GOP nominees should learn from McCain’s mistakes when choosing VP

Rumors abound as to who the two GOP frontrunners, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich, will name as the VP picks. Marco Rubio? Bobby Jindal? Kelly Ayotte? Donald Trump? …just kidding with that last one. But one thing is for certain: Their pick can’t go down as badly as McCain’s.

Sarah Palin was a mistake. There is little to debate in that regard. How big of a mistake she was came on quickly and slammed the GOP straight in the face. Lost among the Palin laugh lines on Saturday Night Live and the continuous reels of blunders made by the now infamous Alaskan was an obvious question: How could the McCain campaign have missed such obvious warning signs? The answer is simple: They didn’t ask.

The book “Game Change” by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin paints a clear picture of the failures of the McCain campaign to fully vet their VP pick. After a long temptation to take on Democrat Joe Lieberman as his VP candidate, McCain finally moved on in the direction of the Great White North. In picking Palin, which was done quite quickly and quite randomly, McCain’s campaign staff (most notably Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter, McCain’s top advisors) asked her plenty of questions.

Do you believe in evolution? – she said yes.

Do you have a problem with McCain’s pro-life stance? – she said no.

Have you thought about the impact this will have on your family? – yes.

Will you be 100 percent committed to this project? – yes.

The problem? None of these have anything to do with her preparedness for the vice presidency. Says the book: “They asked her nothing to plumb the depths of her knowledge about foreign or domestic policy. They didn’t explore her preparedness to be vice president. They assumed she knew as much as the average governor, and what she didn’t know, she would pick up on the fly. They weren’t searching for problems. They were looking for a last-second solution.”

Needless to say, the assumptions Salter and Schmidt made were horrendously wrong. Palin didn’t know why North and South Korea were two different countries, she didn’t read newspapers, and according to the book, thought Saddam Hussein was behind 9/11. Was it logical for the advisory duo to assume that Palin didn’t know any of that? Absolutely not – a well educated seventh grader knows all of that. But she didn’t.

To be fair, the pair knew Palin was a risk. But they thought it was a well-calculated one. They, for instance, picked her over safer Tim Pawlenty, who salter said would gain McCain nothing. “I’d rather lose by 10 points trying to go for the win than lose by one point and say ‘Goddamn it, I should have gone for the win.'”

But the pick came too quickly. When Palin’s name finally hit the airwaves, the McCain campaign was completely ill-prepared to deal with the onslaught of questions because they didn’t know how to answer them. They didn’t know who she was, no one really knew why they had picked her. They just did. They just needed someone fast, and that’s who they got.

But it seems that lessons are already being learned from last cycle’s blunders. Romney seems to have a list of about 15 potential candidates, including Kelly Ayotte, a Republican senator from New Hampshire. He’s also said he’d like someone like Dick Cheney – as unpopular as the man may be. “…whether you agree or disagree with him, this a man of wisdom and judgment, and he could have been president of the United States,” Romney told a crowd while campaigning in Arizona. “That’s the kind of person I’d like to have–a person of wisdom and judgment.”

Gingrich has also chatted a bit about his picks. Earlier this month, he said it was a “real possibility” he would ask Herman Cain to be his running mate, though it’s unclear whether that still stands given Cain’s recent drop from the race. He’s also discussed Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Ohio Senator Rob Portman.

It’s good to see the veep discussion getting started early. After all, we spend months and months picking our president, and then one person gets to select the number two spot for the whole country … by himself. It makes much more sense for the American public to be involved as early in the process as possible.

Sarah Palin was officially announced as the VP candidate on Aug. 28, 2008. The Republican National Convention was held Sept. 1. Keeping the nation in waiting that long is absurd, especially by recent standards. Bush chose Cheney well before the convention, as did Gore with Lieberman and Kerry with Edwards. All of those VP picks went through a heavy vetting process.

The McCain campaign made a mistake by allowing him to believe that he could have Lieberman as his running mate. As close as the two were, that would have been game over for his campaign. Instead, they waited until the bitter end to change his mind and then went with someone they knew little to nothing about.

Newt and Mitt should take a hint. As bitter as the rivalry between the two may become, under no circumstances should they wait as long as McCain to come out with their final picks. Under no circumstances should they put them under such a soft investigation. Hopefully both campaigns have the wherewithal to understand the implications of their VP pick.

While McCain’s campaign may have been doomed for failure even without Palin, Palin has certainly left a negative lasting impression on the Republican Party, and she has become a joke. Her name, when said just the right way, evokes laughter on its own. If our two current frontrunners hope to avoid that fate, it is time to start handing out current event quizzes.

Posted by on December 7, 2011. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

16 Responses to GOP nominees should learn from McCain’s mistakes when choosing VP

  1. Pingback: GOP nominees should learn from McCain’s mistakes when choosing VP | Gen Why Press

  2. Ubiquitous Reply

    December 7, 2011 at 11:06 pm


    With all due respect I don’t find your “points” or alleged facts significient to making her less than the most qualified person to serve this country as POTUS.

  3. Ubiquitous Reply

    December 7, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    Yes I’m compelled to repudiate your contentions as being from one who doesn’t read dictionaries.

    For example the New Oxford American Dictionary had this to say about “refudiate”:

    “From a strictly lexical interpretation of the different contexts in which Palin has used ‘refudiate,’ we have concluded that neither ‘refute’ nor ‘repudiate’ seems consistently precise, and that ‘refudiate’ more or less stands on its own, suggesting a general sense of ‘reject.’”

    In other words she created an appropriate new word.

    • Jessica Huseman Reply

      December 7, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      Omg this is TOO MUCH. too much. Ladies and gentlemen, we have found him. It’s Todd Palin. It has to be. I’m going to laugh about this comment for the rest of the night.

      • Ubiquitous Reply

        December 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm

        I guarantee this is not Todd Palin. Nor is it anyone associated with anyone in the Palin family or team whatsoever in any way shape or form. I’m just an ordinary guy from WA State who has watched the political arena for a long time and who esteems wisdom and integrity in our public servants when such qualities seem relatively non-existent because of the money stream flowing into Washington DC.

      • POTUS Reply

        December 7, 2011 at 10:06 pm

        Irregardless, you’re being an absotively ridiculotastic. Your arguments have positastically destruined my little shpeel. Looks like you are wintorious.

        Do you see how absurd that is? And in fact, you just shot down my made up word comment but nothing else, so I am assuming that you agree with my other points.

  4. Ubiquitous Reply

    December 7, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    >Jessica Huseman

    Sarah Palin as elected two term mayor caused the town of Wasilla to prosper for the first time.

    Sarah Palin was not in office just “a few short months” as you wrote. She served as Governor for 2 1/2 years and maintained an 80% approval rating the entire time she was in office. The Obama team sent busloads of people to uncover dirt on her and found nothing. The snarky pundits examined her 24,000 emails form her term as governor and found she was a highly effective governor. Unlike Romney who spent nearly $100,000 to hide his emails from his his single term as governor, which position he did not run for again because of his dismal approval rating.

    She did more during those 2 1/2 years than many governors do during 8 years.
    She guided an economy that was running a billion dollars in the red under a corrupt system (such as in Washington DC) to one running nearly $10 billion in the black.
    She initiated the largest construction project in North America in recent years.
    She took on corruption in her own party and had the leader of her own party fined $12,000.00.

    She relinquished a six figure job as Chairwoman of the highly influential State of Alaska Oil and Gas Commission (which absolutely controls the state’s oil & gas reserves) based on her ethical principles because of corrupt crony capitalism by other members. Oil & gas executives subsequently went to prison. No one else of equivalent national political stature is as reform capable at rooting out corruption as Sarah Palin.

    Sarah Palin defeated an incumbent governor in the Alaska Republican primary election and went on to defeat a former governor in the general election. She is a winner.

    Sarah Palin was the MVP Point guard who guided her basketball team to a State Championship. She is a winner at everything she does.

    Many highly publicized false accusations and distortions have been made against Sarah Palin. The 20 or so smear motivated unsubstantiated allegations she was somehow unethical are more examples of how she has been vetted for more than any other potential candidate for POTUS and comes away shining.

    Unlike Obama who was not vetted.

    If the electorate is sick and tired of the corruption amongst politicians in Washington DC then Sarah Palin is the only truly reform minded person who is legitimately qualified to serve as POTUS.

    • Jessica Huseman Reply

      December 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm

      Functionally she was in office for a “few short months.” she was running around attempting to campaign for the rest. And your polls are way off, sir.

      But anyway. Even if she was an awesome governor of Alaska, that doesn’t qualify her to be president. Your tirades about Romney, Obama and whoever else are irrelevant to this post, and Sarah palin is still dumber than my pot smoking next door neighbor who thought my name was Murphy yesterday.

      • Ubiquitous Reply

        December 7, 2011 at 8:36 pm

        I appreciate your interest in setting the record straight.

        Functionally Sarah Palin accomplished more in 2 1/2 years as governor than most other governors accomplish in 8.

        Her emails show she was a highly effective governor. There’s no credible claim to a diminution of her effectiveness as governor consequential to pre-consideration of her as a McCains VP running mate that I’ve ever come across. Of course she gave birth while governor. I would assume that would have slowed her down a bit wouldn’t you?

        My bad describing her approval rating over the entire term of her governorship when I’d intended to reference it until she was selected as McCains running mate.

        Regardless, Sarah Palin is more qualified to serve as POTUS than Romney or Gingrich as a close vetting of their records as effective leaders, effective administrators, effectiveness at reducing budgets, and effectiveness at PRODUCING JOBS while reducing spending would show.

        The country is wallowing in pooh and some people want more of the same.

        The country needs EXECUTIVE LEADERSHIP of a type only Sarah Palin would bring to instigate effective and sudden reform, so as to get Washington DC to start working for the people instead of against the people and keep us from wallowing in Wasington’s relentless pooh!

        • Jessica Huseman Reply

          December 7, 2011 at 8:42 pm

          We’ll have to agree to disagree. After all, if emails are what you are basing success on, I have bigger battles to wage.

  5. Brooks L. Powell Reply

    December 7, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    I’ve always found CAPITAL LETTERS add legitimacy to my arguments that logic cannot.

  6. Ubiquitous Reply

    December 7, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    If integrity, wisdom, and appropriate executive experience to serve as POTUS no other person is more qualified than Sarah Palin.

    Katie Couric and her progressive ilk are more interested in the flavor of the week than they are of the temprement and personal integrity of a potential US president.

    Why are pundits so immoral that they do not make personal integrity the most important criteria for anyone to serve in public office?

    We are reminded daily of how corrupt the entire political system is in Washington DC. Yet the main stream media especially and many prolific inattentive bloggers, who don’t otherwise seem to have a life other than to denigrate people who have an internal compass and stand for principles that promote the betterment of the individual in today’s world, are actively trying to destroy our civilization by maliciously tearing down responsible people.

    There is NO ONE more qualified to serve as POTUS than Sarah Palin if personal integrity is but one factor of the consideration.

    • Jessica Huseman Reply

      December 7, 2011 at 3:06 pm

      There is no way that personal integrity alone qualifies someone to be the second in command of the United States. Believe it or not, there is some knowledge of foreign policy, economics and politics necessary to do the job. That’s sort of like saying I’m qualified to be a doctor because I’m nice to people.

      • Ubiquitous Reply

        December 7, 2011 at 4:05 pm

        Mischaracterization of what I wrote isn’t attractive.

        IF INTEGRITY was included amongst the considerations for political candidates no other candidate would hold a candle to Sarah Palin. They would be disqualified out the gate. Sarah Palin’s 8 1/2 years of vastly SUPERIOR EXECUTIVE EXPERIENCE (including being the only politician who has a actual record of actually cutting budgets) in an ELECTED OFFICE which no other GOP presidental candidate has is, ONE example of why she is the ONLY who has proven they can turn the economy around for the betterment of the country.

        Sarah Palin’s consistent 80% approval rating as Governor up until the time she was chosen by John McCain to run with him is UNHEARD OF AMONGST any elected office holder in such a significant position. Indeed he immediately shot up and skyrocketed in the polls after selecting her as his running mate, until he suspended his campaign in acquiesence to the CORRUPT Federal Reserve and the international bankers who strive to bring you the NWO.

        Sarah Palin is independent. Who does she serve but the people she actually represents? No one! She proudly serves the people using the founding documents of her State of Alaska as her guide as Governor. We can be assured she would serve the people of this great nation using the founding documents of this great nation as her guide.

        NO ONEis more qualified to serve as POTUS than Sarah Palin.

        • Jessica Huseman Reply

          December 7, 2011 at 4:35 pm

          Snarky comments aren’t attractive either. Nor is twisting facts.

          Being a two term mayor of a small town and then leaving office after only a few short months hardly qualifies as executive experience. Of course she had a high approval rating. She had JUST been elected. Its not uncommon for governors to have that high of an approval rating in their first few months of office. Notice that her ratings dropped substantially as soon as she took on the VP race. Alaska was embarrassed of her.

          Sarah Palin was not in office long enough anywhere to make any changes. Yeah, she cut some things in Alaska. but she wasn’t even in office when they went through. Alaska has so much oil money that it’s hard NOT to have a working economy and it’s easy to cut expenses.

          Clearly arguing with you about the real qualifications of Sarah Palin is fruitless. Go ahead and argue that someone who couldn’t pass the citizenship test in her own country is qualified to be president, fine. But if she’s qualified to be president, I’d like to request that I be the next person to perform any surgery you might need. I’ll do a great job.

      • POTUS Reply

        December 7, 2011 at 5:52 pm

        Ubiquitous, my friend,

        Personal integrity is your argument for president? Why not then elect Big Bird, Brian Williams/Anderson Cooper (whichever you prefer), Morgan Freeman, or anyone else who has this “integrity”? Before you jump the guy and go, “But idiot, those people are just people on TV/movies/whatever!” well guess what? Sarah Palin is also a TV character, hosting her own reality show about her life, bringing herself to the level of Snooki, the Kardashians, Millionaire Matchmaker, and all of that heinous television. Sarah Palin, I’m sure she is a nice lady, but is completely full of herself. She loves being the center of attention, going out and creating buzz for the media to feed on just so she can live in the spotlight. It was clear that she was an idiot when she had her first VP debate. Let’s not forget the fact that she even made up a word, and then compared herself to Shakespeare via Twitter. In addition, who can forget her adamantly promoting abstinence of teenagers and then discovering that her very own daughter was pregnant. And once all that was over, how did she go on to solve that? She had her daughter (or her daughter picked, I dunno) to go on “Dancing with the Stars” and even feature in a commercial with none other than “The Situation” talking about protective sex. Sarah also wrote a book that no one read, and even had a movie made about herself. How many VP candidates that have failed have you ever seen do that to “show their integrity” (Gore doesn’t count)? She even has a porno named after her entitled, “Who’s Naylin’ Paylin’?”

        Granted, the latter point is taking it a bit far (and I admit I got a little carried away there), but the point is to try to shine a light on the fact that she is not this glorified, perfect, amazing woman that you make her out to be, but rather a very superficial and spotlight obsessed lady. If she wanted to be a serious politician, she would not have put herself in so many selfish situations.

        If you can “refudiate” my point of view, I would love to hear it.

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