!

          I think that one of the answers is addressing the different subsets within the conservatives’ ranks, and appealing to their different guts. I can sense in reading feedback from a number of conservative women — Dr. Laura, for example — some sort of resentment. How deep is that resentment? Is it down in the bone? What is the basis for that resentment if it is deep?

          We’re looking for something that constitutes a threat to one’s being, a visceral threat, not one that we can deduce.

          In the case of the Dr. Laura crowd I sense a feeling of resentment over being thrown aside, but I can’t be certain that’s what it is. Notice how many older white female conservatives have not run up to the microphone and shouted with glee for Palin as their veep…

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            One would hope that as the new kid, Palin’s google search volume would be higher than Obama’s or McCain’s.

            The Dems don’t need a single line of attack, nor can they be sure which would be winners. They need to try several and reinforce those that succeed.

            – McCain had to travel all the way to Alaska to find someone less well-qualified for the White House than he is, someone Alaskans barely know let alone voters in the lower 48.

            – Osmosis is not foreign policy training; it doesn’t work for neighboring states or people. Look at how many wars were fought in Europe between neighbors, look at the number of married couples that divorce.

            – What hasn’t John McCain flipped flopped about, from spouses to lobbyists, from savings and loan thievery to domestic spying, from torturing prisoners to torturing the English language.

            – The GOP can force Bush and Cheney to stay away, but how they couldn’t ask McCain not to come.

            Name your own. Obama’s people read EW.

      • emptywheel says:

        I think Lakoff is WAY OFF BASE with his analysis here. I know he’s utterly fond of his strict daddy model so he applies it here.

        But how can Sarah Palin be the wife in a strict daddy family WHEN SHE’s THE BREADWINNER and Todd is going to have to pick up the primary caregiving role (and give up his job)??? That’s not strict daddy.

        Which is not to say it’s not powerful, but it’s not strict daddy, and actually is something that undermines traditional Republican narratives.

        • Rayne says:

          What is Todd Palin’s salary? has it been larger up until the governorship than his wife’s? Has he had other income on the side?

          I’m asking because Palin reminds me a LOT of guys I know who are most definitely wearing the pants in the house, but married to power wives. The wives are machisma outside of the house, but as soon as they get home it’s a whole other kettle of fish. Can think of a half dozen guys I’ve known like this right off the top of my head, all of them wingers, too.

          And I don’t think Lakoff is necessarily applying strict daddy/nurturing mommy model. I think this is outside a dualist model; there’s a Jungian component that’s not either/or here. I have to get out my copy of Clarissa Pinkola-Estes’ “Women who run with the wolves” to find the archetype we’re up against, think that Lakoff’s challenge is that he doesn’t have the archetype nailed.

          She’s a power goddess of some sort, pre-Christian kind of model. That’s the scary part; these fucking Christian fundies don’t even have a clue that their raw, pre-Christian near-reptilian brains are responding to her.

            • Rayne says:

              Just realized that you might have experienced a primal recognition when you wrote, WOW.

              Did any of that resonate with you, click as true? If it did, we may be close to the right archetype and therefore the right tack to take.

          • emptywheel says:

            Agree that she’s a type. That’s one of my discomforts with Lakoff’s model–it relies on dualism, and in fact the world–and the frames–are not neatly dualist.

            • Rayne says:

              Yes, I think a lot of Lakoff, but I’m always aware that he is a man and that it often means he thinks as one. He’s the kinder, gentler version of “with us or against us”. But he is right about progressives needing something beyond our logical, deductive reasoning to fight this battle; he understands that we are bringing the wrong weapon to the fight again.

    • randiego says:

      This is not particularly surprising. The Republicans that are cooing now over Palin are the same Republicans that thought Chimpy McFlightsuit was the next coming of Winston Churchill.

      They’re Republicans. They’ll obediently do what they’re told, without a hint of hypocrisy or self-awareness.

      Seriously, the Republicans could nominate a glass of water, and their operatives would manage high-dudgeon if someone wrote that the water was wet.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      bmaz, FWIW, I too have the sense that she is quite possibly a whole box of Pandora all on her own.

      And they’ve played her/us beautifully. Where have you seen her interviewed? On MTP? On any credible show? They’ll work to get her ready for Oprah, and they’ll keep her off the Daily Show as long as they can. Her first interview was to PEOPLE magazine.

      I am amazed at how much, in the space of a single week, I have come to have a whole new level of contempt for the superficial, trivializing machinations of the GOP. And what this says about McCain is abysmal. She’s got a lifetime full of grudges and it sure looks as if she derives satisfaction from upending existing structures – -unless they’re military.

      I share your sense, but probably have more dread.
      This election is turning out to be quite the civic crucible.

      • Rayne says:

        You’re giving them too much credit. Just read EW’s timeline again; they had NO idea until sometime on Thursday last week that she was going to be the one (and my personal suspicion is that the final decision came down to what was happening at Invesco Field that day).

        Within a mere handful of hours they were already getting swamped with the ugly stuff they didn’t figure we’d get to — they underestimated the power of the internet, didn’t know that their attempt to change the subject would not only take attention away from Obama, but focus it laser-like on Palin’s flaws. They were forced into defensive mode immediately.

        If they were actually on the offense, you could not get away from Palin on every single outlet. Everything about Palin as veep suggests she was a last-ditch effort, and one that may yet drive them into that ditch.

  22. DeadLast says:

    If Palin’s husband was at BP — and then went on leave only to come back after his wife negotiated a pact with BP — I wonder if he got a large bonus that year?

  23. radiofreewill says:

    McCain tried to steal Obama’s bounce with the Brunette Brittany Trick, and instead Barrack is coasting to the hoop for a lay-in – showing the same skillful style that’s become his trademark all during this campaign.

    The DNC – all of it – (a really Classy) Hillary, Bill, Al, John, Joe and Barrack – hit them So Hard, that the Goopers have been left panicking with their shorts around their ankles ever since…and it’s embarrassing!

    It reminds me of when Cheney and Bush tried to steal Joe Wilson’s bounce and got called for a foul.

    Only, that time, Cheney and Bush were able to call Timeout, re-write the rules and make them apply Ex-Post Facto, blackmail the Refs, and seed the Press with propagandists, so that the crowd was cheated out of a fair ending.

    This time, however, Sarah is like a 500lb iron-bomb that – so far – has only flown half-way down the smokestack of the SS Republican Party, captained by Johnny Hip-shooter, and carrying the flag of non-Admirable Bush.

    If she gets, and accepts, the nomination tonight, the flash and retort of an imploded party may not be far away…

  24. KenMuldrew says:

    EW wrote, “Now imagine how it could have been, had the campaign decided on Palin sometime between the cantankerous resolution to the Democratic primary in June but before the DNCC in August. That would have given the campaign two months to dig up these details on Palin, which would have (in turn) allowed them to…”

    Surely you meant to end this sentence with “drop her like a hot potato!”

    The spinmeisters might lay awake at night dreaming of fixing a situation like this through their improvisational genius, but in real life they’re professionals. Nobody would take on this baggage willingly.

  25. MarieRoget says:

    Before I have to leave, thought I’d mention that Gov. Sarah is no friend to Native Alaskans, despite hubby’s roots (think I remember AZ Matt pointing this out yesterday, but my backreading here has been sketchy):

    Palin- Alaskan Native Issues

    BTW, I find it mildly amusing that Palin admits to smoking weed & being pro-contraception in the Anchorage Daily News article linked in #35.

    Have to go. Read you all later.

  26. foothillsmike says:

    Saw a new tv ad last night, Obama will raise taxes, grow government etc. It was a total bunch of lies and of course finished w/ this is J McShame and I approve this add. Obama’s campaign needs to move to where Kerry was at the convention and differentiate between Sen McShame and Candidate McShame with candidate McShame being a liar and sleezy old fart

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Sarah Palin’s daughter’s sexual practices are private. Her mother’s political choices are not. They are abundantly egocentric, egotistical and recklessly destructive, however pert she may be on a podium, however wild and whacky her looks or conversation.

    Choosing to run for national office is an enormous strain on anyone’s family: it ruins privacy, exhausts time, patience, money, and the family ties that bind. It’s like a bad game of mixed doubles that lasts a year, with no tea or potty breaks. A sane adult would choose it with care, after weighing its costs. Ms. Palin jumped in head first, never wondering whether the water was deep enough to break her fall, never wondering whether her family could swim.

    Ms. Palin didn’t let her youngest child interfere with her political ambitions. She lied to board a commercial aircraft, traveling from Alaska to Metro DC, then Dallas, to deliver speeches. After her water broke, meaning her soon-to-be youngest child was a few hours from birth, Ms. Palin lied again, boarded another commercial flight for an eight-hour flight home to Alaska, when most 44 year-old, high-risk mothers would rationally have been rushing to the nearest maternity hospital. Luckily, through no contribution from Ms. Palin, the statistically high risks were avoided, to the relief of her fellow passengers, the flight crew and their airline, and the good people of the state of Alaska. Is that the risk tolerance we want in a chief executive?

    Ms. Palin put ambition over the interests of her oldest child, too. Most of us would consider it traumatic, if our high school senior surprised us by telling us she was pregnant. Promises, consequences, choices come and gone, would rupture our hopes and dreams. Only after dealing with that could we contemplate whether she would keep her baby – as if at 17 she would know what that would mean – or marry an equally ill-equipped for adult life high school senior beau.

    The need for privacy and reflection would loom large, competing with normal daily pressures, let alone those of a new, national campaign. Tough, get over it, Barracuda Palin didn’t hesitate. Sink or swim honey, you’re gonna have your baby and momma’s going to the White House. A decision one suspects that Ms. Palin’s Party is as distressed about as her daughter.

    This is not an executive who should be a 72 year-old’s heartbeat away from the presidency. This bundle of priorities and impaired judgment ought to be far away from being able to set our agenda, administer our national agencies, appoint our judges, execute our laws and policies, and spend our money. She should be far away from managing our military forces and intelligence apparatus. The only red button her finger should be near is the Do Not Disturb one on her home phone.

    • pdaly says:

      This is not an executive who should be a 72 year-old’s heartbeat away from the presidency. This bundle of priorities and impaired judgment ought to be far away from being able to set our agenda, administer our national agencies, appoint our judges, execute our laws and policies, and spend our money. She should be far away from managing our military forces and intelligence apparatus. The only red button her finger should be near is the Do Not Disturb one on her home phone.

      But surely she’ll have a mentor or a minder. I’m sure Cheney won’t be busy and would be more than willing to step in in a pinch…

      • Minnesotachuck says:

        I wouldn’t rule out the possibility, even likelihood, that if she makes it into the Oval Office those who think she’ll be “putty in their hands” will find that she is anything but. Indications are that she, like Bush, believes that her political ascent is part of “god’s plan,” and as a result her decisions in the foreign affairs and national security arenas will be divinely inspiredgut-based like Bush’s. And they’ll very likely prove to be just as disastrous for US strategic interests as have his.

  28. maryo2 says:

    Yesterday at FDL, Christy Hardin Smith had a link to a STLtoday dot com article which said that Palin did not win Miss Congeniality.

    Yesterday morning, that link said that an Amy Gwin had won Miss Congeniality, not Palin. By afternoon, that sentence was removed.

    This morning there are 36 comments, mostly attacking the article’s author. The comments say two things:
    1. There is confusion between two pageants: Miss Wasilla and Miss AK; and Palin did win Miss Congeniality at one of them.
    2. The Amy Gwin quoted has retracted and rephrased calling Palin “shallow” and now calls only Palin’s experience shallow.

    I don’t like when articles change at mid-day. It’s creepy. And I don’t want anyone to erroneously say something about Palin and give fodder to the right, so I wanted Christy to know that this link had taken a turn.

  29. yonodeler says:

    I don’t instantly know how to measure it, but I’d be curious as to the number of days on which Palin gets more substantive attention (more than mere mention or reference) in news media and in blogs than does McCain.

    If a vice-presidential candidate gets more attention than the corresponding presidential candidate for more than a few days, their campaign is obviously in bad trouble. Celebrity-making has its risks.

  30. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Whether she started out as a shiny object, that’s what Ms. Palin has become. So the principal attacks have to stay focused on McCain: his reckless spending, his reckless foreign policy, his ignorance, his flip flopping, his lobbyists and his party.

  31. BayStateLibrul says:

    Orren the Hatch said he had a tear in his eye when Sarah was coronated.

    These fucking people are lunatics…

    • bmaz says:

      Exactly. And we underestimate the lunatics and stupid people out there every time, and then they end up in office.

      The Democratic energy was dead for weeks, months, and then we had it back bigger and better than ever for – wait for it – less than 24 hours. Now we are back into hand to hand partisan politics.

      • BayStateLibrul says:

        Pedroia for President or VEEP
        He’s hitting .613 in his last eight games.
        Batting clean-up today, leading the AL in batting, and is 11 shy
        of 200 hits.
        ASU should be mighty proud.

        • bmaz says:

          We are. But remember, this is also the home of Reggie jackson, Barry Bonds, Rick Monday, Bob Horner, Floyd Bannister, Sal Bando, Andre Ethier and about 300 others.

    • Leen says:

      You could even mention that we are having a discussion about Pallin at Emptywheels. they like this. Screener will answer. They like clear to the point questions. At Talk of the Nation the screener likes to re interpret your question the way she wants you to ask the question. Let her and get through and ask the question that you want to ask.

      The screener over at Diane Rehm’s is less controlling.

  32. Leen says:

    Look who is up next on Talk of the Nation. John Bolton. Wonder if Neil Cona n will allow Bolton to repeat unsubstantiated claims about Iran endlessly as he did the last time Bolton was on Talk of the Nation. Neil Conan did not challenge Boltons claims once not once

  33. Loo Hoo. says:


    NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has ruled in New York that the government must either produce memos on waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods used by the CIA or explain why they should be kept secret.

    U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein says the memos are “clearly responsive” to a lawsuit filed in 2003 by the ACLU and other civil rights groups seeking records on the treatment of prisoners in U.S. custody overseas.

    The U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan declined to comment Wednesday.

  34. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Goopers want to frame Palin as the archetype of the new woman, commanding, ambitious, multi-talented, letting nothing stop her, momma protecting her bear cubs.

    Point is, that’s not Palin. She is uninhibited in pursuing her career and has done brilliantly working with limited resources. But she’s no earth mother or momma bear, she’s Jemima Puddle-Duck. She ignores her children’s needs, their safety at times, to satisfy her own. Just as she ignored her party’s needs by accepting a nomination while carrying anchors and chains that would choke Jacob Marley.

    Palin is not an experienced manager, executive or debater. She knows little and cares less about the world outside her immediate ambitions. She a big fish from a little pond; now she wants to swim off Shark Point.

    Electing McCain-Palin would be like electing George Bush and his clone. America can’t afford the combined ignorance, the excessive pride, the inability to learn, the inability to balance domestic social needs and foreign commitments. Palin doesn’t complement McCain’s weaknesses, she exacerbates them, which brings us back around to McCain’s vulnerabilities, the proper focus for Democratic attacks.

  35. Leen says:

    Man oh Man Neil Conan is allowing Bolton to repeat those endlessly repeated and unsubstantiated claims about Iran. Neil Conan seems to be a conduit for these false claims about Iran. He has not challenged Bolton once Not once.

  36. Leen says:


    US, Afghan Troops Kill 20 in Pakistan

    Wednesday 03 September 2008

    by: Candace Rondeaux, The Washington Post

    Islamabad – At least 20 people were killed in northwest Pakistan on Wednesday after U.S. and Afghan troops crossed from Afghanistan to pursue Taliban insurgents in an early morning attack that marked the first known instance in which U.S. forces conducted an operation on Pakistani soil since the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan began, according to witnesses and a Pakistani official.

    The United States has conducted occasional air and artillery strikes against insurgents lodged across the border in Pakistani territory, and “hot pursuit” rules provide some room for U.S. troops to maneuver in the midst of battle. But the arrival of three U.S. helicopters in the village of Musa Nika,

  37. bobschacht says:

    Monday, September 1: After the Enquirer tells the campaign it will reveal the news, McCain campaign reveals Bristol Palin is pregnant; McCain team dispatches team to Alaska to conduct more research manage all information sources on Palin;

    EW, as Juan Williams reported this morning on NPR, the purpose of dispatching the “team” to Alaska is not really to “conduct more research,” but rather to manage (i.e., spin) the flow of information about Palin. This is about controlling the hype, not “research.”

    Bob in HI

      • bobschacht says:

        Well, yes, considering the shallow vetting that had gone on before, they’re no doubt worried about other “smoking guns” that they want to put in quarantine before the public finds out about them.

        Thanks for your diligence on these issues!

        Bob in HI

      • bobschacht says:

        EW, lets elaborate on this point a little more.

        I am thinking of what happened to public records of George W. Bush’s service in the Texas National Guard during Vietnam that mysteriously vanished before Dan Rather could get his hands on them.

        I am thinking about hospital records concerning the birth of Trig and the pregnancy care of Trig’s mother, as well as records relating to Trig’s birth certificate, etc. Ordinarily there would be a pretty thorough paper trail on these things. I imagine that any such records that deviate from the story as currently told by Gov. Palin will be scrubbed or destroyed or otherwise removed from public view by this “team.”

        And of course similar records “management” of other embarrassing details currently under investigation and litigation.

        Bob in HI

        • emptywheel says:

          I think there will be more news about what they’re doing up there, and you’re right, it’s not so much research as damage control. Though they seem to have gotten a late start.

  38. Neil says:


    “Currently, I’m preparing my American presidency course for this fall’s semester. I’ve not taught this course since 2004, so I’ve been updating the syllabus. But there is something different about my preparations this time. I am finding myself waking up in the middle of the night, worried about how to explain to my students what has been revealed about the presidency since the last time I taught this course.”

    Harvard Press Author Forum, Teaching the Torture Presidency by Thomas L. Dumm

  39. FormerFed says:

    Marcy, your use of time lines is brilliant. I used to use them all the time in managing programs. There is something about putting events against an actual date in a visual way that is magical. Then you can put the intersections/interactions between various time lines to show the complete picture.

    Keep up the great work, you are the best!!

  40. foobar says:

    Please include in your timeline….

    The “Focus on the Fundies” meeting and their threat of a Floor Fight at the convention that had McCain shuffling his VP candidate deck.

  41. Rayne says:

    Think she’s the Queen Mother/Crone model; her signature feature is fecundity.

    She can display a beautiful face, but she’s a witch underneath.

    Hawaiian goddess Pele is like this; she gives birth to the land, but she demands much, takes much.

    Think the queen stepmother in Snow White; obviously beautiful enough to capture the heart of father, even serves him (in ways that Disney will never discuss with children), but exacting, extracting, demanding utter and complete loyalty.

    And the fundies know her; they recognize her even though they cannot say why, only that they are immediately taken with her and her shiny poisonous apple.

    That’s why the people who will be most reticent about her on the right will be women; they will rival Queen Mother/Crones or simply Crones who can see her for what she is, but because they have lost access to this primal knowledge about the archetypes they cannot articulate simply and readily what it is that is so wrong about her.

    Have to read more; my own inner Crone knows there is something very toxic about her, that nothing jibes at all in any of her stories, especially the ones where children enter the picture. The gut tells me more than the head can.

    • Minnesotachuck says:

      I ran across the copy of that book (Women Who Run with the Wolves), which my daughter bought during her college years, while purging the stuff in the basement a week or so ago. Now I’ll have to read it.

      • Rayne says:

        I don’t really know what your gender is — but if you’re male, try to think like a woman while you read it. It’s not easy; Pinkola-Estes is very feminine, wrote for women, prescribes for women. But if you can be in touch with the feminine as you read it, you can recognize many of the larger problems women have in western society.