The wealth of material on Sen. John McCain's Veep pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, just keeps getting richer. Apparently the old saying that you can never be too rich or too thin applies to resumes.
Last night, Brad covered a wide-range of recently emerging issues and concerns about Palin --- and McCain's judgment in having chosen her --- and asked whether she can even survive on the ticket through November 4th. Today, the New York Times front pages an Elisabeth Bumiller report revealing that McCain seems to have only begun vetting Palin last week, after his two preferred selections, pro-choice advocates Sen. Joe Lieberman and Gov. Mark Ridge, were nixed by the party's right wing.
So as Republicans scramble to vet their choice far too late, additional revelations continue to emerge (notably, beginning in the blogosphere, long before the MSM finally catches up.) The latest latest comes via Liz Arnett at Daily Kos, and includes videos in which the Alaska governor is seen as a member and supporter of the fringe Alaskan Independence Party (AIP), which aspires to secession from the union.
Steve Benen regards this latest information about Palin's past as perhaps "the most politically detrimental" of all the recently emerging discoveries about the little-known-until-now Governor of Alaska...
It's only Monday. John McCain announced his selection of Sarah Palin as his VP on Friday. Given that we've had a hurricane, the wrap of one convention, the beginning of another, and all of it over a Labor Day weekend, it's amazing how many questions about Palin --- and McCain's judgment in selecting her --- have come to light in just the past four days.
Were it not for the near-total lock on the media by the right wing, I can't see how she'd possibly make it through another week, much less the General Election. Even with that lock, I still don't see how she ultimately survives at this rate.
(Though Dem partisans might be careful what they wish for, as a second shot at it will almost certainly bring a more sensible, and palatable, pick.)
The most salacious of the concerns (so far) came today, as 1) the admission that Palin's unwed teenage daughter is pregnant and 2) she's now lawyering up in Alaska to fight the "TrooperGate" investigation.
And then there are all the other concerns and questions, becoming legion by the hour. The mountain of revelations has led conservative Andrew Sullivan to declare, in regard to McCain's arguably most important decision of the campaign: "McCain is more incompetent as an executive than Bush."
Obama partisan John Aravosis notes that McCain had six months to the make this decision, "longer to consider that choice than any other presidential candidate in history." Yet tomorrow's New York Times reveals that after McCain's first choices of Lieberman and Ridge were nixed by the wingnuts, he caved to them, and hastily installed Palin with virtually no vetting whatsoever. Add that to what's already known about McCain's flubbed roll-out of Palin (she was in favor of the "Bridge to Nowhere" before she was against it, she raised taxes even though they said she was a tax-cutter, etc.) and this Veep nomination is clearly in trouble
And if all of the above wasn't disaster enough for both Palin, and more importantly, McCain, there are the more routine questions of her actual positions and qualifications. You know, the stuff that's normally important to someone nominated to be a heartbeat away from the Presidency.
Take a look at this painful drubbing that McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds took from CNN's Campell Brown, of all people (she leans consistently right, and is married to diehard Bush Admin loyalist Dan Senor --- a point the network, to my knowledge, and its continuing shame, rarely, if ever, discloses) on the topic of Palin's foreign affairs experience...or utter lack thereof.
Then there's the more mundane, such as this chestnut, courtesy of Andrew Sullivan again:
Q: Are you offended by the phrase "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?
PALIN: Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance.
The phrase was added in 1954.
How she survives, I can only imagine; it has to be because we live in the media world we live in. But never mind what happens, for the truth of the issue, no matter how it's reported, Sullivan sums it up nicely:
"You know what this pick reminds me of? Invading a country with no plans for what to do once you got there."
Tropical storm Gustav is threatening to interrupt or even postpone the Republican national convention next week, when it is expected to sweep into the Gulf of Mexico as a stark reminder of one of the lowest points of the Bush administration.
The administration was accused by both Republicans and Democrats of acting too slowly and inefficiently to protect New Orleans against 2005’s Hurricane Katrina, which killed 1,800 people amid high winds and rain that flooded the city.
FOXNews.com reports: "Mindful of the pitfalls of hosting cocktail parties while Gulf Coast residents are being evacuated, John McCain’s campaign suggested Thursday that Republicans could postpone their upcoming national convention in St. Paul if Tropical Storm Gustav makes landfall over the weekend."
“McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said delaying the start time is a possibility.
"Senator McCain has always been sensitive to national crises — in the 2000 race, he postponed his announcement because of the situation in the Balkans, and we are monitoring the situation very closely,” Bounds said."
Ah, but he partied down with his pal the prez in 2005 as Katrina was drowning a thousand Americans and their pets in their homes.
On August 10, Karl Rove went on “Face The Nation” to argue that Senator Obama would make an “intensely political choice” for Vice President without regard for the “responsibilities of president.” At the time, Rove believed Obama would choose Tim Kaine, and argued against him by saying this:
With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it’s smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It’s not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?
Rove argues that Kaine’s mayorship of Richmond (pop. 200,000+) is insignificant and that his 3 years as Governor of Virginia (pop. 7,712,091, GDP $383 million) has been “indistinguisahable.” If Rove was intellectually consistent, wouldn’t that mean Palin’s mayorship of Wasilla (pop. 8,000+) and 20 months as Alaska governor (pop. 683,478, GDP $44.5 million) makes her even less qualified than Kaine?
So, Karl, who made the “intensely political choice”?
In the clip, you'll see John McCain's pick for vice president, Alaska governor Sarah Palin, interviewed by the nauseatingly unctuous Glenn Beck, which makes the clip NSE (not safe for eating while watching). The interview actually starts at 4:20.
She was on the program to discuss her lawsuit against the Bush administration to stop them from including polar bears on the endangered species list, and reveals herself to be a rabid anti-environmentalist and a strong proponent of global warming, who favors drilling in her state's pristine wildernesses.
She was born in 1964, and is the youngest and first female governor of Alaska
She's a former beauty queen: In 1984, Palin was second-place in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant after winning the Miss Wasilla contest earlier that year, winning a scholarship to help pay her way through college. In the Wasilla pageant, she played the flute and also won Miss Congeniality
She is married to her high school sweetheart, Todd Palin. They have five children, including a son who is serving in Iraq
Her political resume appears to be thin. She was a city councilmember and mayor in Wasilla, ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of Alaska and then served as the ethics chair of a state energy commission, but later resigned in disgust at the unethical behavior she uncovered. She has been governor since January 2007
She is a former follower of Christian nationalist Pat Buchanan and is a member of Feminists for Life and opposes gay marriage. However, she claims to have gay friends and vetoed a measure that would have withheld benefits for gay state employees
[UPDATE 7:39am PT: NBC News' Kelly O'Donnell has confirmed that McCain has picked Palin.]
No less a source than Fox News says this morning that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is en route to Ohio this morning, and is likely to be John McCain choice to be his running mate.
Fox also reports that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is out of the running. Meanwhile, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told a local radio station this morning that he will not be in Ohio later today when John McCain names his vice presidential running mate.
About Palin, Fox reports that "a charter aircraft from Anchorage had arrived in Dayton, Ohio, where McCain has scheduled a noon ET rally to announce his choice."
Of course, because the source is Fox News, the story about Palin could be disinformation sent out by the McCain campaign
This sounds like a story you might read on the spoof site, womenforjohnmccain.com, which my colleague Trish at Pensito Review wrote about earlier today, but, sadly, this is no joke. Or at least it's not meant to be.
Yesterday, just in time for the start of the Democratic National Convention, the McCain campaign released a new ad that features Debra Bartoshevich, a nurse from Washington, who claims to be a "proud Hillary Clinton Democrat" who now plans to vote for McCain.
But at news conference in Denver arranged for the Republican National Committee, Bartoshevich revealed what appears to be a shaky grasp on her candidate's position on an issue that is fundamental to actual Hillary Clinton supporters:
Events in the campaign this week offer a case study in how Fox "News" assists the right wing --- in this case, the McCain campaign --- to disseminate disinformation:
Monday: Speaking before the Veterans of Foreign Wars, John McCain falsely claimed credit for supporting the 21st Century GI Bill, which was sponsored by Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.):
As a political proposition, it would have much easier for me to have just signed on to what I considered flawed legislation. But the people of Arizona, and of all America, expect more from their representatives than that, and instead I sought a better bill. I'm proud to say that the result is a law that better serves our military, better serves military families, and better serves the interests of our country.
In reality, the bill McCain "sought" was not Webb-Hagel, which he opposed because its tuition benefits were "too generous" to the troops. The version he sought was a different bill that he co-sponsored, and which "in no way resembles" the bill which was ultimately passed, as noted by ThinkProgress...
MCCAIN: Could I --- are we going to get back to the importance of Supreme Court Justices or should I mention --
WARREN: We will get to that.
MCCAIN: OK. All right. OK.
WARREN: You're jumping ahead...
The McCain campaign is fighting hard against charges that McCain cheated on the rules of debate at a rightwing evangelical forum in a California megachurch over the weekend by cribbing the questions in advance. They are so desperate, apparently, that a McCain operative even played the POW card, citing McCain's imprisonment by the Vietnamese 40 years ago as evidence somehow that he did not cheat Saturday night.
Even "Pastor Rick" Warren, the multimillionaire evangelist who hosted the event --- and who clearly favored McCain in the questioning --- has admitted that despite his assertion to the audience that McCain was sequestered in a "cone of silence" during the live session with Obama, McCain was, in fact, in his car during much of Obama's session, where he certainly could have listened to the interview.
And this exchange from the forum appears to indicate that McCain knew that Warren was going to ask him a very specific question about the Supreme Court. Notice how McCain asks if he can go "back" to a question about the court:
Last week we noted that John McCain had managed to complete a full 180-degree reversal on his position on offshore drilling in a mere 18-day period. Now he's topped that record by reversing a stated position within a single news cycle. Traveling in Colombia, he told reporters that he wouldn't criticize Obama while he was overseas, but on the plane a few hours earlier he had criticized Obama while speaking to these same reporters for, what else, changing his position on trade:
"I believe that partisanship ends at the water’s edge," McCain said emphatically, when asked about Obama at a press conference at the Colombian Presidential retreat here.
But on the inaugural flight of the Straight Talk Express --- airborne edition -– McCain felt freer to let loose.
On the plane, he blasted Obama’s opposition to the proposed Colombia free trade deal.
"He’s a protectionist and anti-free trade," McCain said. "Now he has switched, I mean remarkably, from saying that he would unilaterally renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement in the strongest possible terms in Ohio – he went to North Carolina and said well, I’m for free trade.
"It wouldn’t surprise me to see him switch on this one," McCain said.
For his next trick, McCain will reverse himself before he even speaks.
Although John McCain was stumping in Ohio on Friday, his campaign arranged for him to talk by phone to leaders of B'nai B'rith International, a major Jewish group, who were meeting in Ottawa. Reporters were invited to dial in to the conference call at 3 p.m. to listen.
McCain soon came on the line and launched into his spiel. "Thank you for all the good you do," he began.