The ongoing Palin disaster.

I maintain that Sarah Palin was a terrible, terrible pick for VP. The three interviews that she’s dared participate in since her nomination have shown her as a naif, looking every bit the deer in the headlights, utterly unqualified to run a company, to say nothing of the country. Her scandals keep getting deeper and more numerous (the bridge to nowhere, pork, troopergate, library censorship, ), and now half of the country says she’s not qualified to be president. (Only 75% of Republicans think she is.) Palin was never vetted by the McCain campaign, despite their protestations, and now she’s being vetted by the media in a two-month-long train wreck.

Small wonder that McCain has taken the stunning step of suspending his campaign…although it remains to be seen what “suspending” actually means. (Ending all spending? Suspending staff without pay? Halting advertising? Or is it just a political ploy?) Obama is pummeling McCain in the polls—he’s up 9% today—which surely has something to do with the McCain’s decision to take this make-it-or-break-it leap of faith. If somehow Republicans can get their own bailout plan passed, with McCain’s name on it, I think this will pay off. Short of that, I find it tough to see how this will help to dig the campaign out of the hole that it finds itself in.

For the record, I was wrong in my speculation that McCain was more likely to drop immediately after the convention, which I chalk up to the McCain campaign managing to spin clear negatives into positives, which voters were willing to buy for a period of a couple of weeks. Clearly the shine is off that apple now.

Palin was a bad choice, pure and simple. The base loves her, but the base was going to vote for McCain anyway. If McCain loses this election, I’m looking forward to some candid remarks from him in a year or two. I suspect he’ll agree by then—if he doesn’t already—that he could have done a lot better in the VP department.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

10 replies on “The ongoing Palin disaster.”

  1. I’m really curious about this “suspension” and wanting to first change the VP debate format and now post-pone the VP debate as well as the presidential debate. Is McCain still planning on moving forward with Palin? That’s just plain awful in so many regards beyond the ones you’ve already mentioned.

    But I’m concerned about McCain himself. He looked really, really rough in his address today and his one eye was droopy. My first thought was that maybe he had a mini-stroke.

  2. While I am completely in agreement with you on your assessment of Palin, and on most things; I think I disagree on this:

    The base loves her, but the base was going to vote for McCain anyway.

    I am not sure the neo-con evangelical christianist base was going to vote at all… they were depressed… they did not get their Huckabee, they got a relatively socially liberal McCain instead and they were not happy about it… I think large numbers of them were going to stay home or write in Huckabee in protest… until Palin was added to the ticket, and they are exactly the core/base that is motivated to vote McCain/Palin now.

    I think it’s a Rovian gamble that there are more social theocratic voters than there were moderates; and I think it remains to be seen if that is true or not.

    I am so happy that I doubt it will matter; because Obama’s appeal is so transcendent that McCain could have done nothing to save this; but how much McCain loses by and from which groups becomes an interesting analysis.

  3. Regarding the interviews, have you compared Gibson’s Palin interview to his interview of Obama? “Laughable” doesn’t begin to describe the double-standard. Gibson grilled Palin on foreign policy details and demanded specific knowledge on numerous complicated issues. With Obama, his questions were along the lines of “What was it like growing up without a father?” and “Will you pick Hillary to be your VP?”

    Palin has been and continues to be a fantastic VP pick, and has drawn this race to a dead heat.

    As for McCain suspending his campaign, presidential candidates are de facto leaders of their parties. Leaders lead, or at least they should. This financial bailout is the most significant legislation in many years, and both parties’ leaders should be in Washington seeing it through. McCain clearly understands this, and is putting the country first. Obama said in his statement yesterday that “if you need me, give me a call.” Give me a call? Are you kidding me? Pathetic. The man is simply not ready to lead.

  4. “Palin has been and continues to be a fantastic VP pick, and has drawn this race to a dead heat. ”

    If you are talking about Florida, where before Palin Obama was 8 to 9 points behind and now RealClear has him within 2 you are absolutely right! Thanks.

    Or maybe you mean resetting the national polls to exactly where they were before the conventions, with Obama on average 3-6 points ahead, then you are exactly right. Oh, but I suppose you should also consider the D surge in Ohio, Michigan, and PA, and that Obama is completely pulling away in CO and NM, also within one in Nevada, holding steady in VA and moving in NC . . . should I go on?

    And are you really going to try to make apples out of the 18 month grilling Obama has recieved and one tough interview Palin had . . . if elected this woman has a 1/5 chance of having to take over as POTUS, she’s got to b tougher than that . . . jeez cant even answer some straight up interviews . . . heh, I’ve been to Alaska before, I’ve seen Russia, too: I’m ready to lead!

    BTW, there is no better way to derail the bailout negotiations than get the two presidential candidates involved in the negotiations. You cant argue with that. No matter how good intentioned either one of them would be, no way no how. Plus if you believe every reporter covering this thing, the deal is 98% done anyway . . . does McCain want to actually derail it so he permanently delay the VP debate, and throw the FP debate into higher relief . . . hmmmm?

    Man, that really sounds like “Country First” to me . . .

  5. David Weigle of Reason says it best:

    “It’s supposed to be leadership and “putting country first,” I suppose, although it’s true: Nothing has changed in the last 48 hours except the possibility of Congress staying at work until Sunday and some bad polls for McCain. It’s most assuredly a stunt, as John McCain and Barack Obama don’t really matter right now, and McCain’s action makes the bailout debate look even more (if such a thing is possible) like a world-historical crisis. Has a presidential debate ever been postponed 48 hours before it was supposed to start?”

    God I love libertarians

  6. First of all, the polls out today do not include significant amounts of data gathered since McCain’s announcement that he is cutting and running from the debate and ceasing his campaign. Most of them are 3 day rolling averages and even any data gathered last night was likely before most voters were aware of McCain’s bizarre decisions and certainly before they had made up their minds.

    Tomorrow we will start seeing polls that tell us how McCain’s new ‘cut-and-run’ strategy is playing with the voters. It really won’t be until Sunday or Monday that we have multiple scientific polls that include data that 100% reflects reactions to McCain’s gamble.

    Secondly, I just want to point out that John McCain should really, REALLY have picked Rob Portman for a running mate. Portman could have been making the rounds and speaking about economics in an intelligent, educated manner.

    This whole ticket is a disaster. The best thing that the Republican Party could hope for at this point is that John McCain takes his ‘end to campaigning’ to it’s natural conclusion and drops out of the race, allowing a less senile candidate to be appointed by the RNC. Perhaps someone capable of showing up for a debate, doing in-depth interviews with tough and knowledgeable journalists or giving a press conference. Or, you know, doing those things that a Presidential candidate is generally expected to do in order to demonstrate his or her competency.

  7. Palin is as crooked as Nixon, just on a smaller scale.

    Nixon did illegal wire tapping, so did Palin.

    Nixon abused his power in office to screw over his perceived “enemies” so has Palin.

    Nixon used back-channel meetings to subvert open government initiatives, all while recording conversations with others without their knowledge or permission and so has Palin.

    Nixon never admitted to being a voyeur, but Palin has. She spied on her sister and brother-in-law as she trespassed on their property. What public official who admitted to such creepy, weird, illegal behavior would still be in office?

    The major difference: Nixon was smart. Palin is as dumb as a cow pie.

    One correction to your initial report: It is a MYTH that the GOP “base” loves Palin or that 75% of Republicans think she is qualified. Those reports have been gamed by the campaign. As soon as a survey is announced, everyone in the GOP gets robo-emails telling them to push Palin’s numbers up from the low thirties. Once the gaming begins, the numbers for Palin increase, but without manipulation, she consistently gets ratings in the thirties for competency. True random polling is showing Palin is turning into a ball and chain for McCain.

    One curious point that I recently discovered is how much Republican mouthpieces are in denial over Palin and how any criticism of her is instantly flamed as sexist or labeled as “hate speech” regardless of factual content. I know many fine citizens on the Republican side, but the real kooks come out from under their rocks when anyone points out Palin’s ADMITTED criminal misconduct in office, or her flagrantly bad judgment.

  8. “I am not sure the neo-con evangelical christianist base was going to vote at all… they were depressed…”

    We’re fighting two wars and sliding into a recession. The evangelical movement is dying, but the notion that individual voters who participate regularly in elections were going to sit this one out has always been, I think, irrationally optimistic on the part of liberals. The election’s going to be decided by swing voters in swing states, as per usual–not by relative enthusiasm among the hard core adopters.

    On the topic of the post, yeah, wow. What a flailing campaign.

  9. Dude. Even Laura friggin’ Bush said that Palin “obviously” has no foreign policy experience. .

    Granted, it’s Laura Bush, and she realized what she said and backtracked into calling Palin a “quick study,” who can learn from McCain’s experience, but still.

    I have to admit, for entirely selfish reasons, that Sarah Palin was a great choice. I was seriously starting to lack material for this year’s “10/31: Because What’s Scarier than Halloween in New Jersey?” party, and I do a damn fine Alaska accent. Sooooo excited. ;)

  10. I’m generally a lurker but I had to comment about Jackson’s keen eye for excellent Republican running mates that would have brought more to the campaign than Sarah Palin. Although I shudder and retch at the thought of such a ticket, at least Portman offers major experience in both foreign policy (as former US trade rep) and finances (as current OBM director). Plus, a local guy like Rob Portman would kill in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan, which are poised to decide the election.

    I live in Ohio, which is why I know anything about Portman. I’ve also been feverishly awaiting the opportunity to vote for Barack Obama for four miserable years. Here’s hoping we don’t screw it up–again.

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