Defending the “Palin Pick”

Most of you know I’d rather post photos of my family and write about Alaska than talk about politics.  But after reading and watching some recent commentary, I can’t help myself.

The chattering class is talking – endlessly – about Mitt Romney’s choice of a Vice Presidential running mate.  Will he choose a Governor?  A Senator?  A Congressman?  There are many good options for Governor Romney – and all of them have already been dissected in the media – with a list of pros and cons beside their names.  One is too “northern,” another is too “boring,” another is too “white.”  I’ve lived through the scrutiny the family will endure, and it can be a nightmare.

I don’t pretend to know the best pick for Governor Romney.  But there’s one theme that keeps coming up, and it’s ridiculous: that Governor Romney should avoid Senator McCain’s mistake in his Vice Presidential running mate decision.

Chris Cillizza brought it up here:

If you buy that basic way of thinking about the race, it makes it more likely that Romney’s main criteria in picking a running mate will be to do no harm, to avoid the public relations debacle that Senator John McCain (Ariz.) courted when he named former Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick in 2008.

Later, he describes the GOP as a “party still trying to get out from under the Palin pick.”

Talking Points Memo in an article titled, “Why Mitt Romney Won’t Take GOP Down Another VP Rabbit Hole” quoted a strategist who said my mom is “a case study on what not to do. The McCain campaign really screwed up by going in and picking someone who was just gonna shake up the ticket when they should have picked someone who’s safe.”

In other words, the pundits say Senator McCain made a huge mistake. But where’s the evidence to back up this conventional wisdom?  I’m not a pundit, but I remember the race.  I was there. I remember the frenzied crowds after my mom joined the ticket.  I remember the huge fundraising surge.  I remember her convention speech.  I even remember how McCain/Palin took a polling lead over Obama/Biden.

Then the economy melted down.  You could feel people’s fear.  You could see it in their eyes on the trail.  McCain suspended his campaign to rush back to Washington to deal with the crisis.  A lot of people criticized him, but he did what he thought was right.  And guess what, the economy was melting down while Republicans were in charge.

Take a good look at this list of polls.  Shortly after Senator McCain picked my mom, the polls turned favorable.  But he lost the lead for good the week he suspended his campaign, and we never got it back.  Not in a single poll.

But even then, my Mom helped.  A lot.  She raised millions of dollars that helped us fight hard until the last moment. And Senator McCain actually performed better among those for whom the “Palin Pick” was very important to their voteImmediate post-election polling shows a large majority of Republicans thought my mom helped Senator McCain and more than 90% had a favorable or very favorable view of her.

(By the way, pundits, do you guys do much research before slamming my mom?  It didn’t take me long at all to find the facts that refute your so-called “conventional wisdom.”)

OCTOBER 22, 2008: Mom greets supporters during a campaign rally at the Green High School Memorial Stadium in Ohio, with less than two weeks left before the election.

I don’t write this post to criticize Senator McCain – far from it.  He and my mom had an uphill battle against Obama who promised to stop the oceans’ rise and heal the planet. I honestly don’t think any Republican candidate could’ve beaten Obama in 2008.  It was the Democrats’ moment.

But 2012 is a Republican moment. Whomever Governor Romney picks will be better qualified to run the country than our current President.  And this time around, we’re not running against the hard-to-pin-down “hope and change,” we’re running against a President who can’t stop rising gas prices, much less rising oceans.


Mom answered the call to serve her country, energized the base, and inspired millions. Plus, she did it with good humor and grace.  I don’t know what else she could’ve reasonably be expected to do.

The economy was collapsing, and the Democrats had nominated “The One.”  My mom worked wonders, and it was such a joy watching her connect with Americans from coast to coast.  But she could not work miracles.

It’s been four years now since Senator McCain selected my mom, and he made the right choice. Who will Governor Romney select as his running mate?  Well, we’ve still got several months before we find out.

Whoever it turns out to be, I don’t envy the next vice-presidential nominee.

After all… Sarah Palin is a tough act to follow.

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  • Barbara Landi

    John McCain did not lose because of Sarah! sheesh!

  • Dittobugs

    I love how you ended your post, “SP is a tough act to follow” Bravo Bristol!

  • Big Al

    As a Vice Presidential pick your mom was new, unique, refreshing, and a long was from the status quo… therefore the attacks made on her. Had she been a Washington insider, perhaps even a sitting Senator, she’d still been attacked, although perhaps not as severly. Your mom upset the applecart and they had to go all out least they fall to a “commoner”. Sarah Palin was the only thing John McCain had going for him in the election.

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  • Ronda

    Amen! Well said Bristol…America better wake up, if we don’t we will no longer have Freedom..My husband lived under communist rule, he says we are really headed there, here in America..Do you want to hide food just so you can feed your family? Let’s take back the White House! VOTE! I wish your Mom was in the race…
    God Bless you and Your family..

  • Penny

    “2012 is a Republican moment.”

    It had better be, I’m tired of my country circling the drain.

  • http://100%Sarah-YouBetchaNation Deb


    I wouldnt give these low lifes the time of day,dont let there comments go through,they are only looking for attention!!!!

    Bristol and Sarah and The Palin Family,
    You are Loved by more people then you know and we will NOT settle for less,it is SARAH PALIN OR SARAH PALIN OR, SARAH PALIN!!!!!


    • Gwen

      “dont let there comments go through”sic

      Yeah, ’cause free speech is only for Palin defenders, nobuddy else!

  • NWBill

    Totally agree with you, Bristol! Your Mom performed and accomplished what few, if any, Vice-presidential candidates have done in the past few decades: energize the base beyond all expectations, and make the race MUCH more competitive. While I agree with your assessment of what your mom and Senator McCain faced with the Obama machine, I remain convinced that it was the media’s dereliction of its’ duty to American citizens that was a deciding factor. If they had properly vetted Barack Obama THEN as conservatives are doing NOW, things may well have turned out differently (and SHOULD have).

    • Gwen

      “If they had properly vetted Barack Obama THEN as conservatives are doing NOW, things may well have turned out differently (and SHOULD have).”

      Really? What FACTS have you learned about Barack Obama that you didn’t know and wasn’t readily available in 2008? Because, contrary to popular conservative alternative reality media, the man was vetted. Completely. That was NOT the case with Ms. Palin. And sadly, that was the biggest problem. Because the McCain campaign didn’t do the job, the media had to. Not just the mainstream but also blogs and forums. And it was bloody, as it usually is.

      • Millie

        You have got to be kidding!!! Obama in his campaign promised America the moon and
        unfortunately alot of Americans fell for it. He promised changed, only Americans did not
        realize what change he was talking about. He has definitely delivered the change but not
        what America was hoping. He has spent more than all the Presidents combined in just 3 years.
        We are feeling our freedom slip out from under us at warp speed. Our constitution is under
        assault. Healthcare is more costlier than at any other time and we will not know healthcare
        as we have known. People will not be able to get the necessary medical care in time before
        the illiness takes its toll. You wonder why jobs continue to slip away, well it is not just
        because of outsourcing, it is the regulations that the Obama Admin has put into play in just
        three years and is still setting up new regulations that will continue to happen as you see more
        and more businesses go under. With the regulations that he has set up and Obama Healthcare
        coming into play, yes coming into play now, not in 2014 but is coming into play now, we are
        headed to nothing short of a collapse of America. If there is no change in November in the
        presidency you haven’t seen nothing yet!!!!!

        On the other hand Sarah Palin not only was vetted but the vetting that the leberal media did was
        alot of lies and her real record and accomplishment as a Governor was kept from the American
        people except Fox news and other conservative media. She was far more qualified than Obama who
        only had Admin experience in Acorn community Affairs and as a Senator for just a short time.
        The liberal’s had to damage her because they knew she was qualified and a very smart woman,
        and she had already proved to be very much an asset to the McCain campaign. The American
        people who believed what the liberals were putting out are as much at fault when they just
        excepted what the liberal media was saying, rather then investigating for themselve what this
        well qualified christian lady was all about. She has a world of information in the area of
        energy and the no how on working accross the isle to get the job done.

        Bristol I know you are very proud of your mom and I know that she is very proud of you.
        You are a beautiful young woman inside and out and a wonderful mom to a beautiful little

        • Gwen

          <<>>alot of lies alot of lies alot of lies

          Hey, Millie? Look up above. See all that nonsense up there? It’s the same thing. See how that works? Now I’m not going to pick it apart and ask you repeatedly for facts, specifics and sources that we both know you can’t give, I’ll just mention that you’ve been sold a load of BS where President Obama is concerned. By people who profit off of keeping you scared and misinformed. Look up “Fox can legally lie.”

  • debrah

    The only reason McCain got my vote was because Sarah Palin was on the ticket. Palin fought the good fight while McCain surrendered. I will not be fooled again and vote for any candidate based on who they choose as a VP. We need the candidate such as Palin, Santorum, Bachmann and Perry to be on the top of the ticket. I don’t trust Romney and will not give him my vote based on his choice of VP.

    • James

      Please tell me you are joking.

      • Resettozero

        It’s started to look as if several million voters are thinking like Debrah. Check the real polls.

      • Angie

        She’s not joking, and I was another one who voted for McCain BECAUSE of Palin.