Picking Sarah Palin Was a Mistake… For Sarah Palin

 

Dick Cheney says picking Sarah Palin was a mistake

Cheney would not comment on what he told Romney and Myers, but he was harsh in his assessment of McCain’s decision to pick Palin. “That one,” Cheney said, “I don’t think was well handled.” “The test to get on that small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’” Cheney believes Sarah Palin failed that test. “I like Governor Palin. I’ve met her. I know her. She – attractive candidate. But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years. I don’t think she passed that test…of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.”

Cheney’s right of course. It was a mistake… for Sarah Palin! Consider what would’ve happened in all likelihood had Palin rebuffed McCain’s entreaties, and McCain had picked Tim Pawlenty or even Mitt Romney as his running mate. Palin would’ve been the largest beneficiary from such a move. She still would’ve had a prominent speaking slot at the national convention, and she still would’ve given a speech that wowed the audience there

She would’ve received much kinder coverage from the media (as an interesting and unique storyline instead of a potential one-heartbeat-away unknown), likely avoiding the leftist wrath which buried her in ethics complaints, and her rising profile within the party would’ve made her an in-demand voice from a far broader swathe of the GOP beyond the Tea Party. Without being tinged by the McCain disaster, without the betrayal of McCain’s crack communications team, and without the intense resentment of the Romney clan (which began working to undermine Palin before the 2008 election was even over), Palin would’ve been far more than an inspiration for the right, but a real threat for 2012.

With six years of gubernatorial experience under her belt, she’d be far more prepared and far more dangerous as a potential candidate for the nomination, likely shrinking the field (neither Perry nor Cain would’ve run, and possibly not Gingrich either) and coalescing conservative support as a legitimate candidate for the presidency.

The worst effects of John McCain’s run weren’t actually about him—rather, it’s the fact that he dramatically undermined Republican campaign infrastructure, gifted us with his grammatically-challenged moppet pundit, and likely ruined the career of a rising conservative star by rushing her too quickly to the limelight. A McCain presidency almost certainly would have given the left more than they got from Obama’s tenure—paired with a Democratic Congress, McCain would’ve closed Gitmo, likely cut a deal on climate policy, and split the Republican Party on issue after issue. Oblivious to all this, today McCain still wanders Capitol Hill wondering why people don’t want his advice. McCain is likely the last 70+ candidate to run for the presidency, and his tenure and heroism certainly deserve respect. But what he did in wrecking Palin’s career by rushing her too soon to the front is just one more negative about his tenure as the GOP’s nominee.

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive
    @BrianMarkWeber

    John McCain’s military service is the only good he ever did for the country. His entire political career has been spent eroding the Constitution and desperately reaching out to the other side to advance his own political standing.  You make some great points about what McCain would have done as president and it reminds me that maybe Obama’s win will ultimately be better for conservatism in the long run.

    • #1
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    @LookAway

    John McCain proves a point that I have long maintained: the majority of  naval officers, particularly those commissioned from Annapolis, while courageous and fiercly loyal to their principles during times of war, are less effective ( i changed my invective three times for settling on this one)leaders in civiliam life because the core of their training centers on a socialistic system: Captain of a ship who must always be obeyed. Look through history at our more progressive Presidents or congressional leaders with military experience and you will find a Navy connection. McCain the Maverick is the epitome of this. The exception of course is the members of the Navy’s Special Warfare units, but as anyone knows, a naval offficer in this line of work does not go far up the chain of command.

    • #2
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    @NoCaesar

    Good post.  My only disagreement is that Sarah was the only thing that gave that campaign a fighting chance.  She was more ready to be President than any of the other 3 (McCain, Obama, Biden) at that point in time.  I voted for her.  McCain lost the race and would probably have lost it no matter who was in the VP slot.  Sarah gave him a fighting chance that he blew.  I agree that from a public perception standpoint it hurt Sarah’s career to be pushed forward so soon, the press being what it is.  I suspect that is the object lesson that is giving Rubio cold feet.  Fortunately Jindal dodged that bullet and has a promising future ahead of him. 

    • #3
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    @CrowsNest

    Ben: Count me unconvinced.

    Palin advocates tout her political judgment and character as reasons that she would have made/make a good President.

    Since no one could have compelled Mrs. Palin to accept the job offer from the McCain campaign, surely she would have exercised her best judgment in determining whether or not to accept the offer and whether or not she was prepared to assume the role. 

    Now, in making such deliberations, a person with the level of political savvy we’re told that she possesses would have to consider questions such as whether or not this was a good ticket to run on, what the effect to her political career might be in case of a loss. A person of good judgment would know whom to surround herself with, whose advice to listen to/whose to reject and when, how she would be perceived given her background and experience and  how to respond to those criticisms, what weaknesses she had, how to improve on them, how to play to her strengths.

    So, given your counterfactual, ought we conclude that she judged well in this matter or not?

    • #4
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    @LeslieWatkins

    I find Cheney’s comments problematic in two ways: one, he failed to note that the current president was less ready (whatever that means) than Palin to be president (considering actual executive experience) and, two, he, too, has fallen for the idea of the need for professional executives, characters who have earned the rank to “serve” based on the achievement of creating a certain set of papers.

    Crow’s Nest: I don’t see why Palin should have turned down the McCain campaign’s request, especially considering the guy who was at the top of the Democratic ticket. She believed in herself. Good for her. I don’t hear her crying in her milk, even though the actual winner constantly cries in his.

    • #5
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    @
    I was with you until here:‘But what he did in wrecking Palin’s career by rushing her too soon to the front is just one more negative about his tenure as the GOP’s nominee.’ She was just as prepared as any other. Why do so many keep accepting what is fed to us? Back handed support in which one is so ‘concerned’, is called… Also, it doesn’t seem to have really ruined her career since we’re talking about her and she’s winning congressional seats. In fact my two problems with her were she was too much a professional politician (20 years) and was pretty young. After turning fifty you do look at the world a bit differently.
    • #6
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    @Caryn

    Spot on, Ben.  Good points, No Caesar.

    Along with a lot of other reasons, I will remain angry at McCain for what he did to my Governor.  She also went from wildly popular and highly approved to an embarrassment to Alaskans.  Says something not too flattering about Alaskans, though.

    When Obama, the empty suit speaking airy nonsense, became the Democrat candidate, I said it was McCain’s to lose.  Then I spent the next few months watching him do everything in his power to lose it.  Including permitting the trashing of the only strength his campaign had left.  She deserved better. 

    Crow’s Nest, you’re blaming the victim.  Yes, she made the decision to trust the McCain campaign and, as VP candidate, to be a good trooper.  The undermining and sniping from his people were outside her control.  In fact, pretty much everything was outside her control as VP candidate.  That, of course, is the problem of someone with leadership experience and ambition taking that position.  But what would you have us have as VPs?  This is really a question for all of us, rather than just for Crow’s Nest.

    (edited for grammatical errors/typos, sorry!)

    • #7
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    @JohnMarzan
    Ben Domenech: The worst effects of John McCain’s run weren’t actually about him—rather, it’s the fact that he dramatically undermined Republican campaign infrastructure, gifted us with his grammatically-challenged moppet pundit, and likely ruined the career of a rising conservative star by rushing her too quickly to the limelight. A McCain presidency almost certainly would have given the left more than they got from Obama’s tenure—paired with a Democratic Congress, McCain would’ve closed Gitmo, likely cut a deal on climate policy, and split the Republican Party on issue after issue. Oblivious to all this, today McCain still wanders Capitol Hill wondering why people don’t want his advice. McCain is likely the last 70+ candidate to run for the presidency, and his tenure and heroism certainly deserve respect. But what he did in wrecking Palin’s career by rushing her too soon to the front is just one more negative about his tenure as the GOP’s nominee. · · 1 hour ago

    Sarah Palin wrecked her career by accepting.

    • #8
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    @

    In fact, why isn’t the talk about her claim you don’t have to have an elected position to make a difference touted by our side. Plus, where’s the conservative talk about overcoming adversity and coming out fighting (and winning) and sticking to your principals. Or even discussion on the positions she holds. Or even just saying if she’s so unimportant why is everyone talking about her? No. We have to pick up the left and establishment memes and once again they win. You don’t even have to agree she would make a good president but repeating these things (which you know many on our side don’t agree with) is self and GOP defeating.

    • #9
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    @CrowsNest

    I’m not blind to the arguments from patriotism or ambition that would appeal to any good citizen asked to serve, or any young politician.

    But my chain of reasoning goes as follows. Dick Cheney has suggested that Sarah Palin–whatever her virtues–was not suited to be Vice President under the criterion that she was not suited, at the time of her selection, to assume the duties as President if the need should arise.

    Now, if you accept that the qualities I laid out for someone who is to assume high national office ought to possess–which, boiled down and summarized, are essentially self-knowledge, knowledge of the issues, knowledge of the terrain on which one would have to do battle, and good judgment with regard to the people one trusts (one can’t do everything oneself)–ask yourself whether she demonstrated those qualities or not.

    If she did, make your case that she did. If she did not, then you agree with Cheney’s criticism–which is an independent consideration of whether or not you think it is wise that he voiced it when he did.

    • #10
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    @FakeJohnJaneGalt
    John Marzan

    Sarah Palin wrecked her career by accepting. · 11 minutes ago

    This is the truly saddening part of the whole mess. Palin was a promising rising star in the Republican arena that may have been one our better future political leaders.   Now she is just one more talking head doing the talk show circuit.

    • #11
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    @MrDart

    It might well have been a “mistake” for her political fortunes but it certainly wasn’t a mistake for the Palin family bank account.  There are far more important things for a family– especially a large, blue collar, hard-working  family– than fleeting political power. 

    I held her in high esteem well before John McCain named her as his running mate, but the way she has turned the left’s (and too many Republicans’) mouth-foaming hatred for her into a tidy sum only makes her (and Todd, by the way) more admirable. 

    • #12
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    @NoCaesar

    It seems that a lot of the press hostility toward Palin was due to their view that she was horning in on their record-making candidate, i.e. Obama.  It wouldn’t do for the GOP to put forward a female candidate at the same time their side put up a son of Africa.  No, no, too much potential to confuse the narrative, so she had to be destroyed.  And like the good Alinskyites they are, she was, by any means necessary. 

    The echo effect on our side came from old vestigal habits of cringing before the editorial pages of NYT and WashPost.  However, I view that campaign as the beginning of the death of the old media juggernaut.  Kind of like the turning of the tide on Napoleon.  Obama’s presidency has been the Grand Armee of the old media’s invasion of Russia.  This election can be their Elba.  We still have Waterloo ahead, but then it’s St. Helena.  We have yet to see them breath their last gasp, but the sway they hold over the electorate is dramatically reduced.  Most importantly, that portion of the “undecideds” who decide from the old media is steadily diminishing. 

    • #13
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    @FricosisGuy

    She reminds me of a talented — but not transcendent — basketball prospect drafted right out of high school. One can see what she could have been, but it never comes together.

    • #14
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    @CrowsNest

    Given everything I said in #4 and #10, you can turn to the question that Ben’s post raises–which, as I take it, is an argument that both from political circumstances external to her, and to the growth she would have undergone as a candidate, several more years out of the national spotlight would have greatly benefitted her.

    I’m willing to stipulate that no small part of developing political prudence is practical experience in politics–and therefore I am happy enough to say that Mrs. Palin, like any candidate or leader in any field, would have increased her acumen from the point where she began via more experience.

    Nevertheless, I am raising the stakes on Ben’s initial point and turning the question back on those who argue that the only problem is that Palin was a victim.

    Perhaps Mrs. Palin would have further honed her leadership skills, but I am unconvinced that they ever could reach the level where I think she would make a good President (even stipulating that they would have increased from where she started).

    Plenty of good Congressmen, Senators, and Governors out there who we could say the same about.

    • #15
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    @CrowsNest

    And by the way, I should say that I completely agree with all of you who are saying the Obama was woefully unqualified.

    And as far as Cheney’s opinion of him, well, I mean, the interview speaks for itself:

    JONATHAN KARL: Your overall assessment of President Obama.  We’re almost through a first term.

    DICK CHENEY: I obviously I’m not a big fan of President Obama.  I think he’s been one of our weakest presidents.  I just fundamentally disagree with him philosophically.  I– be hard put to find any Democratic president that I’ve disagreed with more–

    JONATHAN KARL:  Really?

    DICK CHENEY: Than Barack Obama.  Yeah.

    JONATHAN KARL:  Worse than Jimmy Carter, from your perspective?

    DICK CHENEY:  Yes.

    • #16
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    @dittoheadadt
    Fricosis Guy: She reminds me of a talented — but not transcendent — basketball prospect drafted right out of high school. One can see what she could have been, but it never comes together. · 21 minutes ago

    LeBron James and Kobe Bryant came right out of high school.  Were they “transcendent” at that time? No. But the NBA is a meritocracy, and so they became such.  Politics in America is anything BUT a meritocracy, and the GOP (and McCain) did little to allow her to become transcendent.

    So far, anyway.

    • #17
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    @DavidWilliamson

    As Mr Cheney’s daughter has pointed out, Mrs Palin was and is more qualified to be VP than either Mr Obama or Mr Biden.

    Ben, I think what you are arguing is that any true Conservative should stay away from the Presidency or VP, because they will be torn apart by the lamestream media.

    We should maybe leave it to Mrs Palin to say whether it was good or bad for her – she seems to be doing fine, to me.

    The country? Eh, not so much.

    • #18
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    @dittoheadadt

    ” But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years.”

    So is it safe to assume, Mr. Cheney, that you also think Chris Christie and Marco Rubio are unfit for the VP slot?  That Rob Portman (12 House years – big deal. Where’s the executive experience there? And fewer than 2 in the Senate.) won’t cut it.  Tw0-year governor Bob McDonnell wouldn’t work?  Susana Martinez (less than 2 years’ governor experience) would crash and burn?

    Whether she would’ve/could’ve been a better POTUS than Obambi is the only metric that matters in this academic exercise, and that one’s a no-brainer.  Anyone who wants to argue against Sarah now is themselves a no brainer.

    • #19
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    @Valiuth

    All this whining about poor Sarah. She could have stayed as governor and been a real leader. She didn’t. She chose to be a celebrity. Any hopes for her future political career are highly misplaced. Being on John McCain’s ticket and loosing should not have stopped her if she was a real leader and fighter. But, she isn’t. She ran away from her responsibilities as governor and from any elected office in fact, to insulate herself in the echo chambers of the right. 

    • #20
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    @Bluenoser
    No Caesar: Good post.  My only disagreement is that Sarah was the only thing that gave that campaign a fighting chance.  She was more ready to be President than any of the other 3 (McCain, Obama, Biden) at that point in time.  I voted for her.  McCain lost the race and would probably have lost it no matter who was in the VP slot.  Sarah gave him a fighting chance that he blew.  

    I would suggest that had the core issues of the ’08 election been the same in October/November as they were in August/September the McCain/Palin ticket might just have pulled it off.  Unfortunatly, the financial meltdown happened and the issues went from being the wars and skyrocketing gas prices to the economy and whether or not one can see Russia from Wassila, Alaska.

    • #21
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    @GusMarvinson

    The supposition that Palin’s political career is ruined often sounds more like wishful thinking than honest analysis. What other VP pick on a losing ticket has remained in the spotlight and retained (gained?) so much political clout? She may choose to stay out of politics, but if she ever decides to run for office again only a fool would bet against her.

    • #22
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    @KarlUB
    Valiuth: All this whining about poor Sarah. She could have stayed as governor and been a real leader. She didn’t. She chose to be a celebrity…She ran away from her responsibilities as governor and from any elected office in fact, to insulate herself in the echo chambers of the right.  · 55 minutes ago

    Prematurely thrusting her into the spotlight, I think, exacerbated then-nascent tendencies in this regard. Being in McCain’s campaign seems to have transformed her. In a bad way.

    So, I think, your observations and Ben’s are not at odds.

    • #23
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    @LeslieWatkins

    My comment, FWIW, had to do with the 2008 moment, not today. I personally have found her quite disappointing, but that doesn’t mean that had she been VP she would have been bad. That formulation we’ll never know (except in our own internal musings). And I guess that’s why it irked me that Cheney didn’t add in his critique of her unreadiness (again whatever that means beyond one’s own mind) that Obama’s lack of readiness is yet another reason why he has been such a terrible president. I personally would dispute that view. He would have been terrible no matter what because of who he is.

    KarlUB

    Valiuth: All this whining about poor Sarah. She could have stayed as governor and been a real leader. She didn’t. She chose to be a celebrity…She ran away from her responsibilities as governor and from any elected office in fact, to insulate herself in the echo chambers of the right.  · 55 minutes ago

    Prematurely thrusting her into the spotlight, I think, exacerbated then-nascent tendencies in this regard. Being in McCain’s campaign seems to have transformed her. In a bad way.

    · 2 minutes ago

    • #24
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    @Devereaux

    Mr. Cheney might wish to review the career of one, Abraham Lincoln, leading up to HIS election to the presidency and then critique his performance in what may well have been THE most difficult political times in this nation’s history.

    • #25
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    @

    I think you’re right.  It’s easy to see in retrospect that Palin should probably have rebuffed the invitiation.  I don’t blame McCain — he was a bumbler but I still think he had strong character and chose Palin for the right reasons.  Perhaps — even highly likely — against strongly worded advice by his handlers and advisors.  And it is those advisors, who didn’t want Palin — for the wrong reasons — that I blame for the disaster, and the serious damage done to Palin’s career.  They have not yet adequately been called to account for the harm they have done.

    • #26
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    @FricosisGuy

    You’re making my point.  Regardless of how they started — and BTW, LeBron was an immediate star and Kobe was the youngest All-Rookie and All-Star starter to date — both transcended their lack of seasoning to become all-time greats. 

    Like many phenoms, Sarah’s high point was when she was “drafted”…she’s regressed since.

    dittoheadadt

    Fricosis Guy: She reminds me of a talented — but not transcendent — basketball prospect drafted right out of high school. One can see what she could have been, but it never comes together. · 21 minutes ago

    LeBron James and Kobe Bryant came right out of high school.  Were they “transcendent” at that time? No. But the NBA is a meritocracy, and so they became such.  Politics in America is anything BUT a meritocracy, and the GOP (and McCain) did little to allow her to become transcendent.

    So far, anyway. · 2 hours ago

    • #27
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    @CrowsNest
    Devereaux: Mr. Cheney might wish to review the career of one, Abraham Lincoln…

    You’re not wrong about Lincoln, but I hear this claim get casually tossed off  in contexts like this too often. It is usually in the form of a logical fallacy.

    Just because once upon a time a man of extremely rare ability and character emerged from a backwater and lead his nation in its hour of greatest crisis, does not mean that therefore we’re  better off with inexperienced folks running Washington.

    Lincoln was a man of rare virtue and ability. When you have an individual with those characteristics, it doesn’t matter where he comes from. If Palin wrote and issued an address of the quality, caliber and serious intellectual depth of any one of Lincoln’s public speeches as a candidate, you would find me an ardent supporter. I’m afraid that Sarah Palin’s Alaska is not quite in the same league as the mystic chords of memory.

    I’m unapologetic about it: I’m a conservative. That means, among other things, I have high standards and don’t believe in grade inflation. Even when its one of ours. Especially then.

    • #28
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    @LarryKoler

    I look at this differently. I think there is a world of difference between a person who is targeted in an obvious Alinsky smear campaign than the more typical conservative candidate. 

    Palin is a woman (and a beautiful woman and a smart woman) and that’s what the kerfuffle was all about. 

    Clarence Thomas is a black man and that’s what that kerfuffle was all about. 

    Newt Gingrich‘s 1994 election caused a realignment of the South, resulting in a Republican takeover of the House and that’s what that kerfuffle was all about. (Well, except that Newt elbowed a few incompetent Republicans on his way up, too.)

    One simply must take in account the above to assess Palin — she was in a different category and this explains more than half of what happened. I happen to agree with Crow’s Nest a lot as to her readiness for the presidency. But, to use conventional analysis points Biden was probably the most qualified of the four candidates and McCain was second. 

    The reason I like Palin is that she, like Newt, is the type of person we want in politics. But, these people are targeted and the MSM rules.

    • #29
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    @dittoheadadt
    Fricosis Guy: You’re making my point.  Regardless of how they started — and BTW, LeBron was an immediate star and Kobe was the youngest All-Rookie and All-Star starter to date — both transcended their lack of seasoning to become all-time greats. 

    Like many phenoms, Sarah’s high point was when she was “drafted”…she’s regressed since.

    dittoheadadt

    Fricosis Guy: She reminds me of a talented — but not transcendent — basketball prospect drafted right out of high school. One can see what she could have been, but it never comes together.

    LeBron James and Kobe Bryant came right out of high school.  Were they “transcendent” at that time? No. But the NBA is a meritocracy, and so they became such.  Politics in America is anything BUT a meritocracy, and the GOP (and McCain) did little to allow her to become transcendent.

     

    No, you made MY point, when you wrote “…to become all-time greats.” (emphasis mine)

    They were NOT transcendent right out of high school.  Talented, yes, of course.  But not transcendent.  That came later.  As it well could have, for Sarah, were American politics a meritocracy, and if McCain and his campaign weren’t so damned incompetent.

    • #30

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