Vetting A Running Mate In A Post-Palin World

The vetting process for a Vice-Presidential running mate will likely be very different with memories of the Sarah Palin debacle fresh in everyone's mind.

With Mitt Romney’s nomination as the 2012 Republican nominee now essentially mathematically ensured, attention will quickly turn to the question of who he might select as his running mate. In all honesty, speculation on that matter has been going on even as Romney has been fighting off challenges from his opponents and subjected to speculation from pundits over whether he actually was still the inevitable nominee. The names that have been mentioned include some of the rising stars of the Republican Party including Chris Christie, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, Indiana  Governor Mitch Daniels, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. Other names that have come up are Republican politicians who have what can charitably be described as a limited political resume so far, including New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez and South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Some of the people on both these lists, such as Christie and Rubio, have already publicly said they aren’t interested while others are clearly long shots, such as Bush.

It’s possible that the eventual Republican Vice-Presidential nominee will be one of the people I’ve listed (I predicted at the end of 2011 that it would be McDonnell and see no reason to change that right now) or someone else. Whoever it is, though, there is a specter hanging over the process this time that stretches all the way back to August 2008:

Let’s say you’re moving steadily toward wrapping up the Republican presidential nomination and you allow yourself to begin thinking ahead to the question of a running mate.

Your party has a potentially devastating problem with Hispanic voters, so your thoughts naturally drift in that direction. After the contraception wars, it wouldn’t hurt to have a woman at your side. It would be nice if you could have an ambassador to the Tea Party movement to help shore up your credentials with the right. And of course, it’s always helpful to chose someone from a swing state.

In any other year, your musings might lead you to, say, Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico, a former prosecutor who checks all of those boxes, has bipartisan support in her home state and enjoys shooting handguns to boot.

But in the world after Sarah Palin and “Game Change,” the chances of Mitt Romney or anyone else choosing a first-term governor lacking a national brand name and experience are greatly diminished. However good a fit she might be on paper, Ms. Martinez probably bears too many surface similarities to Ms. Palin to get a serious look, as The New Republic and others have pointed out.

And the fallout from the McCain campaign’s selection of Ms. Palin for the No. 2 place on the ticket will extend well beyond the chances of any individual. For any Republican who makes it onto the short list of possible vice presidential nominees, the vetting process this year promises to be as thorough and intrusive as the vetting of Ms. Palin was rushed and incomplete.

In fact, the vetting process is likely to be three-fold, and even more intense than it’s ever been thanks both to the Palin precedent, and the extent to which the Internet, social media, and 365/24/7 news coverage have become the driving force in politics this year. As soon as they decide to stop focusing on a Republican horse race that no longer exists, the media is going to start focusing on the Veepstakes, largely because there will be nothing else to cover until the conventions in late summer. They’ll be speculating about who might be on “the list” — both “the short list” and the “the long list” — and they’ll be dissecting their public records. At the same time, the campaign itself will be vetting nominees, and hopefully for their own sake, learning from the mistakes the McCain campaign made:

“One of the mistakes we made in the Palin process was one of assumptions,” said Steve Schmidt, one of the McCain aides who guided the process. “We immediately made the assumption that anyone with ‘Governor’ next to her name has a base level of knowledge of history and policy that in a post-Palin world it isn’t necessarily safe to assume.”

Mr. Schmidt said this time around the nominee and his team will need to start the search and vetting much earlier and ask more probing questions intended to gauge the ability of the possible choices to think on their feet, master complex information and provide assurance they could handle the presidency if it came to that. And, he said, the nominee will face pressure to manage a much more rigorous process to prove to the media that the vetting has been thorough.

“What level of rigor is going to be applied to this?” Mr. Schmidt said. “Is the media going to demand, for example, to know who is running the vetting process? What is the criteria for the vetting process? How is the decision going to be made? How transparent will the process be?”

Of course, Palin’s rather obvious lack of knowledge was only one of the problems she created for the Republican Party in 2008, as Ed Kilgore notes:

The conventional retroactive case on Palin also errs, I think, in figuring that the only problem with her was her lack of experience and knowledge. She was also, you might have noticed, a rather polarizing figure, and that was something about her that should have been obvious to anyone familiar with her behavior in Alaska, or her rock-star status in many precincts of the Christian Right, especially the anti-choicers, who idolized her long before the rest of the country had any idea who she was. Yet these characteristics—her “mavericky” rep back home, and her particular appeal to the very conservatives who mistrusted the guy at the top of the ticket—were precisely what attracted McCain to her in the first place. Today’s McCainiacs are, I suspect, being a bit disingenuous in suggesting Palin’s qualities completely blindsided them.

Kilgore makes a fair point. I haven’t seen the HBO version of Game Change yet, but I did read the book and, of course, I followed the 2008 campaign fairly closely. It seemed pretty clear to me at the time that the Palin pick was a “Hail Mary” pass on the part of the McCain campaign. Even before the economic crisis that started in mid-September, it was clear they were in for an incredibly rough campaign with exceedingly long odds of victory. The candidates idea for a running mate, Democrat-turned-Independent Senator Joe Lieberman, was an absurd idea that would have (rightfully) torn the party apart and led to disaster in November. And none of the other candidates stood a chance of bringing any benefit to the campaign. So, they went for the candidate that appealed to the base without even bothering to consider what they were doing and they turned an incredibly polarizing figure into a leader on the American right.

Of course, it’s worth noting that the selection of a running mate has never been an entirely flawless process, even in the modern era. It’s well known that Dwight Eisenhower was never thrilled with the idea of Richard Nixon on the ticket, and considered dumping him more than once. Lyndon Johnson appears to have ended up as JFK’s running mate when he accepted an offer that neither Kennedy nor his advisers thought he would accept. Spiro Agnew became Nixon’s running mate largely because he was the last guy on the list that nobody objected to. George McGovernor had to dump Thomas Eagleton for Sargent Shriver, a move which just further demonstrated the overall incompetence of his campaign. In 1984, Walter Mondale responded to an insurmountable challenge against Ronald Reagan by selecting Geraldine Ferraro without fully investigating her husbands rather questionable business associations in New York. Dan Quayle’s story is well known to everyone, of course. And, in retrospect, the selection of John Edwards in 2004 can best be seen as a bullet dodged. And, before the television era, running mates were chosen for reasons that had little to do with their competence or fitness for office.

Of course, all of this occurred in an era when we didn’t have the constant attention on politics that we do now, and it’s unlikely that we’ll be going back to an era where the selection of a running mate won’t be big news.  Which is why campaigns are going to have to be all the more careful.

Given his sour relationship with the base at the moment, Mitt Romney is likely to find himself in a similar position as John McCain when the time to pick a running mate comes along. The temptation to pick a superstar candidate to build their enthusiasm will be high, but one would think that they’ll have the mistakes of 2008 in the back of their mind because the last thing the American right needs is another Sarah Palin.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2012, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Hey Norm says:

    I’m amused by the idea that a long history of treating Hispanics like 2nd class citizens, or waging war on women’s rights, can be wiped out simply by the choice of a VP candidate. Of course the American people and press are easily fooled.

    Romney is such an empty suit…there’s no there there…it’s hard for me to imagine the wimp they could pick that wouldn’t over-power him.

  2. steve says:

    Let’s hope they can pick someone able to stand up to the rigor of a Katie Couric interview. Since Romney is more comfortable on domestic issues, I would think they would be looking for some foreign policy expertise.

    Steve

  3. Hey Norm says:

    Like John Bolton

  4. MBunge says:

    Not to defend Sarah Palin, but most people would make complete asses of themselves if you dropped them into the middle of the last two months of a Presidential campaign with absolutely no preparation, especially if they were then expected to take on the role of campaign attack dog. And yes, that includes most sitting governors, members of Congress and media critters. Everybody wants to think they wouldn’t “pull a Palin” but that’s more ego than reality.

    Mike

  5. MBunge says:

    “(I predicted at the end of 2011 that it would be McDonnell and see no reason to change that right now)”

    Why would you? It’s not like anyone’s going to insert something into your vagina.

    Mike

  6. Ron Beasley says:

    @Hey Norm: Even close to a majority of Republicans think he’s a nut case. I’m assuming you forgot the snark tags!

  7. legion says:

    I quite disagree about the impact of the “Palin precedent”. I think it’s painfully apparent that, despite the sadly transparent bullshit McCain has sown, there was absolutely _no_ vetting of Palin done whatsoever. I believe her name was pulled up by someone on McCain’s staff as someone who was telegenic, aggressive, and able to talk the conservative line reasonable well. After that, I think it’s pretty clear that McCain’s entire staff went into “groupthink” mode, and just never went back to question their own assumptions. Even as it became clear internally that they’d made a huge mistake with this thin-skinned, intellectually shallow twerp, there was no possibility that anyone inside the machine would raise the possibility of having made a mistake. I don’t see her “legacy” having a massive impact on any competently run campaign.

  8. superdestroyer says:

    Since Romney has zero chance of winning, who cares who he picks as his running mate.

    Image how irrelevant VPs will be in the coming one-party-state. The VP in the U.S. will be the same as the Lt. Governor in the current one party state. A place to park an incompetent person like Kathleen Kennedy-Townsend or Michael Steele.

  9. Have a nice G.A. says:

    Good pic Doug:)

  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    I agree with Dan Larison that whomever is picked should not consider an ongoing career in national politics because the loser tag will be on her or him after the election.

  11. @Mr. Prosser:

    Well it is worth noting that a running mate on a losing ticket has only become President once in American history.

    (Ego points for the first person who gets the name of that person correct)

  12. @superdestroyer:

    Since you already know how everything is going to turn out, why are you even paying attention to articles about the election?

  13. Bennett says:

    I see lots of chatter for Allen West from the “true conservative” people. However, the GOP powers that be can already see the ads about his prisoner abuse being run (even if that particular part of his history is porn for the far right).

  14. legion says:

    @superdestroyer: That’s what everyone already thought of the VP before Dick Cheney…

    @Doug Mataconis: Was that Nixon?

  15. Herb says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “(Ego points for the first person who gets the name of that person correct) ”

    Nixon?

  16. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    Franklin Roosevelt

  17. legion says:

    @Bennett: I would double-dog dare the GOP candidate (whoever it is) to pull West as the VP. If a train wreck happened underneath the Hindenburg at Bhopal, it would not equal the self-destructive disaster of that ticket.

  18. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I read the articles to try to understand why people get excited about irrelevant issues. I am still trying to understand how people convince themselves that the Republicans are still relevant to governance in the U.S.

  19. Brummagem Joe says:

    It will almost certainly be a southerner. The ticket needs to be balanced with a southern true believer. McDonnell sounds about right but I’m sure there are some others lurking out there. What about that woman in SC?

  20. ernieyeball says:

    By running mate I assume Doug means VP.
    Nixon was VP with Ike. A winning ticket.
    When he ran with H C Lodge and lost to Kennedy he was the Republican Presidential candiadate. Not VP.
    Of course he won in 1968 vs HHH.
    So who is it?

  21. @Brummagem Joe:

    I mentioned Nikki Haley in passing but she’s still young, and relatively inexperienced. If you’re looking for a southerner it might be more realistic to look at Bobby Jindal. Yea, I know. We all remember his disastrous SOTU response in 2009 but he’s recovered from that I think.

  22. garretc says:

    Gasp! Is that a… teleprompter in that picture of McCain and Palin up there?

    Tsk tsk…

  23. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    who the Republicans nominate is no more relevant than who the Libertarian Party nominates.

    Instead of discussing irrelevant Republicans, why not focus of the most relevant elections in the House and see if the Democrats have a chance of winning control of the House.

  24. superdestroyer,

    Since you seem to think you have such a keen sense of what is relevant why aren’t you writing yourself?

  25. ernieyeball says:

    Should we call PJ the winner?

  26. Tsar Nicholas II says:

    I’ve come up with a handy V.P. vetting guide:

    1. If the person hails from a state with a lesser population than San Jose, CA, choose someone else.

    2. If the person hails from a state in which you’re going to prevail by 20 points, in any event, choose someone else.

    3. If Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, or Fred Barnes have recommended someone, then dock that person numerous points and only pick him or her if they still overwhelmingly trump the 2nd highest-rated candidate. Treat any such endorsement as a huge red flag. If all of the foregoing people have rated a particular person as their No. 1 choice, then choose someone else.

    4. See No. 3. Substitute conservative blogs for the people so listed.

  27. @Tsar Nicholas II:

    Not a bad list of rules. The problem for me with the Palin pick, ultimately, was the what it revealed about McCain’s own judgment. First we learn that he wants to pick Joe Effing Leiberman as his running mate. Sorry, but that would have caused a walk-out at the Republican Convention without question, there’s no way the party was going to accept a Democrat on their ticket. Then, he picks Palin. Then, he “suspends” his campaign when the economy crashes and ends up going to Washington and sitting at a table while Bush and Obama talk about what to do.

    Within the course of three weeks from 8/29 to 9/22 in 2008 he demonstrated to me that he lacked the judgment skills to deal with a crisis.

  28. superdestroyer says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    I am just like most progressive activist. It is just easier to nitpick the other guy than create an original proposal.

  29. Bennett says:

    @Doug Mataconis: That campaign was heartbreaking for me, even though I support and still support Obama. It was just sad watching a man I truly respected fall apart over such a short time, and indeed, continues to destroy himself for some reason. Maybe it really is age, maybe he’s still got a grudge against Obama or someone else, but John McCain really is a changed man since he was before that campaign.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    It is just easier to nitpick the other guy than create an original proposal.

    No, I don’t think so…as no one else spews your various inanities…nonsense like the “one party state” and “irrelevant Republicans”…what you bring to the table is original, but also severely incorrect…

  31. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    We all remember his disastrous SOTU response in 2009 but he’s recovered from that I think.

    Actually no one does outside of political junkies. Jindal’s problem is he’s a true believer like most of these southerners including McDonnell. They’re all on the record with all manner of crazy stuff which will excite the base but otherwise explains why Obama is ahead by 8 or 9 points in VA. Basically outside kool aiders it’s electoral poison.

  32. Scott O. says:

    @superdestroyer: I’ve got a suggestion. Next time you want to post a comment on the coming one party governance just type “the usual”. We’ll all know exactly what you mean.

  33. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Even though the Republicans have control of the U.S. House, they have been ineffective in policy and governance because personal privledge and pork barrel spending are more important that governing.

    The U.S. does not need to big spending, pork barreling parties. If the only issue in disput is whether massive spending should be financed by borrowing or spending, then there is no reason for the Republicans to exist.

    It is not very original to notice that the Republicans have a bad message at the same time that the demographic groups that are growing the fastest are the biggest consumers of government spending and want more of it.

    If California, DC, and Mass. can be one party states, then the U.S. can easily be a one-party-state.

  34. superdestroyer says:

    @Scott O.:

    Just so long as the original post about politics, economics, education, crime also mentions demographics. Just like people would correct a post if the wrong age or location was used, any post that needs to mention demographics should mention how demographics impacts the situation.

  35. Brummagem Joe says:

    @Tsar Nicholas II:

    If Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, Michelle Malkin, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, Michael Savage, or Fred Barnes have recommended someone, then dock that person numerous points and only pick him or her if they still overwhelmingly trump the 2nd highest-rated candidate. Treat any such endorsement as a huge red flag. If all of the foregoing people have rated a particular person as their No. 1 choice, then choose someone else.

    I think we can reliably say that whoever Romney picks ALL these gentry will be falling over themselves to tell us that they are uniquely gifted individuals whose selection represent an inspiring example of Romney’s gift for leadership….don’t you?

  36. Brummagem Joe says:

    @superdestroyer:

    If California, DC, and Mass. can be one party states, then the U.S. can easily be a one-party-state.

    You left out Alabama, Texas, Utah and Mississipi. However this comment demonstrates just how little you understand how the presidential and senatorial systems function. Electoral college and two senators per state even when the population of the state is under 1 million!!!!!

  37. superdestroyer says:

    @Brummagem Joe:

    The difference is that someday the population is Texas will cause it to become a blue state. However, there is nothing that is going to make California, Mass, Maryland, Illinois a red state.

    I understand the electoral college. That is why President Obama will get 250 electoral votes without spending a dollar and why Virginia will be filled with signs while Maryland will not.

    The difference is that the Democrats can win seats in states like North Carolina and Virginia but the Republicans always losein routs in New Jersey, California, and New York.

    What is amazing is that all of the Democrats understand demographics but just do not like to talk about it in public.

  38. An Interested Party says:

    What is isn’t amazing is that all of the Democrats understand demographics but just do not like to talk about it in public aren’t terrified of that like superdestroyer is…

    Happy to be of help…

  39. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    If they are not terrified, then why do they bankrupt themselves to purchase homes with “good schools” or pay $30K a year for private schools. If they are not terrified, then why have progressive whites decided to abandon health care or the sciences as career fields? If they are not terrified, then why to they move to Portland instead of Cleveland?

    If progressives do not fear demograpics, then why have the number of whites living in California been going down for 20 years.

  40. An Interested Party says:

    How typical of a racist to make rank generalizations…

  41. KansasMom says:

    @Brummagem Joe: Don’t forget Kansas!!! Rock Chalk Jayhawk by the way.

  42. Kolohe says:

    “It’s possible that the eventual Republican Vice-Presidential nominee will be one of the people I’ve listed … or someone else.”

    Way to go out on a limb there!

  43. Jenos Idanian says:

    …all this talk about veeps, and not a single mention of how the hell Obama got elected with Sheriff Joe, Joey Plugs, Lyin’ Biden on his ticket. If all the Republican veep nominee has to do is seem more with it than Biden, then it could be anyone.

    Of course, that won’t be the standard. It wasn’t in 2008, and it never will.

  44. Bennett says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Biden didn’t have to make up for any shortcomings in the Obama candidacy. Whoever the GOP VP candidate is, they will have to carry some of the load for Romney. And say what you will of Biden, he is an eminently likable guy and that is all that was required at the time.

  45. Have a nice G.A. says:

    .

    And say what you will of Biden, he is an eminently likable guy and that is all that was required at the time.

    Does eminently mean? Think the teacher who ran the Breakfast club?

  46. superdestroyer says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Are people not really paying $30K per year for private schools in DC. Didn’t Elizabeth Warren write a book about how middle class families are bankrupting themselves to avoid inner city schools and neighborhoods? Id the Census Bureau lying when it reports that the number of whites in California is going down? Is the media lying when it reports that the DC public schools are only 5% white or that the Chicago public schools are less than 15% white?

    I guess when progressives refuse to think about data, they refer to the data as generalizations.

    Of course, I guess distracting themselves thinking about irrelevant Repulbicans is more fun than thinking about how the U.S. will compete in the global marketplace or what the quality of life will be for the middle class in the cooming one-party-state.

  47. Jenos Idanian says:

    Let’s look at some prior running mates of recent vintage:

    Joe Lieberman: 2000 veep nominee. Driven from the party a few short years later over his stance on a single issue.

    John Edwards: 2004 veep nominee. Thoroughly disgraced after New Media and National Enquirer uncover infidelity scandal the mainstream media covers up, now currently under indictment on federal charges, facing up to 30 years in prison.

    And my side’s supposed to be embarrassed over Sarah Palin? We’re being told that by the party that had John Edwards on its ticket just one election cycle earlier? John Edwards, caught cheating on his dying wife, denying his bastard daughter, getting his buddy to claim to be the father, paying the mistress off with campaign funds, and making a sex tape with her?

    And Biden is, of course, a complete idiot, but he’s a likable idiot, so that makes it all OK.

  48. An Interested Party says:

    Of course, I guess distracting themselves thinking about irrelevant Repulbicans is more fun than thinking about how the U.S. will compete in the global marketplace or what the quality of life will be for the middle class in the cooming one-party-state.

    Ahh, so the hosts of this blog are all progressives? That must be news to them…

    And my side’s supposed to be embarrassed over Sarah Palin?

    Pretty much…

  49. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Sorry, Interested, but John Edwards is NOT becoming an UnPerson any time soon. He’s always going to be “2004 Vice Presidential Nominee,” even when he’s also “Federal Inmate #XXXXXXX”

    Bet you voted for him, too…

  50. superdestroyer says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Why do you think that progressives operate from the POV that what one Republican says or does applies to all Repulbicans but that all Democrats are separate.

    If progressives can be in the same party as Maxine Waters, Kwame Kilpatrick, Luis Guiterriez, and Raul Grijalva, then it should be obvious that progressives are really cafeteria Democrats where they pick out what they want and leave everything else behind.

  51. Rob in CT says:

    Joe Lieberman: 2000 veep nominee. Driven from the party a few short years later over his stance on a single issue.

    A very important issue.

    John Edwards: 2004 veep nominee. Thoroughly disgraced after New Media and National Enquirer uncover infidelity scandal the mainstream media covers up, now currently under indictment on federal charges, facing up to 30 years in prison.

    This one, however, is correct. Edwards is an embarrassment to the Democratic Party.

    Yes, you should be embarrassed about Palin, and Dems should be embarrassed about Edwards. Is that so hard?

  52. Rick DeMent says:

    Romney has two ways to go in the general election, he can try and pander to the Base selecting a VP pick that will shore up his numbers and signal to them he has gone full wingnut. This is what McCain did, but he did it very badly. The other strategy is to select a super moderate, someone to appeal to the squishy center leaving the tea party and social conservatives to flap in the wind. The advantage of latter strategy is that the base will have to vote for him or stay home and he will essentially be fighting Obama for the 10 to 15% of the politically uninitiated. At that point it becomes a contest to see which sides hard core Ideologues hates that other guy more and in that fight I think Romney can win, but it will also take balls of steel to pull off.

  53. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Rob in CT: I have yet to see anything Palin has ever done that is anywhere near as appalling as what Edwards did. Nor did Palin benefit so long from such a coverup as Edwards did.

    You see, Edwards isn’t the disease, he’s the symptom. Look at what it took to get his scumminess exposed — the mainstream media put a higher priority on Bristol Palin’s pregnancy and Joe the Plumber’s tax records than that a Democratic presidential candidate (and former vice-presidential nominee) was having an affair and paying her off with campaign funds. Further, he was cheating on his dying wife (shades of the “Newt Gingrich served his dying wife with divorce papers” myth) to do so.

    That was all available for discovery — but the Democrats and the press not only ignored it, but actively aided in the coverup. That, my dear sir, is the huge difference.

  54. Jenos Idanian says:

    @superdestroyer: Why do you think that progressives operate from the POV that what one Republican says or does applies to all Repulbicans but that all Democrats are separate.

    Oh, get off your high horse. Both sides do it. It’s simple political opportunism.

    The reason you see so much of it here is that most of the commentariat are hard-core progressives. To cite this place as emblematic would be like saying that there’s a huge problem with crimes against blacks, citing only the race statistics of crime victims in Harlem. Of course there are a lot of black crime victims in Harlem; most of the people in Harlem are black.

    Yeah, it’s annoying, but it’s hardly an exclusively “progressive” offense.

  55. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Joe Lieberman: 2000 veep nominee. Driven from the party a few short years later over his stance on a single issue.

    No. That one issue opened some cracks, but it was Lieberman’s decision to start siding with the GOP caucus on every major issue, just as a big F-you to his own party that eventually got him kicked out and eventually invited to leave office by his own voters.

    John Edwards: 2004 veep nominee. Thoroughly disgraced after New Media and National Enquirer uncover infidelity scandal the mainstream media covers up, now currently under indictment on federal charges, facing up to 30 years in prison.

    Yup. He’s a scumbag. No argument there.

    And my side’s supposed to be embarrassed over Sarah Palin? We’re being told that by the party that had John Edwards on its ticket just one election cycle earlier?

    Yes. Yes you are. You see, Dems _are_ embarrassed we ever considered a skeeze like Edwards for the top ticket. Show me someone who’s not embarrassed about that. The Right, OTOH, still considers Palin a viable candidate to force on the ticket at the party convention right now. Nobody is asking Edwards onto talk shows. Nobody is offering him book contracts. Nobody has suggested he go for the Dem nomination – this year or any year ever again. _That’s_ the difference.

  56. Jenos Idanian says:

    @legion: Yes. Yes you are. You see, Dems _are_ embarrassed we ever considered a skeeze like Edwards for the top ticket. Show me someone who’s not embarrassed about that.

    You’re missing the point. It isn’t that Edwards is slime. It isn’t even that Dems are embarrassed over him. It’s that his sliminess was actively covered up so well by those Dems, and — more importantly — by the media who repeatedly boast how it is their sacred duty to expose such sliminess.

    The attitude I see on the right isn’t “Palin’s wonderful, and leave her alone,” but “hey — you let Edwards skate for years, while going after Palin and lots of others on the right. Go screw yourselves; you are in no way qualified to render judgment on our guys. Edwards proves that beyond a shadow of a doubt.”

  57. Jenos Idanian says:

    @legion: I just thought of an even simpler way of saying it: who was more thoroughly vetted by Dems and the press — John Edwards or Joe The Plumber?

  58. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    Interesting question. But kinda irrelevant, in light of a better one: When has the GOP vetted _anyone_?

  59. legion says:

    What I mean by that is – yeah, Edwards got much farther along in the process than he should have. But he’s spotted now, and will never get back in the game. Joe the Plumber is a drooling neanderthal who’s still actively running for office – he just lost a Primary the other day. Despite his total lack of capability, he’s still a viable candidate, just because of the image the GOP machine has put up around him.

  60. MBunge says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “The attitude I see on the right isn’t “Palin’s wonderful, and leave her alone,” but “hey — you let Edwards skate for years, while going after Palin and lots of others on the right.”

    Wait…Palin had an affair? How is Palin’s situation and media treatment thereof analogous to Edwards’?

    Mike

  61. An Interested Party says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Thank you for providing me with a chuckle with your silly assumptions…just because I think the GOP should be enbarrassed about Sarah Palin doesn’t mean that I approve of a dirtbag like John Edwards…

  62. anjin-san says:

    It’s worth noting that John Edwards is a non-person in Democratic politics now, while Palin remains one of the most popular and respected conservatives in the country.

    Without false equivalencies, would the right even exist?