Right Wingnut, a blogger who writes for Right Speak, has initiated a debate with me claims that the liberal media started pushing the meme that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted and that meme is now being pushed by bitter Romney supporters such as myself:
A few weeks ago, I started to notice a theme developing - designed to discredit Sarah Palin and the amount of vetting that was done prior to adding her to the ticket in 2008. Nearly every MSM article about the topic suggested that the GOP nominee would be more cautious in their vetting process to avoid making the same "mistake" the McCain campaign made.
Initially, the propagation of this false meme was mostly limited to left-wing journalists with an axe to grind. Lately, it seems that some on the right (mostly Romney supporters who are still bitter that McCain picked her over Mitt) are seizing on the opportunity to pile on.
This claim is false.
The claim that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted was mentioned almost immediately after John McCain announced her as his running mate and it was an observation that was made by people both on the left and the right during the 2008 campaign. For example, Jazz Shaw, a well known conservative blogger who writes articles for the popular conservative website, Hot Air, said back in 2008 that he suspects that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted:
Ok, team, we clearly need to address this a bit more. First, let’s start with a bit of background. The original intent of this post, as a follow-on to a previous one, was to express not only my personal dissatisfaction with McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as the running mate, but to highlight my suspicions that Ms. Palin had not been vetted as fully as some of the other potential nominees.
Back in 2008, Allahpundit, writing for Hot Air had an article that had links to other articles that raised questions over whether or not she was properly vetted. Other conservative websites such as Townhall.com, Little Green Football, Right Wing News and Red State all discussed the issue of whether or not Palin was properly vetted during the 2008 Presidential election. Conservatives during the 2008 election had every right to be concerned about whether or not Sarah Palin was properly vetted.
John Aravosis, a blogger, carried a short little article in 2008 on his blog, AmericaBlog about how Sarah Palin wasn't vetted.
Let us review the facts why so many people on the left, right and center who were in the media, in the political trenches and at home were concerned about the vetting of Sarah Palin.
There were news reports that John McCain deliberately chose not to involve some of his top senior campaign advisors when they were deciding who to pick as his running mate. For example, McCain spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer didn't even know how McCain and Palin knew each other:
"You're running flat into the wall of my ignorance here," she said. "I truly have no indication whatsoever the extent of a relationship that exists with the Governor of Alaska."
There are also reports that the McCain team did not contact state political leaders or business leaders about Sarah Palin. Moreover, it appears that the McCain team didn't even look at the local newspaper archives to see what they had to say about Palin. They didn't even contact Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, a man that Palin tried to fire after he refused to fire a family member from the Alaskan police force. Even more surprisingly, there is a report by Marc Ambinder that the McCain team didn't even conduct an FBI background check on the governor.
In fact, it appears that a intensive vetting of Sarah Palin didn't occur until shortly before it was announced she was McCain's running mate:
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.
It appears to conservatives and liberals and reporters that the McCain team was trying to close the barn door after the horse has already bolted.
Lets not forget that experienced Conservative campaign advisors have always believed that she was not properly vetted. For example, Sara Fagen, a former political director for President George W. Bush.had this to say about the vetting process of Sarah Palin:
"There's one thing the people in the Republican establishment agree on: There was clearly not a thorough thought process or vetting that went into the vetting of Sarah Palin. They didn't ask the fundamental questions or spend enough time with her,"
Finally, McCain advisor, A.B. Culvahouse, who says that the vetting process was fully conducted. In contrast, we have at least two McCain staffers who say she wasn't vetted. For example, Nicolle Wallace, one of the ’08 campaign’s top advisors, said that the HBO movie, Game Change, was too close to the truth as to make it uncomfortable. to watch. We also have Steve Schmidt who also says Sarah Palin wasn't vetted:
“It’s a story of when cynicism and idealism collide, when you have to do the things that are necessary to win to try to get in office to do the great things you want to do for the country,” Schmidt said. “And I think it showed a process of vetting that was debilitated by secrecy, that was compartmentalized, that failed, that led to a result that was reckless for the country. And I think when you look back at that race, you see this person who is just so phenomenally talented at so many levels, an ability to connect. But also someone who had a lot of flaws as someone running to be in the national command authority who clearly wasn’t prepared.”
Its clear to me that the McCain team is still in disagreement on the issue of whether she was properly vetted or not. Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace have been vilified for reporting their observation about what they saw and as controversial as their testimony may be, we still have to take it into consideration given what we know of the facts as reviewed above.
In the end, the debate over whether or not Sarah Palin was properly vetted or not will go on for a very long time. Historians, journalists, academics, politicians, bloggers, activists and people will debate this issue for many years to come. However, there are enough facts, individually and collectively, to give a reasonable person a legitimate and rational basis for their belief that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted. This belief isn't some fringe conspiracy but a belief held by a lot of people on a wide range of the political spectrum. More importantly, conservatives of all stripes and in various levels of power and influence in the Republican party such as Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter believe she wasn't properly vetted.
In conclusion, it isn't just some blogger such as myself that believes she wasn't properly vetted. This belief isn't just some meme that is being pushed by people on the left or the right because they don't like Sarah Paln and have some sort of axe to grind against her. There are plenty of facts and evidence from a wide range of sources and people that are independent of each other that gives people reasonable doubt that she was vetted. As a result, I stand by my belief that the McCain team did a shoddy job vetting Sarah Palin.