ABC: McCain Decided On Palin THURSDAY NIGHT, Wanted Lieberman

ABC's Jan Crawford Greenburg has a fascinating piece up on McCain's decision making process in choosing Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

Apparently Palin was a last-minute pick, was only vetted this week, and was only chosen by McCain once it became clear that his desired pick, Lieberman, wasn't feasible.

It wasn't until Sunday night that John McCain, after meeting with his four top advisers, finally decided he could not tap independent Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut to be his running mate. One adviser, tasked with taking the temperature of the conservative base, had strongly made the case to McCain that it would be a disaster for the party and that the base would revolt. McCain concluded he could not go that route.

The next day, McCain studied the three men at the top of his shortlist: Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge. All had different strengths and negatives, but McCain was not satisfied. None of them had what McCain believed he needed to do -- and would have done -- with Lieberman.

The campaign secretly flew Palin into Dayton last night. She and McCain met privately for a couple of hours. McCain concluded she would "shake up the system" and was "a maverick," qualities he believed Lieberman would have brought to the ticket. But she also would appeal to conservatives -- which Lieberman most certainly would not have done.

After their meeting, McCain concluded he was comfortable with his choice. He notified Pawlenty this morning that he was going in a different direction.

I had been wondering in the back of my mind if the success of the Dem Convention - and Obama's bump in the polls - had led McCain to panic. Now we have confirmation that he did indeed make the decision to pick Palin while all of this was going on - and made the final call during or after Obama's acceptance speech.

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PREDICTION: Palin out!

Firing someone for not doing family favors (not knowing why she fired him does not cut it); knowingly promoting a sexual harasser; creationism, only two meeting with McJoke, inexperience, endangered species killer, potsmoker, etc., etc. We learn all this is in only four hours. Tomorrow we will have a tome.  I have a bold prediction from a reeling mind and BTW: McJoke truly lost his marbles-in comparison to Q, at least Quayle had a foot in the ground (he was inexperenced but got a bad break- the potato spelling thing- please: he was a two term Senator from a major state coming from an important family- and he did have some important accomplishments)- the convention may be postponed- and if it is, the hurricane is only part of the reason-This time next week Palin will no longer be the VP nominee- you heard it here first.  

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I have just one question

If today is John McCain's birthday, why did he give us a present?

I strongly disagree with the idea that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin is a game-changer for the Republicans.

Hillary Clinton gave a strong endorsement of Barack Obama on Tuesday and will be out campaigning for him this fall. I'm supposed to believe that women who preferred Hillary in the Democratic primaries will flock to McCain, with his horrible record on women's issues, because a conservative woman is his running mate?

I get the rationale for picking Palin, as laid out here by Chris Bowers and in a different way by Iowa blogger Douglas Burns.

But McCain is staking his campaign on persuading Americans that Obama is "not ready to lead." I cannot see how it helps McCain to choose a running mate who is younger and less experienced than Obama. Palin has served less than two years as governor and before that was mayor of a town with fewer than 10,000 residents.

At 72 years old, McCain would be the oldest president ever elected. He is also a cancer survivor. Can the Republicans make the case that Palin is ready to lead this country should the need arise?

Supposedly the GOP base will be thrilled to see the anti-choice Palin on the ticket. I read some "mommy blogs" written by religious conservatives and will be checking them in the next few days to see how they react to this pick. (These bloggers tended to favor either Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul.)

I assume they will be relieved that McCain did not choose the detested Mitt Romney. However, I am not convinced these rank and file members of the religious right will celebrate Palin's selection. They believe women should be homemakers who homeschool their children, and they think feminism and the trend toward working outside the home is undermining "Biblical womanhood."

No matter how enthusiastically the Republican pundits welcome Palin, I suspect that many social conservatives will feel she should be at home, taking care of her special-needs infant and schooling her older children.

The business wing of the Republican base tended to support Romney in the primaries. Mitt himself is reportedly furious at the way McCain strung him along. Look for the knives to come out if anything goes wrong with Palin--for instance, if she gets tainted by the trial of Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.

I'm skeptical that Palin will neutralize Joe Biden (supposedly because he can't afford to be seen as a bully). Biden has two jobs: to alleviate concerns about Obama's lack of experience, and to be an attack dog. The first task will be easier with Palin as his counterpart. As for the second, Biden can ignore Palin most of the time and focus his fire on McCain during the only vice-presidential debate.

Choosing Palin looks like a Hail Mary pass from a candidate who knows he will lose unless he shakes things up in a big way. I'm feeling much more optimistic about Obama's chances than I did five days ago.

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How to Beat McCain/ Palin - Hit the GOP on Corruption

By picking Palin, McCain is signaling that he is going to jettison the experience argument and try to make the REPUBLICAN ticket the ticket of change. Except that for McCain, the key word will be "reform." McCain and Palin will try to own reform the same way the Obama campaign has owned change. And they are hoping the choice of Palin will reinforce that message, even if it's more in an optics way than in terms of actual facts. At the very least, it's designed to make it harder for Obama to tie McCain to Bush.

So how should Obama respond? The first response out of the gate has been to hit Palin on experience, noting the fact she will be a "heartbeat" away from the Presidency. That's a nice start, but not enough to close the deal. The good news, however, is that it nullifies that argument against Obama and makes him look experienced by comparison.

To really close the deal, the Obama campaign needs to take a page from the Republicans and go after McCain and Palin's strength, the theme of reform.

Of course, as usual in politics, both McCain and Sarah Palin's records of "reform" are highly overrated.

Most recently, Palin has been embroiled in a scandal in which her staff pushed for the firing of a state trooper who was involved in a custody battle with her sister.

But the true gold may be in Palin's ties to the notoriously corrupt Alaskan Republican party.

As Jonathan Singer notes on the front page, the Ted Stevens trial is coming up:

With the trial of Ted Stevens beginning next month, and a verdict likely in the case before election day, what happens to the Republican presidential ticket if and when the case comes to a close in mid- or late-October.

There was an extent to which John McCain had an opportunity to deflect criticism over the trial of Stevens, the longest serving Republican Senator in history, given the fact that the two haven't tended to be particularly close on Capitol Hill. However, by picking Sarah Palin, McCain is wholeheartedly embracing the Stevens machine, which is in tatters in Alaska following not only the indictment of the senior Senator but also the cases against and investigations into state legislators close to him (including his son Ben Stevens, the former President of the state Senate).

With Palin so closely aligned with Stevens -- and under an ethics investigation herself -- what happens if and when a verdict in the Stevens trial comes down, say, on October 20th, roughly two weeks from election day? What if it comes down on the Thursday before election day? I'm not sure we know the exact answer -- but I've got a feeling that such an outcome wouldn't be a great one for the McCain campaign.

The Obama campaign need to highlight what is happening in Alaska - and weave it into a storyline, which the public is already familiar with, of Republican corruption in Washington. Heck, it looks Cheney could even be involved. In doing so, they will expose how absurd it is that McCain and Palin are trying to run as "reformers."

There's plenty of dirt on McCain too - Keating Five might not be so relevant anymore, but Abramoff sure is.

Don't get me wrong, the Obama campaign should still try to link McCain to Bush. But the good news is they doesn't need to try to tie Palin to Bush - not directly. She already has a great tie-in in her own home state.

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Palin in Comparison

This morning, Senator John McCain chose his Vice Presidential nomination.  It was widely expected to be Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney, or possibly even fallen Democrat Joe Lieberman.  When Senator McCain made his selection, the country stepped back, shook its head, and collectively went, "Whaaaa?"

After asking myself "What the fuck is a Sarah Palin?", Sarah Palin, at first appearance, seems to be the bizarro Liz Lemon.  She is 44 which technically makes her a MILF... and her appeal ends there.

Palin has been governor of Alaska for less than two years.  With a population of 660,000 people, being Governor of Alaska is comparable to being mayor of mayor of Columbus, Ohio (Columbus actually is more populous with a population of 712,000).

Before that, her experience is limited to being a councilperson and Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 9,000. (For reference I was a Senator for the De Anza College Associated Student Body Senate; De Anza College in Cupertino, California has 25,000 students who would have been my constituents.)

Sarah Palin is a heartbeat away from the presidency - a possibility given Senator McCain's advanced age and prior battles with cancer.  She is SUPREMELY unqualified for the office of the Presidency of the United States; it is not simple enough to say that she is not experienced enough, but rather she lacks experience - period.

Republicans were likely to carry Alaska anyways - and maybe this will help embattled and indicted Senator Ted Stevens in his re-election bid if he avoids conviction.  But aside from that, she brings nothing to the ticket except trouble.

Congratulations, Senator McCain - you seem to have tapped the single most unqualified governor or senator in the country for the simple reason that she has ovaries.  

Oh man, he is gonna SO lose hard.

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