I Told You So

By Stephen Noriega

I posted the blog on September 15th, 2008. It was right after the GOP convention, when everyone loved her. I said this was the worst pick for the John McCain campaign. Now I get to say, “I told you so” with pride, annoying volume and belligerent indignation.

sarahpalin21

Photo by The National Inquirer, distributed 2008

It came to pass quickly, Senator McCain, that your only path to winning an election was doing things that may damage you further than this campaign. Governor Palin took John McCain places that he will regret. In the heat of this contest, with veneers of anger shrouding the obvious, McCain fell into the Palin trap of off-message rants and poisonous speeches designed to illicit fear and xenophobia, not optimism or hope©.

Governor Palin made it quite clear that she wished to be an active, policy-making Vice President. This is simply a continuation of a modern trend. Starting with Richard Nixon and his ambassadorial skills, the Vice President has slowly become more important. Al Gore was often criticized for taking an excessive role in helping Clinton with policy issues. Dick Cheney took the office to a whole new level, holding secret meetings, being in charge of entire policy realms and showing a true disdain for Congress and even the voters.

Did McCain really want a powerful vice president with whom he could barely get along? Sarah Palin did not answer the third grader’s question incorrectly. She meant that she wanted to have power and influence over the Senate. Perhaps Sarah Palin is not ignorant about constitutional issues, at least compared to most other people. Sarah Palin has been an executive of larger and larger offices and she saw this as a path to even more political clout. She will certainly not be another Thomas R. Marshall (considered the laziest Vice President under Woodrow Wilson). She wanted to be another Dick Cheney. Perhaps she knows painfully little about the Constitution. This is even more frightening than a politician’s ambition. With the clothing scandal, she may end up being another Spiro Agnew, constantly messing with McCain’s authority like Agnew did with Nixon until being pulled asunder by a petty transgression. (http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oew-edwards-lichtman5-2008sep05,0,5935217.story)

It is not just Palin’s eye on power that had McCain in a bad way because of her. Palin is a politician, and politicians seek power. That is what they do. But Palin couldn’t even follow the talking points of the campaign. McCain must have developed serious reservations about how she will follow policy talking points once comfortably in Washington, D.C. When the issue of Palin’s clothes emerged as a thorn in the campaign, everyone tried to stifle the nano-scandal and move on. Not Governor Palin. She continued to defend the $150,000.00+ makeover.

Even people in the McCain campaign revolted. Anonymous rats, stinging with bitterness of being in the wrong campaign, started to take shots at the candidate with the anxious ears of the press wide open.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone… She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else. Also she is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: divas trust only unto themselves as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.” (CNN – 10/2008)

Palin has shown sides of this in the media view. Instead acting humble, especially after some disastrous interviews with infamous soft-ball-throwers like Katie Couric, Palin went on the offense. She spewed venom at rallies that incited the lunatic fringe of her party with never a speck of clarification or apology. When McCain saw the potential destructive nature of this, he voiced his disapproval of the personal hatred campaign, something an honorable person does. Palin apparently never got the memo.

With each bumble, misunderstanding of history, petty scandal and word of aggression, Governor Sarah Palin demonstrated how she was the worst pick the McCain campaign could have made. This is not about gender. This is not about politics or political agendas. This is about a person who did not deserve, because of a lack of competence, any consideration of such an importance office.

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6 Comments

Filed under American Electorate, McCain, Palin, Republican, Vice-President

6 responses to “I Told You So

  1. Sarah Popp

    I don’t necessarily think that Palin was the worst pick McCain could have made, but as it turned out, she was a terrible choice. She did a pretty good job with her speech at the RNC, and I thought at that point that she might be okay. Then, we all found out how little she knows. After the Vice-Presidential debate, the only reason that the media did not eat her alive was because no one expected much. I think that the Republicans were bound to lose this election no matter what because of Bush and the last eight years, but had McCain picked a decent running mate, it may have been much closer.

  2. Heather Ellerbrock

    …and even a couple weeks after the election she is still talking about the clothes…

  3. snickerbites

    I think it was obvious that things were going to go wrong with this pick right from the start. I believe that if it was McCain’s strategy to gain more votes from the Republican base, it definitely wasn’t a good one. In me opinion, with the economy as bad as it was at the time, he needed to move as far away from any resemblance from Bush as possible and maybe more toward the middle. Instead he picked a Governor that is inexperienced, extremely conservative, and full of herself for his running mate.

    Sure at first she seemed ok, with her persuasive speech at the RNC, but you have to realize that those probably weren’t even her words to begin with. Her words started coming out when she began acting against her advisor’s recommendations and started bad mouthing their opponent.

    McCain really took it hard with her as the VP, but we also have to realize that there were a lot of other factors that aided in their loss.

  4. Shawn_Scanlon

    I think that Sarah Palin was a radical choice for VP. I think McCain needed a game-changer. Picking Palin didn’t work.

    But I don’t think picking Romney or Huckabee would have changed the fundamentals of the race. A McCain-Romney ticket would have been even worse during the economic crisis: When McCain couldn’t remember how many homes he had, he was reminded that it was 7; I’m not sure that a ticket with a combined 12 homes worth over $40 million would have played well during that period.

    Huckabee would have been another transparently political pick to satisfy the base, and a safe choice that wouldn’t fundamentally change the race.

    Jindal may have been the only choice besides Palin to shake things up, but he’d be the first VP in history to have performed exorcisms. Yikes.

  5. Tony Robinson

    Provocative post, Stephen. Thanks especially for the tip on the laziest veep of all time, Woodrow Wilson’s man. Never know when I might be on “who wants to be a millionaire,” and that Question just might be the winner…

    I agree with the overall thrust that Palin ended up being a horrible choice and a drag on the ticket. Josh Raines and others in class have argued that she enthused the base–but this argument is overstated, for several reasons. First, there are many choices that could have enthused the base, and that would have been better than Palin. Huckabee, for example. Second, the base never was that enthused. turnout among Republicans was lower than expected, and lower than in 2004. Third, enthusing the base isn’t a good strategy if it means driving away the lion’s share of new voters and independents–which is what Palin helped to do. Polls show she made people overall less likely to vote McCain.

    Shawn is correct tht McCain had to choose a radical game changer, so he took his shot with Palin. I also agree with his assessment that it probably wouldn’t have mattered what game changer he went for–none of them would have mattered much in the end. The fundamentals of the race were too strong for a single unexpected veep choice to make a difference, no matter who it was. Still, someone like Jindal would have reflected far more favorably on McCain and maybe resulted in a bit closer of an election…

    Stephen is right to point out all the ways that Palin wound up being an unpredictable, seemingly incompetent, and overly negative campaigner. I would be shocked if the GOP actually stuck with her in 2012. There’s a bit of loyalty now for the soldier who fought the good fight (Palin)–but the GOP will sober up by 2012 and realize that the way of Palin is the way of Dem electoral landslide on the level of 1972.

  6. Melissa

    John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential candidate because he wanted to win. He wanted to pull that conservative base together to support her, and it was a terrible mistake. I don’t think he fully understood who the woman was that he had chosen. She was a very bad choice. She had a bad attitude towards the media, and when she blamed them for her inability to answer their questions was a clear sign that this woman was not ready to hold the position of Vice President. I believe you correct when you say that she wanted to have power and influence over the Senate, for she is a very motivated person when it comes to gaining higher positions. It is too bad for John McCain’s sake that he chose someone that he thought could help him win the election, and not someone who was best for the job.

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