Politics and the (vetting process) in a Post-Palin World!


After Palin, Expect a More Intense Vetting Process
The combination of post-Palin pressures, the high stakes of the general election and the pervasiveness of the political media are likely to set a new standard for running mate vetting this time around.

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.

If presidential campaigns are M.R.I.’s for the soul, as David Axelrod, President Obama’s political strategist, likes to say, vice presidential vetting this year will be a body-cavity search.

“They should expect a complete breach of privacy,” said Michael Berman, a long-time aide to Walter F. Mondale who helped vet Geraldine A. Ferraro as Mr. Mondale’s running mate in 1984.

The McCain campaign’s unvetted process of the Palin selection was hardly the first botched vetting. George S. McGovern only belatedly learned in 1972 that his first choice of running mate, Thomas Eagleton, was taking antipsychotic drugs and had undergone electroshock therapy. The background check into Ms. Ferraro did not extend deeply enough into her husband, John Zaccaro, whose finances and business practices quickly became political problems for Mr. Mondale. In 2004, John Edwards turned out to be an uncooperative running mate for Senator John Kerry (though Mr. Edwards did not descend into scandal until after the campaign).

Even where vetting has not been the issue, the selection process has often been irregular: Dick Cheney ending up as George W. Bush’s choice in 2000 after running the search himself, or Ronald Reagan flirting with putting former President Gerald R. Ford on the ticket with him in 1980.

But in Republican circles, there is a clear focus on avoiding the problems that marked the Palin selection: a rushed process failed to ask basic questions about the prospective running mate, and put short-term electoral concerns ahead of readiness to assume the presidency.

“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?”



11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. An Alaskan
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 10:21:11

    It’s easy for Sarah to sit from the comfort of her armchair, jumped up on a steady of Diet Red Bull, to call on people crazy or brave enough to go through a Presidential vetting, to keep exposing themselves for consideration.

    Even Michele Bachmann is saying the Primary process has given the party a fatigue unlike they’ve ever seen, and a selection hasn’t even happened yet to rally them to the general. Whoever survives the caucus still has to face an incumbent in the Fall, and after what these candidates have done to each other, the ‘opposition’ doesn’t have to lift one finger to remind voters that conservatives lack faith in their selection.

    There’s one bright spot in the whole Palin fiasco, it’s not what to do, ever again, in a VP selection process.


  2. King of the Hill
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 15:33:23

    Personal lives don’t matter in politics. History has proven voters really don’t care about them. The country will never improve until we determine HOW Obama got elected – or at least admit it. Palin is inconsequential, always has been. She’s a housewife and mother. Let her stay there. It’s obviously where she’s happiest.


    • Just_a_Mote
      Mar 23, 2012 @ 16:29:41

      Practicing your skill at balderdash? Palin supporters will think you are serious. They don’t pick up on the absurd.


    • dragonpuff
      Mar 23, 2012 @ 17:39:15

      President Obama got elected because enough Americans voted for him.
      John McCain did not get elected because not enough Americans voted for him.

      That is all . . . . Except, millions realized McCain made bad was choices having chosen a know nothing pole dancer for his vp.

      There, fixed it for ya.


    • WakeUpAmerica
      Mar 24, 2012 @ 09:29:21

      She’s happiest as a housewife and mother? BWAAAAAAHAAAAAAAHAAAAA!!!
      Where, pray tell, is there ANY proof of that? Also, does your alternate universe have a name? I want to avoid it.


    • gsb
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 07:32:40

      The facts are King of The Hill, she (sarah) is neither House wife nor good Mother.


  3. LakeLucilleLoon
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 16:24:10

    If personal lives don’t matter so much then why did President Clinton get impeached for having oral sex performed on him by an intern? Personal lives DO matter, as does personal integrity, and one of the reasons that Obama was elected is because he embodies morality, integrity and manners. You would never see or hear a member of the Obama family talking about “giving the big middle finger” to anyone. Nor would you see this family shamelessly promoting themselves on reality television. Obama has done a fine job leading this nation, even though he had to contend with very strong opposition at every turn, whether it be from racists or factions of congress that were in tune with forces in our country that would rather take the money from their wealthy benefactors than actually help their constituents. Before you even say the word, “socialist”, Obama is not a socialist. He is a person that is attempting to get our country back on even ground after billions have been spent on wars that will never help us nor the countries that we were at war with. He is trying to build a strong America where everyone is on equal footing (Democracy-look it up). There is no other President in history that has taken on what Obama has, and he’s been able to make some progress even though the opposition has fought him at every turn.


  4. WakeUpAmerica
    Mar 23, 2012 @ 20:16:25

    Palin needs a vet all right. Isn’t that where you take dogs, bitches to be accurate, and jackasses?


  5. Xenon
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 10:31:33

    A “post-Palin world.” I long for that day.


  6. martha_davidson (@martha_davidson)
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 13:30:10

    It’ good to see that Palin is NOT making any headline or frontpage news , no matter how outrageous she tries to be.

    All she has to go on are, ancient, grievances in her attempt to keep relevant.

    As a matter of fact, as of today, this is the ONLY story even mentioning the WassillaWindbag, and certainly NOT in a good way at all.

    To top it off this story is…two days old now!!

    I think Game Change finally did her in.

    SnowDriftSnookie will NEVER be remembered in her own right.

    She is only a small part of the relevant narrative, the DISASTER of a campaign VP selection, a DANGEROUS choice, in order to win at any cost or risk to America.

    That is exactly what Game Change points out, it is not ABOUT her, it is all about the campaign staff and the candidate, willing to risk it ALL, for the keys to the Whitehouse.

    THAT will serve as a warning to all other campaigns for years to come.

    Palin will only portray the example of a mentally unstable, know nothing, uncontrollable, disaster…..a Frankenstein, in the most horrific campaign imaginable.


    • Syrin
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 22:26:14

      I like your observation! I would be searching for for interesting Palin related article. There are none! Let’s cross our fingers!! I won’t mind the break! Our daughters are both engaged to great guys and have dates. I have a couple weddings to help plan.


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