The Palin Vetting Process

The Washington Post writes that the McCain campaigned explained the detailed and thorough vetting process it used for Gov. Sarah McCain.

Nor, he said, was Palin selected without having gone through the full vetting process that was done for other finalists. That process included reviews of financial and other personal data, an FBI background check and considerable discussion among the handful of McCain advisers involved in the deliberations.

"Nobody was vetted less or more than anyone in the final stages, and John had access to all that information and made the decision," Davis said. "It's really not much more complicated than that."


Palin was the leading candidate by the beginning of last week. Davis had spoken with her a number of times. The McCain camp had reviewed everything it could find on her, including videotapes of her public speeches and interviews. "She makes a great speech," one adviser observed.

Last Sunday night, McCain talked to Palin by phone from Arizona in what aides described as a somewhat-lengthy call that resulted in McCain asking her to come to Arizona.

On Wednesday Palin flew to Flagstaff. That night she conferred with Schmidt and Salter. The next morning around 7, the three of them, along with a Palin aide, climbed into an SUV with tinted windows to begin the 45-minute drive to McCain's retreat in Sedona.

She then talked to McCain for a while, and then Cindy, and was offered the job.

What didn't they do in their vetting process? Huffington Post reports:

Bq.. the McCain campaign had not gone through old newspaper articles from the Valley Frontiersman, Palin's hometown newspaper.

How does [the Huffpo researcher] know? The paper's (massive) archives are not online. And when he went to research past content, he was told he was the first to inquire.

"No one else had requested access before," said the source. "It's unbelievable. We were the only people to do that, which means the McCain camp didn't."

The paper wouldn't confirm or deny the McCain camp had requested access, but it seems likely they didn't.

officials with the paper did not recall inquiries by the McCain campaign. "I cannot confirm that information at this time," said publisher Kari Sleight. "I am not aware of the McCain campaign researching our archives, but archive requests do not usually go through me."

HuffPo says clip searches are politics 101.

A rudimentary clip search, such as this, is presidential politics 101 as campaigns not only look for the majority of background information on any high-level appointee, but also try to prepare themselves from future attacks.

Another thing McCain didn't do: Contact the fired public safety manager who claimed he was fired for retaliation for not firing Palin's trooper brother-in-law. (Lots new details on that story here.)

It's possible that although the articles were not online, they were available through Lexis.com. I've found a lot of them going back to the 90's that way. There's no way to know if they are complete, however. And according to HuffPo,

....there have been hundreds of stories on Palin by the Frontiersman dating back over 15 years, only a handful of which are posted online.

Nor, does it appear, the McCain camp went to Alaska to interview people:

In addition, the former Republican House Speaker of Alaska, Gail Phillips, admitted to reporters that she was shocked by McCain's choice of Palin, as "his advance team didn't come to Alaska to check her out."

What we do know is how John McCain says he makes his choices. The New York Times reports:

At the very least, the process reflects Mr. McCain’s history of making fast, instinctive and sometimes risky decisions. “I make them as quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow, if I can,” Mr. McCain wrote, with his top adviser Mark Salter, in his 2002 book, “Worth the Fighting For.” “Often my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint.”

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    Not sure what's happened (5.00 / 4) (#8)
    by tnjen on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 06:18:16 AM EST
    ...over the past week but I do agree that HuffPo isn't high on my list of trust.

    Horse hockey! (5.00 / 3) (#15)
    by mwb on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:28:58 AM EST
    "How does [the Huffpo researcher] know? The paper's (massive) archives are not online. And when he went to research past content, he was told he was the first to inquire."

    Valley Frontierman online archives.

    I searched and pulled up articles on Sarah Plain for 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005.  Then I stopped because frankly that demonstrated to me that once again Huffington Post is full of it.

    Heh (none / 0) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:44:47 AM EST
    That's because (none / 0) (#21)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:02:19 AM EST
    you didn't try to go back further. Fairly recent stuff is online, but to find much of anything before  1998, you have to show up in person. If you read the story over on Huffpo, they state that while some stories are online, Palin has been kicking around for 15 years, and most of that is not online.

    Heh? (none / 0) (#25)
    by thinkingfella on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:22:16 AM EST
    Read more carefully (none / 0) (#68)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:24:53 AM EST
    He's talking about articles from the 90's when she was Mayor and in other positons.

    You've Got A Lot of Nerve (5.00 / 0) (#16)
    by john horse on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:28:58 AM EST
    What do you do with us?????!!!!!!!!!!!

    You've laid down the law, we're not getting with the program.

    I've always understood that this is Jeralyn's website and she is going to run it the way she wants.  I would never presume to tell her how to run her website. Who do you think you are?

    Edger's comments have been deleted (none / 0) (#70)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:25:48 AM EST
    as off-topic and insults. He is free to read and comment at other blogs if he doesn't like it here.

    What about her high school newspaper? (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by myiq2xu on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:01:40 AM EST
    There might be some juicy gossip in there too.

    Troopergate is a non-starter.  It reinforces the narrative that Republicans will protect you, but Democrats care more about the rights of criminals than they do about victims.

    No (none / 0) (#24)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:21:01 AM EST
    they care more about the right of workers (the troopers boss and abuse of office, than the repubs. Thie isn't about punishing a hated brother-in-law (guilty or not), this was about punishing someone completely blameless for a family beef utterly outside his control.

    The repubs show over and over again that they will do anything they have to to get their way. The last eight years have shown that better than anything.


    There is no "or not" about it (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by myiq2xu on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:37:13 AM EST
    The guy is guilty of tasering an 11-year old boy.

    It does not enhance the credibility of the Democratic party or anyone else to keep pushing only the most inflammatory version of the story, relying on a source that has a grudge against Palin, and leaving out material facts.

    Progressives used to complain about truthiness.  Now some of them are practicing it.


    If Palin is a reformer (5.00 / 1) (#45)
    by parttime on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:38:30 AM EST
    If Palin is a reformer and worked against corruption and against her own party, it only makes sense somebody in her state is trying to throw dirt at her because of it.

    Troopergate actually proves that she might actually have been going against business as usual. If she didn't have enemies in her state, I'd question her reformer claims more than now.


    The guy has proof (none / 0) (#36)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:08:40 AM EST
    he has recordings and emails of the pressure he was getting. He may be 'disgruntled' but he has the goods, and Palin has already been caught lying and has had to 'backtrack statements. Now she's blaming her staff for it. Class all the way.

    Again, was the guy guilty of the tasering? I don't know and I haven't been able to find out the story behind that. I'm not defending his actions, and no, it really isn't a material fact. You might say that Saddamn trying to kill Bush Sr is a fact material to his son ginning up excuses to invade Iraq, but I'd say it doesn't excuse the fact he lied and broke the law.


    No the republicans will argue (none / 0) (#61)
    by Cards In 4 on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:01:51 AM EST
    that unlike GWB, SP fires people if they aqren't doing their job.  No Brownies under Palin.

    I took the trouble to read both sides (none / 0) (#76)
    by myiq2xu on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 02:04:26 PM EST
    before I made up my mind.

    I based my decision on an objective assessment of which version was more credible and factually based.

    I did not make a subjective evaluation of the evidence nor did I only consider evidence that fit my preconceived beliefs.


    What does an ... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 05:34:36 AM EST
    "FBI background check" entail?

    I've heard that term for years, but I don't know fully what it means.  Is it just a check for criminal activity or is it more extensive?

    Does anyone know?

    I think they can ask about anything (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by BernieO on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:02:47 AM EST
    If I remember correctly, Henry Cisneros was prosecuted for lying to the FBI when they did his background check for Clinton's Sec'y of HUD. He lied, not about the fact that he had had a mistress or paid her money, but about exactly how much he had paid her. He was an up-and-comer in the party and was a great advocate for innovative effective housing solutions.
    OT, but I have always felt that this was a political prosecution, since the Republicans have a history of identifying potential Democratic stars and going after them before they become too prominent. Lee Atwater did this to Bill Clinton by working secretly behind the scenes to smear him so he would lose his last election as governor. Since Louis Freeh was head of the FBI and turned out to be a right wing player instead of the proverbial straight arrow the media told us he was.

    I think that came up (none / 0) (#38)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:10:57 AM EST
    after the whole getting free football tickets thing didn't it?

    I had one for my most recent job (none / 0) (#18)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:36:03 AM EST
    They do a criminal background check, and call your previous bosses and friends, asking them all kinds of questions about you. They investigate lots of your personal life too - marriages, divorces, kids, friends, money, investments, etc.

    Thanks for the info ... (none / 0) (#46)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:45:30 AM EST
    but that doesn't sound like much fun.

    And I thought jobs that force you to have a medical exam were intrusive.



    I had a government investigator... (none / 0) (#74)
    by magster on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:55:59 AM EST
    ...come to my door and then canvass our street asking everyone about whether their was ever anything unusual about a certain neighbor of mine.  The neighbor was a friend, and he got hired for a government funded satellite system project job about two weeks later (I guess he passed scrutiny).

    *I* knew about Troopergate over a month ago! (none / 0) (#5)
    by andrys on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 05:51:56 AM EST
    It was in all the newspapers online in which candiates for VP nominees were being listed.  It said Troopergate was the problem with Palin and then gave the reasons why that would not be as problematical as it seemed, depending on what happened.  It also gave details.

      This is no secret that anyone need do heavy-vetting for. It was just part of the everyday news.  It was written about when we didn't even know she was a nominee candidate.

      There are a lot of mitigating circumstances in the Troopergate problem, including that she could fire Moneghan (sp?) if she wants.  To do it -because- he failed to fire the brother-in-law would be illegal but would have to be proved.  And according to him, she left his name off of emails.  

      That is an ugly brother-in-law problem. The guy is violent, and he has already tasered an 11-yr old boy from that family and has been heard by others to be threatening violence.

      From casual reading I had heard all about this though.
    I have no doubt they knew about it and didn't consider it dangerous.

      But she's made enemies there.

    Should we really be calling it troopergate? (none / 0) (#7)
    by tnjen on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 06:14:50 AM EST
    Just a thought but the terminology brings to mind the original troopergate and that's probably not the best idea given everything.

    Frankly, I'm sick of ... (5.00 / 2) (#48)
    by Robot Porter on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:48:14 AM EST
    the "gate" suffix.  Period.

    It trivializes how bad the Watergate crimes were.

    And it's lazy writing.


    Hate to say this (none / 0) (#22)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:15:21 AM EST
    but these accusations made during an ugly battle over who would get the kids ina a divorce. Palin and family made a list of 14 different 'acts' that the brother-in-law supposedly did, ranging form serious to silly. Out of these, his bosses thought five were worthy of investigation, which resulted in a 10 day suspension, later reduced to five, and he want back to work.

    Palin decided that wasn't enough, and started pressuring the man's boss to fire the trooper. The boss refused to do so, as he had no real cause to let him go, and that wasn't the way things were done. Palin fired the boss and replaced him with someone who she must have felt would go along with her, but who turned out to have trouble of his own, so he had to go as well. This isn't a good show of judgment on her part.

    It's a pretty clear case of abuse of office, and no matter what the brother-in-law may or may not have done, his boss was blameless and didn't deserve to loss his job over someone else's family squabbles.


    'family squabbles'? (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:19:09 AM EST
    The dude TASERED a kid and threatened to kill the father-in-law. He was an abuser, and he got protected by the cops, like many abusers do, and got a slap on the wrist. I really don't think you want to go down this road... a lot of people think she accomplished what should have been done to him in the first place. At the least.

    The point I was making (none / 0) (#26)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:34:37 AM EST
    is it isn't about the brother-in-law. It isn't even about protecting her sister or her family (the courts are for that) It is about the Public Safety Commissioner who was punished for not firing someone the governor wanted fired. Like I said, I don't know if the accusations were true or not (I know a couple of friends of mine accused of stuff during custody battles that never happened), but Palin had no business firing the man's boss. The Commissioner didn't threaten anybody, was never accused of anything, and was well respected for doing a good job. He didn't deserve what he got. It's an abuse of her power as governor, period.

    I'm not 'going down this road', neither is the Obama campaign, they don't have too. The Alaskan media is all over this, the legislature and the state is investigating as well. I'm sorry, dismiss it you might, but these are serious charges (with evidence to back it up) and she's been caught outright lying about it. This isn't going away and the McCain campaign, if they were the least bit serious, should have know about it.


    OK, agree to disagree (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:40:11 AM EST
    From what I've read about it so far, she fired him because he didn't fire the brother-in-law which he should have done, in other words, he was being negligent in protecting the guy.

    I guess I'm on the side of the tasered kid, not those who protected the guy who did the tasering and issued death threats.


    My problem with this (5.00 / 1) (#65)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:18:25 AM EST
    -- although I appreciate that you reassert the need to attend to the timeline, as that is important, but -- I have seen too much of this sort of "blue wall" in my city.

    Fine young men, many of them, have died and others have been beaten in my city at the hands of cops who continue to get off because their union has gone too far, again and again.  And I am pro-union all the way, which is exactly why such unions concern me.

    Finally, a remnant of justice was restored here in one recent case only because some public officials allegedly overstepped their bounds, or so said the union and the do-nothing DA and do-nothing police and fire commission here.  Finally, a couple of cops got more than a slap on their wrists.

    Finally.  But dozens of other victims of police brutality here and/or their families still will never see justice done.

    And so I already have seen that stories such as we see here can be flung about in the media by unions and others.  But I also have seen that public officials who allegedly overstepped bounds were cleared in investigations such as the one being done on Palin now.  And those public officials ended up being applauded for doing something.  Finally.

    And more important, the impact has been that the police here began to get the message.  We have had no major instances of police brutality since -- and the union also is beginning to get more than a slap on the wrist, too.  Deservedly.  However, its actions have undermined those of so many others of us in the public employ who still are fighting for the right even to collective bargaining at all.

    So I'll wait and see -- while I apparently will have to continue to wade through all manner of selective cutting and pasting by bloggers and commenters with their own agendas.  


    I read somewhere (none / 0) (#31)
    by BernieO on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:55:29 AM EST
    that the boss admitted that at least some of the charges were true. The tasering was one if I remember correctly.

    Has it even been shown that Palin fired the guy because of her brother-in-law? Even if she did, I do think that if the guy should have been fired based on factual evidence but he wasn't, then she owed it to the people to fire his boss for not enforcing the law. Just because it was her brother-in-law doesn't mean she should have ignored this is it is indeed why she removed this man.

    Let's not forget that Palin went up against powerful right wing politicians who will stop at almost nothing to take down someone who does that, even a fellow Republican. McCain found that out the hard way in 2000. So these charges could have originated with the right-wing smear machine (which many Democrats seem to want to emulate, unfortunately).

    OT but about Palin's family. I heard that her mother-in-law said she didn't know if she would vote for McCain/Palin and that Palin wasn't ready! Ouch. Bet that gains her sympathy with women who have mothers-in-law that think they aren't good enough for their littly boys. Imagine the Palin family Thanksgiving dinner this year!


    Actually (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by cmugirl on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:24:17 AM EST

    The guy who was fired admitted that Palin never asked him to fire the former brother-in-law, although he felt pressure from some inside her administration. The accusations did not start with the official who was fired, but a blogger.

    Monegan, the official who was fired, said Palin, members of her administration, and her husband, raised the question as to why they trooper wasn't fired (which, in my estimation, is a legitimate question). Monegan was also offered the job to become the director to the state's alcohol control board. When he declined, he was fired.

    At the time Palin said she wanted the department to move in a new direction. But later, after Monegan said he felt pressured to fire Wooten, Palin at a news conference said Monegan wasn't a team player, didn't do enough to fill trooper vacancies and battle alcohol abuse issues in rural Alaska.

    Monegan could not be reached for comment, but he recently told the Anchorage Daily News that he was never directly told by Palin or anyone to fire Wooten. But he maintained that Palin, members of her administration and her husband, Todd Palin, raised the issue about Wooten's employment numerous times.

    A month after Monegan was dismissed, Palin revealed that at least two dozens calls were made from her staff members to Department of Public Safety officials, also questioning Wooten's employment. But she denied orchestrating the calls.

    One of those took place between Frank Bailey, Palin's director of boards and commissions, and an Alaska state trooper serving as a liaison to the Legislature.

    In the recorded conversation, Bailey is heard saying: "Todd and Sarah are scratching their heads, why on earth hasn't, why is this guy still representing the department? He's a horrible recruiting tool. ... You know, I mean from their perspective, everyone's protecting him."

    Palin has said she had no knowledge of the call, and Bailey told The Associated Press that he made the call without direction from anyone.

    Yeah (none / 0) (#34)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:59:12 AM EST
    I'm a monster because I think the governor abused her power and fired a guy who was following the law? It's rough justice because the law wouldn't do what it was supposed to in the first place? This is the type of justification that used to get people lynched in the old west.

    Again, I don't know if the worst of the charges were true. If they were, he should have been fired, if not, then he got punished for what they did find. It was not and is not the role of the governor to pressure the Public Safety Director to fire the guy, and she really overstepped her role when she ended the man's career for not doing what was illegal in the first place. This is why we have laws, courts, review boards, etc. There were other ways to address this kind of situation, rather than threatening people and throwing your weight around.


    LOL - nice rhetorical spinning, (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:06:30 AM EST
    did you learn it from TPM?

    A) I never called you a monster or any other name. But nice try at deflection.

    B) Yes, this situation is surely equivalent to lynching in the old west. Uh huh.

    C) The worst of the charges have ALREADY been admitted to, so maybe you should get your facts straight first.

    Bye bye now.


    People should really be shocked at this (none / 0) (#6)
    by steviez314 on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 06:12:58 AM EST
    I mean, I vetted my kids' nannies more carefully that this.

    When I buy a new car, I do more research than this.

    This kind of decision making process by a man who would be President is ridiculous.  It make Bush look thoughtful.

    The vetting process issue has nothing to do about Palin, but says everything about the type of seat-of-the-pants decisions you would get from the gambling, craps-loving McCain.

    What do you think presidents do? (none / 0) (#49)
    by parttime on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:50:48 AM EST
    This kind of decision making is exactly what presidents do. You need to make decisions daily on every matter in 5 minutes or less and delegate. That's why you need to be aware of issues and your instincts are important. Otherwise bureaucracy would do just fine dealing with the issues without needing the president.

    If McCain made the decision on Palin as fast as some say and hit it out of the ball park, that means he has what it takes to be president.

    The reason Obama takes the safe road in every decision is because he is new and doesn't know any better or doesn't try. In a way he is trying to run the clock until the election with minimal damage.


    Huh. I'm shocked at how many here (none / 0) (#66)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:23:02 AM EST
    on this blog have nannies.  Or maybe it's just you coming back again and again with the nanny defense.

    This certainly is more of an upscale group able to afford nannies than I knew.  I'm fascinated.  How many nannies are being paid to free up people's time to post here -- so that they can continue to imply that we must think of the children!  The children!


    Just imagine... (none / 0) (#14)
    by Ellis on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:23:07 AM EST
    if Palin were pro-choice. The Right Wing would be all over her for her lack of experience. There would be an open revolt in the Republican Party and much of the outrage would be focused on her pathetic resume.

    The Republican Party will begin losing elections -- all elections -- the day the voters start to hold it responsible for hypocrisy. Palin herself isn't the real problem. McCain is. If McCain is elected and then dies or becomes incapacitated (I think he's mentally incapacitated already), then Palin will be the problem. So, the key to Palin is making sure John McCain doesn't get elected.

    If it turns out that the vetting process was inadequate, that will be further evidence that McCain, for all his posturing, is way out of his depth running for president. The man is a joke. I'm not worried that much about Sarah Palin's meager qualifications; it is McCain who worries me. His choice of Palin is simply one more powerful (should I write POWerful?) indication that McCain is a danger to himself and others.

    The important thing is not whether HuffPo is a credible source (after all the Enquirer got it right on Edwards), but whether the information they have reported is true. I don't blame anyone for being skeptical about any source today. Voters have to pay attention and try to ascertain the veracity of all reports. Dismissing information simply because it comes from Ariana Huffington is irresponsible. Being skeptical is not.

    If that's directed at me, no I don't (none / 0) (#32)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:56:29 AM EST
    consider him a victim. I consider him someone who was negligent in his duty for protecting a domestic abuser. He should have fired him, he didn't fired him, and so he got fired for not doing his job. Plus, it's not like he got tasered or beaten or anything, he got fired from his job. I think the tasered kid, the wife, and the guy who was threatened with death are much more 'victim' than this guy.

    But I'm not a lawyer, and I've worked a lot with victims of domestic abuse whose abusers get protected by cops, courts, and others, so I admittedly have a different perspective than you perhaps.

    Oh, and also, just FYI... (none / 0) (#33)
    by Dr Molly on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 08:57:46 AM EST
    Anything that starts out with "from TPM" pretty much makes me laugh as a first reaction.

    Did you miss this laugh? (none / 0) (#40)
    by Cream City on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:20:27 AM EST
    "I am not aware of the McCain campaign researching our archives, but archive requests do not usually go through me."

    A quote from Huffpo that could have been said by the head janitor at the newspaper, too.


    That was then (none / 0) (#77)
    by suki on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 05:37:02 PM EST
    and this is now.
    Sad, but true.

    Remember (none / 0) (#44)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:33:16 AM EST
    Walter Monegan, the Public safety Commissioner who was canned, came to the job in 2006, and didn't have anything to do with the original punishment meted out to the brother-in-law.

    You are right (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by CoralGables on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:58:21 AM EST
    The problem is very few look at the timeline. They only look at what they want to see. Yes, this entire trooper issue was settled long before Palin was Governor and long before Walter Monegan was the Public Safety Commissioner.

    Indeed, a good approach to take is...if you believe all the accusations presented by the father in law against the trooper are true, and child custody was still in doubt...doesn't that raise the question as to just what the rest of the family must be like?


    Huffpo knows nothing (none / 0) (#47)
    by americanincanada on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 09:48:09 AM EST
    and are just slinging crap tp try and dirty Palin up. There is no way on god's green earth that a blogger is going to come up with some scoop that the vetting process missed regarding 'troopergate' when the whole thing is in the news.

    Not to mention there have been no indicments, no formal charges and nothing found yet to implicate her. Just a he said/she said situation.

    If it was so cut and dried and so obvious that she was in the wrong we would know it by now. The inbvestigation has been going on for at least a month.

    Get a grip people, this is silly. Issues is the only way to beat them...not this.

    Issues and the American voter (none / 0) (#51)
    by Ellis on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:17:39 AM EST
    Get a grip people, this is silly. Issues is the only way to beat them...not this.

    As much as I wish what you say were true, there isn't a great deal of evidence that it is. The research confirms that American voters (always woefully uninformed anyway) make their decisions based on emotion much more than on "issues."

    If you're like me, you appreciate rational, in-depth discussions of important issues pertaining to the well-being of one's country. But if that's who you are, you're in a minority.

    There's an interesting book about this very subject:
    The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, by Drew Westen

    The book's arguments and evidence will not comfort you.


    If voters are going to make this (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by americanincanada on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:29:19 AM EST
    decision based on emotion then we will lose. All of the smears floating around about Palin and the blatant dismissal of her will make voters recoil from the democratic ticket.

    Emotional winners and losers (none / 0) (#69)
    by Ellis on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:25:32 AM EST
    It's not that simple. Voters didn't "recoil" from the Swiftboaters in 2004. They didn't recoil from the Willie Horton ads in 1988.

    It's more about how the issues are presented than what the topic is. Republicans aren't appealing to reason when they call Democrats traitors, or cowards, or weak on terrorism. They're appealing to emotion. But appeals to emotion can be honest as well as dishonest.

    In election after election the Democrats have the edge on the issues and lose the election. They don't need to change their positions on the issues, they need to present their arguments differently. For my part, I couldn't run a winning campaign, because even if I knew what had to be done (and I don't because I don't respond well to the kinds of emotional arguments that are made in campaigns), I doubt if I could do it.

    Republican arguments always have an advantage, because they're easily stuffed into black and white boxes. I have no respect for American voters (obviously I'm not referring to all voters, just most), but given their obvious limitations it's not difficult to see why Democrats are so often unsuccessful.

    Obama is at a huge disadvantage in debates. He's a great public speaker, but from what I've seen so far, he's a terrible extemporaneous speaker in a debate context. McCain can expect to trounce Obama. McPOW will fire off his answers in neat little (often incoherent) packages filled with key words and phrases. Obama will hem and haw, ponder and then give a reasoned answer (a real answer) to the question -- and he will have lost the point. Unless he dramatically alters his style (and I doubt he will), I doubt he'll do well in the debates.

    See if you can find the book I mentioned and read it. It may change your perspective.

    To cmugirl The way you put it, the choice will be easy for millions of Americans. Obama's job is to present his case in a way that gives him an advantage. If he can't do that, he may lose and we're screwed.


    cumgirls comment was deleted (none / 0) (#71)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:31:09 AM EST
    as a personal attack on Obama.

    Again (none / 0) (#78)
    by TomStewart on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 07:09:05 PM EST
    bloggers come up with important news alllll the time. Remember the DOJ Attorney's scandal, tracked down and pursued by TPM.

    Also, the Dems really don't have to do anything but let the media and the investigation have at. I think Palin will self destruct and take of big chunk of McCain with her.

    It's comiong out now that there was NO vetting process. It's being reported the the McCain campaign is only now sending in lawyers to investigate Palin. Their 'vetting' process seems to have been doing a Google search and reading her own press releases.


    This thread seems (none / 0) (#54)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:31:45 AM EST
    to be a good place to mention a question and answer Sarah Palin did a few years back. For those who think that her views are so bad, I recommend reading it.

    I have seen several of these (none / 0) (#62)
    by americanincanada on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:08:36 AM EST
    and despite some of the things she said about 'marriage' being a prioirty she still erred on the side of pragmatism and the constitution.

    I do not fear her. In addition I have faith in our system of divided government and expect my elected congresspeople to do their jobs.


    Clearly (none / 0) (#63)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:11:39 AM EST
    you find her appealing. That's your choice. If you find an anti-choice, anti-gay rights, pro-home schooling politician appealing then clearly you are posting on the wrong site. Can you point to the section in the Constitution that defines marriage? It appears that my copy is missing that section. She erred on the side of Republican talking points.

    Hey, if Sarah Palin... (none / 0) (#73)
    by Ellis on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:43:29 AM EST
    ...was good enough for the Founding Fathers, she's good enough for me.

    Can you point to the section in the Constitution that defines marriage?

    Man, are you ignorant. It's right after the part about this being a Christian nation and right before the part about the Pledge of Allegiance. You need to study your Constitution, boy!

    I'd have a lot more sympathy for her views on education if Thomas Jefferson were the parent doing the home schooling instead of Sarah Palin.

    The problem is most parents don't have a clue what their kids educational needs are. First of all, education should not be indoctrination (although there is plenty of that in public schools), but every fundamentalist Christian home schooler is likely to be indoctrinator first, educator second (if ever).


    Oops (none / 0) (#64)
    by flyerhawk on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:13:03 AM EST
    that should have said "for those who believe her views AREN'T so bad".

    No (none / 0) (#58)
    by cmugirl on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 10:37:04 AM EST
    I consider him a political appointee who knew going in that he serves at the will of the governor.  Add to that fact that he was offered another top state job and refused it, well, there's no victim here.

    Bernie O has been suspended for violating (none / 0) (#72)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 11:32:32 AM EST
    the ban against bringing up personal rumors to smear Palin.

    Environment (none / 0) (#75)
    by Gustavion on Mon Sep 01, 2008 at 01:17:46 PM EST
    What worries me most about McCain/Palin ticket is their environmental policy (especially regarding drilling in the ANWR). I think it is evermore important for us, as consumers to support 'green businesses' that benefit the environment. For example, http://www.simplestop.net stops your postal junk mail and benefits the environment.