Turns Out It’s Not Moose Burgers…

… Governor Palin consumes.

Turns out it’s moose lattes:

"Wonderful family," said Ben Harrell, who pours the governor her skinny white chocolate latte at the Mocha Moose in Wasilla. 

Lattes?!?!? The woman masquerading as a wholesome small-town hockey mom drinks lattes?!?!? And not just any latte, but a "skinny white chocolate latte"?

Doesn’t that kind of short circuit the Palin myth?

Rather than Vetting Palin, McCain Will Orchestrate a Cover-Up of Her Abuse of Power

"I make [decisions] as quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow, if I can. Often my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint." — John McCain

It’s bad enough that a presidential ticket claiming to run on reform is now orchestrating a cover-up of an apparent abuse of power. What’s really stunning is that they’re conducting this cover-up in lieu of actually vetting Sarah Palin.

The Cover-Up

As you’ve no doubt seen, Isikoff and Hosenball report that the McCain campaign is attempting to turn the bipartisan investigation into TrooperGate into a whitewash.

Key Alaska allies of John McCain are trying to derail a politically charged investigation into Gov. Sarah Palin’s firing of her public safety commissioner in order to prevent a so-called "October surprise" that would produce embarrassing information about the vice presidential candidate on the eve of the election.

In a move endorsed by the McCain campaign Friday, John Coghill, the GOP chairman of the state House Rules Committee, wrote a letter seeking a meeting of Alaska’s bipartisan Legislative Council in order to remove the Democratic state senator in charge of the so-called "troopergate" investigation.


Coghill, who told NEWSWEEK that he has the backing of Republican Speaker of the House John Harris in his effort to remove French, suggested Friday that the investigation into Palin’s firing of Monegan should be shut down entirely. "If this has been botched up the way it has, there’s a question as to whether it should continue," Coghill told NEWSWEEK. 


Coghill told NEWSWEEK that he decided to write his letter to strip French of his position on his own-without any coaxing by McCain campaign officials.

But a top McCain campaign official acknowledged that the GOP lawyer had given the campaign a "heads up" about his letter and that the McCain campaign approved of the effort to remove French.

"An investigation that was supposed to be non-partisan has become a political circus and has gotten out of control," said Taylor Griffin, a top communications aide dispatched from McCain campaign headquarters to Alaska this week to monitor the investigation and related matters.

And, as I pointed out the other day, since Palin got named the VP candidate, seven people have not so mysteriously changed their minds about cooperating with the investigation; there will be a vote among the Republican-dominated committee conducting the investigation on Tuesday to decide whether or not to subpoena these seven witnesses.

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The Politics of Resentment

There’s been criticism and applause (both justified) for the way in which Biden has hit on McCain and Palin’s convention performance. But I’m most fascinated by his attack in this video, from 2:11 to 2:44.

Biden: It was about how well placed — and boy she is good — how a left jab can be stuck pretty nice.  It’s about how Barack Obama is such a bad guy.

It’s about how in fact, how in fact, they got great quips.  Man, they’re like the kids you know when you went to school and you were very proud of the new belt or the shoes you had, and there was always one kid in the class who said, "oh, are they your brother’s?"

Crowd: Yeah.

Biden: Remember that kid?  That’s what this is reminding me of.  "Oh, I love your dress, was that your mother’s?"

You know what I’m talking about.

It was fairly tentative, but IMO, a really important attack on Palin especially, though it applies to McCain as well. With this response, Biden flips the structure of resentment the Republicans are trying to use to make Palin untouchable.

Digby has written about the addition of Palin as a reality show or as a Joan of Arc appealing to the resentment of Americans.

It’s very difficult to know how the Jerry Springer stuff is going to play out. It’s never a "good" thing for a politician to have the media drooling and licking their chops over their personal life, but they often not only survive but thrive as a result, depending on the transgression. Edwards betrayed his cancer stricken wife and that’s just too much for most people to bear. Clinton had a few furtive sexual encounters that were exploited by his political enemies which ended up gaining most people’s sympathies. You don’t know where these scandals will go, but you do know that they will distract from the normal coverage of issues and policy. (That, of course, would suit McCain just fine. The last thing he wants is for this campaign to be about issues.)

So, I still don’t know about the effect of Sarah Palin. A lot of this is untrod ground, with her being a female with young kids and a very conservative Christian to boot. Anybody who says they can completely predict the outcome of this "scandal" is fooling herself. This is new territory.

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TrooperGate Investigation Timing

Andrew Halcro has a detailed update on TrooperGate that clarifies the news about the legislature’s decision to issue subpoenas. Here’s my summary.

  • The legislature was going to hold a hearing on August 18 to discuss subpoenas. The hearing was canceled because all relevant witnesses agreed to give depositions.
  • Seven of those who had previously agreed to give depositions have retracted that offer (pretty much since the Palin as Veep thing happened).
  • The committee investigating TrooperGate will hold a hearing on September 12 to vote on subpoenas for those 7 people. Note, this has elsewhere been reported as the new deadline for the report, which is wrong.
  • The committee will not subpoena the governor. They say:

“We also discussed and agreed amongst ourselves that no subpoena will be issued for the Governor,” said Representative Nancy Dahlstrom, R-Eagle River.  “She has told the public that she intends to cooperate with the investigation, indeed, she has told the public that she welcomes the investigation and I have every faith that she means it.  If necessary we can send Mr. Branchflower to wherever the Governor is, or she can give her statement to him over the telephone, whatever is most convenient for her.  We recognize that her schedule is extremely busy, and we want to accommodate that.”

  • The new deadline for the final report–moved up to give more time before the election–is October 10.

 I guess it’s time to ratchet up the pressure on Palin to actually testify in this.

“Uneaten potato chips, rigatoni, and a McCain cake”

Gosh. MI. OH. Aren’t those the two swing states on which McCain’s entire campaign depends?

If so, it bodes poorly for his campaign that his campaign threw parties last night for supporters to hear his speech … and nobody came.

Apparently, in Canton OH, former Hillary supporter Ernie Talbert got stuck with an uneaten John McCain cake after everyone left the party he hosted long before McCain spoke.

The McCain campaign had issued a list of a dozen convention-watching parties for the media to attend across Ohio. The only one in Stark County was at the Canton home of McCain supporter Ernie Talbert, 50, a Speedway cashier who had supported Hillary Clinton in the Ohio primary. When McCain’s speech started, only he, his son and the media were at the party, as the few visitors who had shown up had left. However, the director of McCain’s local campaign later appeared.

Talbert said he had been told by the campaign that at least 20 people would show to watch McCain’s speech on his small television set. Instead he was left with uneaten potato chips, rigatoni and a McCain cake.

"I put all this stuff out and nobody shows up," he said. "I"m not real happy about that."

And in Farmington Hills, MI–the local office of the two real estate investors that John McCain seems more concerned about than all the people who’ve lost their houses in MI– the Republicans did little better.

Michigan Republicans tried to organize parties to watch John McCain’s speech but at least the two the Free Press visited Thursday turned out to be pretty intimate affairs.

McCain’s many fans probably loved his speech to the Republican National Convention, but they did so in some place other than the Farmington Hills McCain headquarters, where the crowd at a "house party" to watch the speech dwindled to two volunteers and a handful of staffers too busy to watch TV by the time he got under way just after 10 p.m.

Mind you, I’m hearing there’s a special focus on MI’s Oakland County this year, which is MI’s fastest growing county and very much a swing county. If McCain doesn’t win MI, he probably doesn’t win the election. And if he doesn’t win Oakland, he’s not going to win MI.

It may be that everyone went home, with the intent to watch football, only to watch Kwame say his farewells.  Read more

“Holed Up”

As many people have pointed out, the McCain campaign are sending Sarah Palin back to Alaska to hide out until the journalists forget about her.

CHUCK TODD:Well Ron, We’ve been able to see that there are a few folks who are saying [Palin is] actually going to hole up in Alaska for a little, she’s got to see her son off who’s going to be deployed to Iraq, so we may not see her on the campaign trail for a little while.

RON ALLEN: Yes she hasn’t been home for a long time, and she’s obviously got some business to deal with there.

Obviously, part of the reason the campaign is sending Palin away to the woods is because the media has made it clear they’re not satisfied with only scripted interactions with her–the McCain campaign needs to get Palin away from the media at least until they do some real vetting of her. (Though, as Mudflats points out, there are journalists in AK, too.)

But I think there are several things contributing to their last minute change of plans.

  • They intend to shield her from the media, as everyone has mentioned.
  • McCain campaign staffers have been in AK for several days, trying to bury all the dirt on Palin; I’m certain they need her personal involvement to bury some of it, not least on TrooperGate, in which her promised cooperation has disappeared in the last several days. 
  • She’s a quick study, no doubt, but she still has a great deal of cramming to do before she can answer any real questions about McCain’s policy or foreign policy in general.
  • If the MI Independents quoted in this focus group are even remotely representative, then I suspect the McCain camp has internal polling showing that Palin helps immensely in some places, but drags down the ticket in others. Sterling Heights is adjacent to Oakland County, where all those Independent voters were panning the Palin pick. I think the campaign realized they better get a better sense of where Palin helps them before they roll her out and offend voters in swing states.
  • After last nights underwhelming speech, McCain is being overshadowed by his Veep candidate. He needs to reassert himself as the dominant player on the ticket, before Palin comes out of her hibernation and wows the crowds again.

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Eliza Doolittle, Neocon

The McCain campaign’s efforts to claim that Sarah Palin’s "trip" to Ireland and her osmosis with Siberia qualify her to handle the vice presidential foreign policy portfolio have utterly failed. Here’s Lindsey Graham trying to put the best face on her inexperience.

"She can do fine in foreign policy because of the infrastructure we have around us. She’s smart, and she will learn over time," he said, adding that when it comes to selecting a vice president, "there is no perfect person. If we could have found someone who’s an expert in everything, we would have picked ’em, right?" 

But they’re not giving up. Since the awkward revelation of Palin’s daughter’s pregnancy, Palin has been holed up in a hotel, cramming on foreign policy.

Which is why it will be so interesting to see what the McCain campaign does with the blank slate that is Sarah Palin, foreign policy expert. First out of the blocks, in fact, were Joe Lieberman and his AIPAC buddies, eliciting promises that Palin would expand the US relationship with Israel.

She spent Tuesday in her hotel suite meeting with campaign aides and working on her speech. She had private sessions with Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and members of the pro-Israel group AIPAC, said people familiar with her schedule. An AIPAC spokesman said Gov. Palin told its members she would "work to expand and deepen the strategic partnership between the U.S. and Israel."

That’s a pretty radical departure from the antisemitic rant she heard the other day in church:

An illustration of that gap came just two weeks ago, when Palin’s church, the Wasilla Bible Church, gave its pulpit over to a figure viewed with deep hostility by many Jewish organizations: David Brickner, the executive director of Jews for Jesus.

Palin’s pastor, Larry Kroon, introduced Brickner on Aug. 17, according to a transcript of the sermon on the church’s website.

“He’s a leader of Jews for Jesus, a ministry that is out on the leading edge in a pressing, demanding area of witnessing and evangelism,” Kroon said.

Brickner then explained that Jesus and his disciples were themselves Jewish.

“The Jewish community, in particular, has a difficult time understanding this reality,” he said.


Brickner also described terrorist attacks on Israelis as God’s "judgment of unbelief" of Jews who haven’t embraced Christianity.

Moreover, Lieberman’s (and AIPAC’s) views are also a departure from Palin’s earlier hopes that McCain had a plan to end the war.  Read more

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. Read more

I’m a Resident of Flyover Country and a Citizen of Stopover Country

On my very first TV appearance ever (CSPAN’s Washington Journal the first week of the Libby trial), I shut up my most belligerent caller very simply. He accused me of being a "Katie Couric type from the coasts" … "who had no clue what people like me in flyover country were thinking."


As soon as I said I was from Michigan (unfortunately, Jane wasn’t there to slap down any illusions I’m like Katie Couric), he shut up. Because I am, like he is, from flyover country.

Today, I get to add another moniker to my profile, thanks to Governor Palin. You see, when Palin was trying to claim she had extensive foreign experience thanks to her trips to visit the Alaska National Guard in Kuwait and Germany, she also mentioned her "trip" to Ireland. 

Now, thanks to Governor Palin, mr. emptywheel (through whom I got citizenship), and Ben Smith, I can proudly say I’m a citizen of Stopover Country.

I wrote the other day that a Palin spokeswoman said trips to Germany, Kuwait and Ireland made up her foreign travel.

Two details worth clarifying:

The Ireland trip was a refueling stop on her trip to military installations in Germany and Kuwait, spokeswoman Maria Comella said.

Apparently, Shannon Airport (which has a big US immigration operation to process all the returning Americans) is so foreign that Sarah Palin is now basing her Commander of Chief credentials on it. 

Frankly, there are parts of Flyover Country–probably even including Ann Arbor–that are more worthy of the "foreign" claim.

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?

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