Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Palin’

“Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war.”
Julius Caesar; Act 3, Scene 1

From today’s New York Times (emphasis mine):

Through the halls of Congress and well beyond, a whisper campaign is bursting into the open: Rather than burden him with the usual constraints on a ticket’s No. 2 not to upstage or get ahead of the presidential nominee, let Ryan be Ryan and take a detailed, policy-heavy fight to President Obama and the Democrats.

Also see this writeup in the Washington Post; September 21, 2012 (again, emphasis mine):

“I was enthused when Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan because I thought that was a signal that this guy was getting serious, he was getting bold,” Walker said. “I just haven’t seen that kind of passion I know that Paul has transferred over to our nominee.” The governor suggested that “pushback from some of the folks in the national campaign” was restraining the Wisconsin congressman from making detailed policy arguments.

That rang a few bells… Sure enough, after doing some digging on Google, I found these (all emphasis in the block quotes mine):

CNN; September 29, 2008:

The New York Times conservative columnist Bill Kristol argued in his column on Monday that McCain must “liberate his running mate from the former Bush aides brought in to handle her — aides who seem to have succeeded in importing to the Palin campaign the trademark defensive crouch of the Bush White House.
“McCain picked Sarah Palin in part because she’s a talented politician and communicator. He needs to free her to use her political talents and to communicate in her own voice,” Kristol wrote.

Washington Times; September 30, 2008:

At critical moments before and during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, his admirers would urge that he be allowed to be himself – rather than the far less authentic and appealing facsimile served up by his handlers.

“Let Reagan be Reagan,” they would urge, confident the man would fare well if left to his own talents and judgment. Time and time again that proved to be the case as his common-man qualities, native intelligence and utter decency allowed him to connect with and secure the support of the American people.

This lesson is worth recalling now, on the eve of a possibly make-or-break vice presidential debate between Republican Sarah Palin and her Democratic rival, Sen. Joseph Biden. The outcome – and the fate of the Republican ticket – may turn on whether her handlers “Let Palin be Palin.”

Wall Street Journal; September 29, 2008:

“It’s time to let Palin be Palin — and let it all hang out,” said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist.

The Weekly Standard; September 8, 2008:

Let Palin Be Palin
Why the left is scared to death of McCain’s running mate.

Mitt Romney on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”; September 29, 2008:

“Holding Sarah Palin to just three interviews and microscopically focusing on each interview I think has been a mistake. I think they’d be a lot wiser to let Sarah Palin be Sarah Palin. Let her talk to the media, let her talk to people.”

To be fair, I did a similar search for news articles, columns, and pundits who were saying “Let Edwards be Edwards” during the 2004 campaign, and didn’t find any.

I’m not comparing Paul Ryan to Sarah Palin on a direct one-on-one basis. Rather, I’m pointing out that the underlying dynamics in both campaigns – a running mate who is more popular with the base than the nominee of a campaign that is not going well – are uncanny. If this continues, it will not be a good sign for the Romney campaign during the final six weeks before Election Day.


Image from Team Coco

Matt Drudge managed to single-handedly change the subject of the national media conversation away from Mitt Romney’s tenure at Bain Capital for a few hours. The non-scoop: that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was near the top of Romney’s short list to be his running mate.

It’s a great topic for water cooler discussion among political junkies and journalists. The problem is there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell it will ever happen. Rice told 60 Minutes she was pro-choice, with reservations on some issues, which would be a dealbreaker for the pro-life conservative base in the GOP. One precedent to keep in mind:back in 2008, McCain’s original choice for running mate was pro-choice Democrat Joe Lieberman. That proposition was torpedoed because of fears of a revolt from social conservatives at the Republican convention. Here’s a good summary of Rice’s positions on hot-button issues. Also worth reading, check out this analysis by the New York Times of how a Rice VP pick would help or hurt Romney.

Despite her formidable intellect and experience in academia and government service, Rice has one glaring omission in her otherwise impressive resume and life story: she has never run for elected office, nor has she ever had any interest in being a candidate for anything.

Nate Silver runs through Romney’s possible options for a female running mate. The bottom line is there is not much for him to choose from that would satisfy the different GOP constituencies, appeal to swing voters, and can present a credible option to step into the role of president as necessary to avoid a repeat of the Sarah Palin debacle of 2008.

I’d have to agree with Silver’s closing assessment: Romney is likely to play it safe in terms of picking a running mate; or in the words of an unidentified Republican official, an “incredibly boring white guy.” The talk of Condoleezza Rice is just that – talk.

By now, most of you have seen or heard about this clip:

PALIN: He who warned, uh, the British that they weren’t going to be taking away our arms uh by ringing those bells and making sure as he’s riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.

To his credit, Chris Wallace followed up with her on this question on “Fox News Sunday”:

CHRIS WALLACE: I gotta ask you about that real quickly, though. You realize that you messed up about Paul Revere, don’t you?

PALIN: You know what? I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here’s what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that “the British were coming, the British were coming.” And they were going to try to take our arms so got to make sure that, uh, we were protecting ourselves and, uhm, shoring up all of our ammunitions and our firearms so that they couldn’t take them.

But remember that the British had already been there — many soldiers — for seven years in that area. And part of Paul Revere’s ride… And it wasn’t just one ride. He was a courier. He was a messenger. Part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that, “Hey. You’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not gonna beat our own well-armed, uh, persons, uh, individual private militia that we have. He did warn the British.

And in a shout-out, gotcha type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.

I was a history major in college – having gone to a school in the Boston area – so the story of Paul Revere was pretty well known to me at the time. Palin can continue to make mistakes and choose to repeat or refuse to acknowledge them – politicians do this all the time – but my big problem here is this:

Her fans are apparently editing Paul Revere’s Wikipedia page to make it more in line with her version. Longfellow may be no match for Sarah Palin.

Look at the changes made to the Wikipedia page here and here. Obviously, Palin isn’t responsible for what a misguided fan or fans of hers do, but this is the worst type of historical revision this side of the Soviet Union. If you want the real details of Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, read this.

Update: There’s a good post about this subject at Outside the Beltway which is worth reading.

Former DNC chairman Howard Dean spoke at Carnegie Mellon University a few days ago and blasted Republicans, the Tea Party, and Fox News.  The speech was videotaped and uploaded to YouTube by The Blaze.

Dean on the Tea Party movement:

“I mean the Tea Party, it’s not a coincidence the Tea Party is all over 55 and white, right? This is the shrinking minority, ever-shrinking. And the shrinkier they get, the madder they get, which is why they’ve gotten so off the deep end. So you know… I mean, I don’t want to say all we’ve got to do is wait, wait out the change. We can’t do that. But the idea you’re going to suddenly change some right-wing guy who for his own, who can’t keep himself together without saying that Obama is a socialist, you’re not going to do that. That’s a deep problem that you can’t fix.”

On the right and left wings of American politics, past and present:

“Hillary Clinton talked a few years ago, and was made fun of, of course, about some of you may remember this, a vast right-wing conspiracy. And she was only wrong in one way. It’s not a conspiracy. When you do things in the open, you can’t call it a conspiracy. [flash] But this notion of the right wing desire to run things differently is threatening to the country. [flash] Not that the right wing is bad or the left wing is bad. I grew up in an era when the left wing was as awful as the right wing is today. They were burning down buildings. Their cause may have been a cause that I was sympathetic with, we shouldn’t be in Vietnam. They were doing appalling things that they had no business doing, just as the right is doing today.”

His comments on Fox News and media bias:

“We’ll start with Fox because that’s the easy one. There’s a difference between Fox and MSNBC. They’re both biased. The New York Times is biased. The Wall Street Journal is biased. The New York Post is biased. Newspapers are biased. The Pittsburgh Post is biased, or is it the Tribune, I forget. Which one is the right wing paper here? OK. [flash] Bias is not the problem. It’s something that makes us mad, but it’s not the problem. It’s when you become a propaganda outlet. What Fox News is not says, is often not true, and they know it’s not true, and they say it anyway. It is not a news organization. It is a very expensive, incredibly well funded right wing propaganda organization. The definition of propaganda is you take something with a small kernel of truth to it, you add, you twist, and you make it into a story. The death panels is a perfect example [flash]I forgive Sarah Palin for doing this. I mean I don’t think she’s going to be President of the United States, and politicians can say things and anybody can say anything they want. But I don’t forgive a supposed news organization who put that out every single day knowing it was a lie. [flash] In this country, people who listen to Fox because they prefer to be angry at the left, just like we listen to NBC, MSNBC, because we like what they’re telling us.  The truth is the facts on MSNBC are true, and when they’re not true, I mean you may not like the spin, the kind of nasty smarmy stuff that people say about other people. They’re not nice, I’m saying. I go on those shows sometimes. They’re usually nice to me, but they go on because I’m not nice to the Republicans. But if they make a mistake and get the facts wrong, they correct it the next day. [flash] Look, I’m a professional media hater, right? I’m a politician. I never got a break from the media. The scream speech, right? They dressed it all up. Anybody in the room at the scream, anybody that was in Iowa at the scream speech, nobody here? Well, it was very different. It didn’t quite sound the way it did by the time Fox got done with it. So I have every reason to dislike them.”

Watch Dean’s comments (the comments about Fox News and media bias begin at 1:18):

FYI, I asked Howard Dean about Sarah Palin’s “death panels” comment about a year and a half ago. Here’s his response as I reported for CNN:

“About euthanasia, they’re just totally erroneous. She just made that up. Just like the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ that she supposedly didn’t support. There’s nothing like euthanasia in the bill. I practiced medicine for a long time, and of course you have to have end of life discussions – the patients want that. There’s nothing… euthanasia’s not in this bill.”

Palin is now a paid commentator for Fox News. I’ve reached out to Fox News and Dean for comment, will update this post if I hear anything.

H/T Mediaite.

Update: I’ve gotten no response from Fox News yet, but Greta Van Susteren wrote the following on her blog:

It is sort of weird….but it seems that Howard Dean can’t get Fox News Channel out of his mind. Every time I see him quoted (or maybe not every time), he is taking a swipe at Fox. First, he needs to understand Fox is not why he lost Iowa in 2004. Even the “Dean scream” is not why ( the scream occurred AFTER he lost… and came in 3rd.) Second, his constant swipes makes him look like he is afraid of Fox – he makes his cracks but has turned down all our (ON THE RECORD AT 10pm) requests that he be a guest. Third, while he is highly critical of Fox he has not explained his recent remark that a government shutdown would be good for the Democrats (seemingly wanting a shutdown for political reasons at the expense of what is good for the country.)

I am actually curious what ideas he has for the country. We need ideas….he might want to focus on ideas instead of old grudges.

This is a bit late, but I just found the Washington Post Investigative Unit’s list of the Top Ten Scandals of 2008, and it’s a doozy.

They are all good and memorable scandals which will be talked about for years, although I would beg to differ. Take Hillary Clinton’s Bosnia sniper fire story off the list and replace it with Sarah Palin’s $180,000 wardrobe funded by the Republican National Committee. One was a case of Walter Mitty-style fabulism which provided for a moment of humor once the reality of the story was verified and little else. The other raised profound questions about judgment and management of campaign funds, and by extension the potential decisions John McCain and Sarah Palin would have made in the White House if they had been elected.

With a new administration, an expanded Democratic majority in Congress, and a full blown financial crisis, expect 2009 to be another bombshell and scandal-rich year for the press to investigate.

turkeys
Just in time for Thanksgiving, CNN’s Bill Schneider has put out his annual list of the biggest political turkeys. I would add to this list Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, Hillary Clinton not competing in caucus states during the primary, and Bill Clinton’s criticisms of Barack Obama before and after the South Carolina primary.

homer

I don’t know what’s worse, the CEOs of the three American car companies going to request a multibillion dollar bailout on Capitol Hill while flying on private corporate jets to travel to Washington, or Sarah Palin giving an interview after pardoning a Thanksgiving turkey while other turkeys are being slaughtered behind her.

This could very well be the greatest stunt ever pulled on the media in modern times.

It was among the juicier post-election recriminations: Fox News Channel quoted an unnamed McCain campaign figure as saying that Sarah Palin did not know that Africa was a continent.

Who would say such a thing? On Monday the answer popped up on a blog and popped out of the mouth of David Shuster, an MSNBC anchor. “Turns out it was Martin Eisenstadt, a McCain policy adviser, who has come forward today to identify himself as the source of the leaks,” Mr. Shuster said.

Trouble is, Martin Eisenstadt doesn’t exist. His blog does, but it’s a put-on. The think tank where he is a senior fellow — the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy — is just a Web site. The TV clips of him on YouTube are fakes.

And the claim of credit for the Africa anecdote is just the latest ruse by Eisenstadt, who turns out to be a very elaborate hoax that has been going on for months. MSNBC, which quickly corrected the mistake, has plenty of company in being taken in by an Eisenstadt hoax, including The New Republic and The Los Angeles Times.

I don’t know what’s sadder, that Sarah Palin set the bar so low with her gaffes that people believed this to be true, or that the media ran with it without checking his bona fides. Remember the famous line from Ronald Reagan: “Trust but verify.”

The story that won’t go away.

The McCain-Palin campaign is over, but Wardrobe-gate lives on. More embarrassing details have emerged about Sarah Palin’s infamous shopping sprees — including even more designer duds, plus sprayed-on tans and fancy underwear.

On top of the $150,000 first outlined in Federal Election Commission filings, Palin spent “tens of thousands of dollars” on additional clothing, makeup and jewelry for herself and her family, including $40,000 in luxury goods for her husband, Todd, our colleague Michael Shear reports. The campaign was charged for silk boxer shorts, spray tanners and 13 suitcases to carry all the designer clothes, according to two GOP insiders.

“The shopping continued after the convention in Minneapolis, it continued all around the country,” one source said. “She was still receiving shipments of custom-designed underpinnings up to her ‘Saturday Night Live’ performance” in October. Sources said expenses were put on the personal credit cards of low-level Palin staffers and discovered when they asked party officials for reimbursement.

WINNERS
Barack Obama and Joe Biden: Like this needs explaining?
Howard Dean: He crashed and burned as a presidential candidate four years ago, but a once in a lifetime candidate and political dynamic vindicated his 50 state strategy as the Democrats explanded their electoral map for the first time in decades.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: The Mormons got a lot of press this year, good and bad, because of Mitt Romney’s candidacy. They were also the driving force in successfully funding and generating support for Proposition 8 in California.
David Axelrod and David Plouffe: Obama’s two Davids masterminded one of the greatest political campaigns in history, one which will be studied and replicated for decades in the United States and around the world.
The polls: Most campaign polls were right in assessing the mood of the local and national electorate, and correctly foresaw an Obama victory of historic proportions.
Tina Fey: Energized her career with a dead accurate and brutal impression of Sarah Palin on Saturday Night Live.
Katie Couric: May have resurrected her career bona fides with her gentle televised mauling of Sarah Palin. That interview will be studied in journalism schools for years to show how brutally effective and newsworthy a simple follow-up question can be.

LOSERS
John McCain: There can be only one winner in a presidential election, and McCain ran as best as he could in one of the harshest political environments for Republicans since 1974.
Sarah Palin: Five words – Not ready for prime time. She energized the Republican base at the expense of everyone else, many of whom were scared at the idea of an unexperienced and unqualified candidate being one 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency.  She might have been a rising star in the party before this cycle, but given the fact that she was a net negative for the ticket this time around, any chances of her being on the national ticket in 2012 are slim.
Steve Schmidt, Rick Davis, Mark Salter, Terry Nelson and John Weaver: The McCain brain trust throughout the campaign was fraught with mixed messages and competing egos. Unlike Obama’s consistent message of change, the McCain campaign never had one, and bounced from idea to idea in hopes of turning their electoral fortunes around. They also thought it would be a good idea running on change v. experience based on their candidate’s compelling life story, ignoring the fact that Hillary Clinton tried making the same argument and failed.
Mark Penn: He severely miscalculated the national mood of the electorate to the point where he may be guilty of political malpractice. He was also a source of constant friction within the Clinton campaign, who did not see the warning signs and did not want to get rid of him. In the end, his lobbying deal for Colombia was too much embarrassment for the campaign to handle and he got demoted.
Joe Lieberman: He bucked his own party and endorsed the Republican ticket. He’s about to find out the hard way that elections have consequences.
George W. Bush: He was a radioactive albatross tied to John McCain and nearly every Republican incumbent around the country this year. He didn’t do much campaigning, but like Keyser Soze in the Usual Suspects, he was the large unseen presence lurking throughout the race.
Tim Mahoney: He wins election because his opponent was involved in a sex scandal, only to go down in defeat himself two years later because of a sex scandal.
Karl Rove and Tom DeLay: Four years after President Bush’s re-election mandate, the dream of a permanent Republican majority is dead.
John Ensign: After the fiasco of 2006, Ensign didn’t do a much better job in helping his party stave off losses in the Senate. This time, it was arguably more consequential, because the Democrats are now inching closer to a 60-seat supermajority when their party controls the White House.