Tuesday, September 02, 2008

The most excellent VP vetting ever

What to blog about late Monday/early Tuesday...well, there's a one-off poll thingy, different from other polls of late (pdf), that should cue the inevitable downward trend, if the Conservative track record to date holds: "Harper Tories on the brink of majority, poll finds." Or...better yet, there's the New York Times with the dirt on the Palin vetting. Turns out the vetting of Sarah Palin was, let's say, on the minimalistic side of the equation: "Disclosures on Palin Raise Questions on Vetting Process." In fact, you could even call it a revolutionary development in VP vetting. Seems it involves vetting after the fact.
Aides to Mr. McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Ms. Palin’s background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice. The campaign was still calling Republican operatives as late as Sunday night asking them to go to Alaska to deal with the unexpected candidacy of Ms. Palin.
What a novel way to go. Could they be laying the groundwork for a retreat from Palin? Or just digging for information to rebut claims at this point? Guess we'll find out.

The Times also provides information that reinforces the last minute nature of the Palin pick:
With time running out — and as Mr. McCain discarded two safer choices, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, as too predictable — he turned to Ms. Palin. He had his first face-to-face interview with her on Thursday and offered her the job moments later. Advisers to Mr. Pawlenty and another of the finalists on Mr. McCain’s list described an intensive vetting process for those candidates that lasted one to two months.

They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge.” (emphasis added)
The Times also summed up the revelations that occurred Monday, just in one day with respect to the Palin candidacy:
On Monday morning, Ms. Palin and her husband, Todd, issued a statement saying that their 17-year-old unmarried daughter, Bristol, was five months pregnant and that she intended to marry the father.

Among other less attention-grabbing news of the day: it was learned that Ms. Palin now has a private lawyer in a legislative ethics investigation in Alaska into whether she abused her power in dismissing the state’s public safety commissioner; that she was a member for two years in the 1990s of the Alaska Independence Party, which has at times sought a vote on whether the state should secede; and that Mr. Palin was arrested 22 years ago on a drunken-driving charge.
A banner day for team McCain, where revolutionary Veep vetting is all the rage. The Washington Post also contributes to the news, reporting on Palin's penchant for federal earmarks, a McCain pet peeve.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor, according to an analysis by an independent government watchdog group.
Now surely that's not change Americans can believe in!

Seriously though, there have to be a ton of Americans who may have been leaning toward McCain, for whatever reason, who are now experiencing grave doubts as a result of such information. If this is how the man makes his big decisions, it's not looking too good for the campaign at all.

Update: The LA Times adds to the vetting backstory:
A GOP source with close ties to the campaign said that McCain aides "vetted her through Google and clipping services."

"They didn't send lawyers there or talk to people who knew her there," said the source, who did not want to be identified discussing the campaign's inside moves.
A Veep vetted through Google...wow...