Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Yep, Gov. Palin was unvetted

The New York Times confirms it with a number of phone calls. She was a last minute pick and you can disregard the lying McCain officials that say she was "thoroughly vetted."
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 [Lieberman] or [Tom] Ridge.”

But both men favor abortion rights, anathema to the Christian conservatives who make up a crucial base of the Republican Party. As word leaked out that Mr. McCain was seriously considering the men, the campaign was bombarded by outrage from influential conservatives who predicted an explosive floor fight at the convention and vowed rejection of Mr. Ridge or Mr. Lieberman by the delegates.

Perhaps more important, several Republicans said, Mr. McCain was getting advice that if he did not do something to shake up the race, his campaign would be stuck on a potentially losing trajectory.

Although The Washington Post quoted advisers to Mr. McCain on Sunday as saying Ms. Palin had been subjected to an F.B.I. background check, an F.B.I. official said Monday the bureau did not vet potential candidates and had not known of her selection until it was made public.

Representative Gail Phillips, a Republican and former speaker of the State House, said the widespread surprise in Alaska when Ms. Palin was named to the ticket made her wonder how intensively the McCain campaign had vetted her.

“I started calling around and asking, and I have not been able to find one person that was called,” Ms. Phillips said. “I called 30 to 40 people, political leaders, business leaders, community leaders. Not one of them had heard. Alaska is a very small community, we know people all over, but I haven’t found anybody who was asked anything.”

The current mayor of Wasilla, Dianne M. Keller, said she had not heard of any efforts to look into Ms. Palin’s background. And Randy Ruedrich, the state Republican Party chairman, said he knew nothing of any vetting that had been conducted.

State Senator Hollis French, a Democrat who is directing the ethics investigation, said that no one asked him about the allegations. “I heard not a word, not a single contact,” he said.

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.
Why would they do this? Picking Palin was a "Hail Mary" pass. Unless McCain did something dramatic, like trying to get a lot of disaffected Clinton supporters and maybe boosting the GOP social conservative base, the McSame campaign was dead. McCain took a gamble, which he is known to do with dice, and may have lost.

Newspapers in Alaska question Palin's fitness for the job.

Details of the vetting process. It is obvious many of the normal phone calls and investigations in Alaska were not done to make the nomination a surprise. They are trying to convince the AP that a 3-hour interview, a 70-item questionnaire, a Google search, and a look at tax returns is a thorough vetting.

Sarah Palin belonged to sought the support of a party that wants to declare Alaska an independent nation. (Her husband belonged, she only attended their conventions.) Is she really a true American if she wants to secede?
It's hard to gauge how fringe the group is. Its Website features this quote from one of its founders:

"The problem with you John Birchers' is that you are too damn liberal!"
-- Joseph Vogler, Founder Alaskan Independence Party

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