The following was written by Boyd Reed at Talking Points Memo. He did such a fantastic job of collecting various Opinion pieces from around the country, I just had to repost it in full. As a note, I am quite surprised by the sheer number of negative Op-Ed’s on Palin as McCain’s selection for Veep.
I haven’t changed a word of Mr. Reeds outstanding read, but I did change the order in which he listed them so that a couple of key Op-Ed’s (ABC, AP and NYT are above the fold). In total, Boyd lists a whopping 27 negative Op-Ed pieces.
So, McCain made his ground-shaking pick, and the media jumped all over it, as was presumably his design. McCain won his news cycle – but now, these MSM outlets have had time to fully digest the pick and its ramifications – and are finding all sorts of odds and ends while unleashing its vetting grinder on Palin. If these editorials are representative of the campaign’s new meme, McCain lost the election in the bargain.
Here’s a collection of various op-eds around the country that are, on the whole, not very flattering to the first-term Alaska governor.
I believe this media reaction will be critical to the Obama campaign’s strategy. They can just quote all this beautiful stuff here, and not have to get involved in hitting Palin directly.
Senator Straight Talk’s judgment is being bashed in these, too. It’s really beautiful when the media actually does its job and reports the truth, you know?
ABC News (Jake Tapper – yes, THAT Jake Tapper!):
Palin doesn’t exactly scream “experience,” which is McCain’s main argument against Obama. For a decade she was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, which has a population of approximately 8,471, which the Obama campaign says is less than 1/20th the size of his former state senate district. Palin has been governor for two years. Some might argue that in terms of experience she makes Obama look like Robert Byrd. In July, Palin told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow that “as for that VP talk all the time, I tell ya, I still can’t answer that question until, until somebody answers for me ‘What it is exactly that the vice president does every day?”
AP (Ron Fournier – yes, THAT Ron Fournier!):
She is younger and less experienced than the first-term Illinois senator, and brings an ethical shadow to the ticket. Just 20 months ago, she was mayor of Wasia, Alaska, a town of 6,500 where the biggest issue is controlling growth and the biggest annual worry is whether there will be enough snow for the Iditarod dog-mushing race… Palin’s lack of experience flies in the face of GOP charges that Obama is not ready to be commander in chief. McCain himself has said he was determined to avoid a pick like Dan Quayle, the little-known Indiana senator George H.W. Bush put on his ticket in 1988 in a choice that proved embarrassing…But, as McCain suggested himself, his 72nd birthday is a reminder that age and experience matter.
Governor Palin’s lack of experience, especially in national security and foreign affairs, raises immediate questions about how prepared she is to potentially succeed to the presidency. That really is the only criteria for judging a candidate for vice president.
There is much, much more below the fold.
But the most important question Mr. McCain should have asked himself about Ms. Palin was not whether she could help him win the presidency. It was whether she is qualified and prepared to serve as president should anything prevent him from doing so. This would have been true for any presidential nominee, and it was especially crucial that Mr. McCain — who turns 72 today — get this choice right…In this regard, count us among the puzzled and the skeptical…Once the buzz over Ms. Palin’s nomination dies down, the hard questions about her will begin. The answers will reflect on her qualifications — and on Mr. McCain’s judgment as well.
What happened to his insistence that a running mate be qualified to serve as commander in chief? …An even better example is George H.W. Bush’s choice of Dan Quayle in 1988. That selection, like McCain’s, was designed partly to placate restive Republican conservatives. Those are not persuasive precedents. In one respect, McCain is in even less of a position to gamble than were Mondale and Bush. His age makes it especially important that his running mate be prepared to assume the presidency at a moment’s notice.
In picking a first-term governor with no foreign-policy record, the Republican presidential candidate undermined his own central themes – experience and national security – and exposed the deep fault lines within his campaign…But the pick is hard to square with what Republicans have been saying all week: that Obama is too green to be president. Because Obama has bared his soul in a bestselling memoir and his decisions have been under a microscope for the last four years, voters can assess his judgment. Palin, in contrast, has next to no track record. Her ticketmate would be the oldest first-term president ever and has had health troubles in the past. McCain, meanwhile, is struggling to accommodate Palin within the logic of his campaign, which up to now stressed an existential threat from Islamic fundamentalism.
“I served with Hillary Clinton. I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine. You, Sarah Palin, are no Hillary Clinton.” Sorry to steal Joe Biden’s thunder, but we didn’t want to wait for the vice presidential candidates’ debate to say the obvious. Yes, John McCain, who argues with a straight face that Barack Obama’s 12 years in the Illinois legislature and U.S. Senate aren’t enough to qualify him to run for president, has picked a running mate who just two years ago was serving as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, population 5,470. In short, the presumptive Republican nominee, an Old Soldier in all senses of that term, drafted the political equivalent of the Unknown Soldier as his co-pilot. McCain’s pick of Palin jettisons his attack that Obama isn’t ready to lead and looks more like a desperate “Hail Mary” campaign tactic aimed at female voters.
…Palin, 44, with less than two years as governor and no foreign policy experience, can’t be sold as ready to step into the presidency if called upon. Arizona Sen. McCain, if he wins, will be 72 when he takes office, and the question of succession is likely to be a concern for voters.
But as this newspaper noted earlier this week, the most important question in evaluating a vice-presidential pick is whether that person is prepared to step into the Oval Office. Palin, with no national political experience and only a couple years in the Alaska governor’s office, is a very tough sell for the Republicans on that score. McCain’s age — he turned 72 on Friday — certainly doesn’t help. The Republican presidential candidate has emphasized the importance of military and national security issues, and taken shots at Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama the Democratic presidential nominee for having only four years of experience in the U.S. Senate. Yet McCain now suggests that someone halfway through her first term as governor is “exactly who this country needs” only one step away from the presidency.
John McCain can forget about trying to make a campaign issue out of Barack Obama’s relatively thin foreign policy resume. In an effort to blunt Obama’s post convention momentum, McCain made history Friday by choosing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, the first woman to be nominated for vice president by the GOP. It is a risky move that stunned even some party leaders who fear that voters will have trouble imagining the former beauty queen as commander in chief, if it should ever come to that. The 44-year-old Palin, a former small-town mayor serving her first term as governor, has no experience in foreign policy.
Sen. John McCain shook up the political landscape Friday when he picked Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. At a time when the Republican’s biggest criticism of Democrat Barack Obama is that he lacks the experience necessary to run the country, it is a big risk that the second seat on the Republican ticket was given to a first-term governor with no national political experience. Palin, 44, is in her second year as governor of Alaska. She was previously the mayor of Wasilla, a town of 9,000. She is the least experienced major party candidate nominated for national office since Spiro Agnew, then the governor of Maryland, was picked by Richard Nixon in 1968. “If you are going to go after Barack Obama on experience … this pick makes no sense,” says University of Maine political science professor Mark Brewer.
As governor for less than two years and before that mayor of a very small town, she’s inexperienced enough to give fits to people worried about McCain’s health and longevity. McCain turned 72 the day he announced her selection. If something happens to him, she does not have time to grasp all the facets of the job, especially in the area of foreign policy… Her office also is involved in an investigation about the firing of a state public safety commissioner who refused to fire a trooper involved in divorce proceedings with Palin’s sister. In a small boon to Democrats, selecting Palin mutes future Republican attacks on Sen. Barack Obama’s inexperience.
Palin is not ready The Alaskan economy is nothing like the rest of the country because it is boosted by oil and natural gas development profits… It’s obvious that McCain’s choice for running mate is a way for the Republicans to look progressive by putting a woman on the ticket (although it comes 24 years after the Democrats nominated Geraldine Ferraro as their candidate for vice president) and appeal to the conservative wing of his party. It’s also obvious that McCain, if elected, is counting on surviving a presidential term.
The presumptive GOP presidential nominee’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is the most risky Republican pick for vice president since George H.W. Bush tapped Dan Quayle as his No. 2. Ms. Palin, 44, has been governor for only two years. The office she held before that one was mayor of a town about the size of Midlothian. This is the person Mr. McCain, 72, would install a heartbeat away from the presidency. The Palin pick means the Republicans have ceded the high ground on the experience issue.
Hillaryites didn’t want a woman; they wanted that woman. If this is his attempt at wooing disaffected Hillary backers, he has sold all women short.
Political strategists say Clinton’s rank-and-file supporters will be tough for McCain and Palin to win. The ticket’s strong anti-abortion positions make them anathema to liberal Democrats concentrated in places such as South Florida…On Friday, she may have made her first official flip flop, saying that she opposed the so-called ”bridge to nowhere” that became a symbol of pork-barrel Washington spending. Yet in 2006, her spokesman told the Associated Press that she supported the project.
Another common concern: Palin’s perceived lack of experience, after less than two years as Alaska governor. Several voters said she’s not ready to take over the presidency, should something happen to McCain. He turned 72 Friday.
Franklin & Marshall College pollster Terry Madonna said that Palin’s personal story is an asset but that he would describe McCain’s pick in three words. “Risky, risky and risky,” Madonna said. “We just don’t know how she’ll handle the next nine weeks of campaigning, dealing with all these complicated national and international issues, debating [Obama's running mate] Joe Biden, and having every word scrutinized by an aggressive press corps.” The greatest unanswered question is whether putting Palin on the ticket will bring many Clinton Democrats into the McCain column. The Daily News reached five women who were Clinton primary-election supporters in a March poll, and none said Palin’s candidacy would change their vote.
Pittsburgh Tribune Review (money-losing right-wing rag published by Mellon descendant Richard Scaife):
The choice might undercut a theme promoted by McCain’s campaign. McCain has touted being more experienced than Obama, a first-term senator from Illinois. Palin is three years younger than Obama, 47, and younger than two of McCain’s seven children. Before becoming governor, Palin served as mayor of Wasilla, a city with fewer than 10,000 people…Democrats noted that Palin is the subject of a legislative investigation in Alaska over whether she forced out a top government official because he wouldn’t fire her ex-brother-in-law…”She is a risky choice,” said G. Terry Madonna, political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster. “Her record as a reformer and maverick is very helpful but how can she prep on so many national and international issues? She hurts the ticket because now the experience argument is weaker.”
John McCain has described national security, defense, the war in Iraq and the war on terror as “the transcendent issues, the most important issues of our day.” So who did he choose for his running mate? Someone who has zero acquaintance with those issues. The first and last question to be asked about a potential vice president is: Is he or she prepared to take over immediately as president? Barack Obama’s choice of Joe Biden gave that matter the priority it deserves. The question is even more important for McCain because he’s 72 years old and has had serious health problems. The chances are considerably higher than usual that his vice president would have to step into the Oval Office without notice…this decision mocks McCain’s seriousness on the issues that are supposed to be his strength. It tells us that he puts his own political fortunes above the safety of the nation. McCain has done a lot of things for his country. He should have done one more and picked a running mate who makes a plausible commander-in-chief.
New York Times (Gail Collins):
He was looking for someone who was well prepared to fight against international Islamic extremism, the transcendent issue of our time. And in the end he decided that in good conscience, he was not going to settle for anyone who had not been commander of a state national guard for at least a year and a half. He put down his foot!…I do feel kind of ticked off at the assumptions that the Republicans seem to be making about female voters…The idea that women are going to race off to vote for any candidate with the same internal plumbing is both offensive and historically wrong.
Boston Globe (Peter S. Canellos):
McCain will have a hard time persuading people that he chose the most qualified person to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Palin, at 44, has been governor of one of the nation’s least-populous states for just two and a half years.
TIME (Amy Sullivan):
It appears Sarah Palin was picked not just for her appeal to women voters but also to please social conservatives. If so, this could be Harriet Miers redux. And that didn’t work out so well the first time.
Chicago Tribune (Andrew Zajac):
John McCain may have some work to do with Republican Party pros regarding his selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate if the underwhelmed reaction of former Maryland GOP Gov. Robert Ehrlich is any indication… “I gotta go digest this choice,” he mumbled to a couple of acquaintances.
TIME (Mike Murphy):
McCain’s mighty and oft-swung Obama swatting hammer of experience has been instantly changed from steel to rubber. VP examination stakes are a little higher for McCain, will she pass the ready on Day One test with less than two years in a (small) statehouse? Former full Colonel in the Pat Buchanan brigades…
Washington Post (Robert Barnes and Michael D. Shear):
When he ended months of speculation Friday, McCain did not laud Palin as immediately ready to take over, which he once said was his highest priority for a running mate.
Chicago Tribune (Mark Silva):
When Obama was looking at Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine of Virginia as a possible running mate, Karl Rove, the “architect” of President Bush’s election campaigns, dismissed his experience – a governor for three years and mayor of 103rd largest Richmond. We’re not sure where Wasilla ranks.
Bravo, Mr. Reed! This was a fantastic piece of work you did.
As an added bonus, one of the Commenters, Elipse#9, added this from the Washington Note:
But the national-security dripping “Country First” sloganeering that McCain has been doing just does not fit with Sara Palin.This was a “Country Last” decision. If McCain had something happen to him, I just don’t know what the country would do.We would be faced with a scary situation in which many major institutions in our nation — and you probably know at least part of what I’m talking about — might not support her ascension to the presidency. We have to consider the implications of that.
I can’t prove that the government would divide if she were to move from VP to the presidency, but I know that there would be enormous tension. I think we’d see mass resignations.
Sarah Palin is not Hillary Rodham Clinton. She is not Condoleezza Rice. She isn’t Kathleen Sibelius or Olympia Snowe or Janet Napolitano. She’s not Susan Eisenhower or Dianne Feinstein.
What remains to be seen is how those on the TeeVee take on the Palin selection. Op-Ed’s are one thing. But, as we all know, print media is a sunsetting product and rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
I eagerly await the results of today’s Talking Heads. But I am not too hopeful considering.