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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  • Jose

    Bristol, your Mom is an inspired woman

  • David Dempsey

    Good post, Bristol. The Republicans lost in 2008 because they picked John McCain – not because John McCain picked Sarah Palin for VP. But I’m glad that John McCain got the Nomination and that he did pick Sarah Palin because that gave her a National Stage to use to reach the American People. The “good ole boys” in Washington do not want anyone like Sarah Palin elected to Washington because they know that she would try to serve the American People like she served the People of Alaska while she was Governor of Alaska. These “good ole boys” want to keep things the way they are in Washington. They do not want anyone trying to change things in Washington. But things in Washington must change if this Nation is to survive. Your Mom did a lot to change things in Nov. 2010. I hope that she can do the same thing in Nov. 2012.

  • Caleb

    In your bubble you saw people loving SP. The rest of the country was laughing at her and McCain. And your mother didn’t answer any “call”, she answered her ego. She wouldn’t have quit Alaska if she had any ethics concerning her “call” to office or the sacrifices it takes.

    • Laura

      Actually Caleb.. that is the typical line of anyone that is afraid of Sarah and the power she has to motivate the party. She is well loved by many, me included. The fault with the Mccain/ Palin ticket was with McCain.. not Palin. McCain isn’t conservative enough.. he leans towards the middle. And to Bristol.. your mom took all the attacks by the left and the media with grace. She still does. Ignore the people that just want to hate.. they just have issues in their own life that makes them lash out to make themselves feel better.

    • blackbird

      Sarah Palin is not responsible for the 15Trillion dollar debt
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for all the corruption and cronyism in Washington
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for congress not passing a budget
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for entitlement programs going bankrupt
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for America’s credit downgrade
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for $4 and $5 gas at the pump
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for American Presidents bowing to the Saudi King
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for a housing market in the tank
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for the longest streak of high unemployment
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for the bailouts of banks and union bosses
      Sarah Palin is not responsible for America asking other nations to produce energy for you

      • LMA

        You’re right. That was all Dubya.

    • Christine

      Caleb, you are so wrong.

    • jane arcus

      You Caleb are delusional. Go back to occupying whatever rock you live under.

    • Margie Wilson-Mars

      Oh, Caleb…where do you get these tired, old talking points?
      Have you considered the possibility that Mrs. Palin was bloody sick and tired of people like you trying to destroy her out of some misguided hatred and bigotry? There is nothing wrong with disliking a politician, but when you drag them down for no reason other than to bolster your own self-worth, it crosses the line. There is no excuse for what was done to Sarah Palin and her family. It was (is) so beyond normal politics it makes me sick. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that you’re one of the nutcases that is still…years after the election…running hate sites focused SOLELY on destroying Mrs. Palin and family. You talk about Mrs. Palin running because of her ego? Does the same hold true for every politician, or just those you hate? I don’t like Obama but at least I talk issues, not some made up fantasy that ‘the rest of the country was laughing at him’.
      Bristol, great post. I’m glad I subbed. You’re a smart girl.

      • Angie

        High Five! I am not an Obama supporter by any means, and I had some disagreements with the way Bush handled a few things, but I would never dream of insulting a president or presidential/vice presidential candidate the way Sarah Palin has been treated.

    • Bruce O’H.

      The concerted effort of the hyena media worked to make fools believe their lies about Sarah Palin, despite her exemplary record, her achievements and her character.
      The 2010 elections, and their denunciation of the Left in historic fashion, shows who the rest of the country were actually laughing at.
      2012 will be a similar denunciation.
      But, you, Caleb, will still be in YOUR bubble, thinking that your opinion is the conventional one.

    • Angie

      I don’t think that is true. She was not being laughed at by the whole country… just by a few very loud people.

  • Andy Sandoval

    Excellent blog, Bristol! And the Romney camp was going after your mom BEFORE the first vote was cast in that election of 2008. We are praying and fasting on the National Day of Prayer this Thursday, May 3rd, that God would intervene for the sake of the nation for your mother to run this year. This nation NEEDS a GOOD example to follow. You mother IS THE BEST!!! Thank you for those polls.
    May your voice have IMPACT! God bless you!

  • Millie

    I fit into the category of voting for your mom and not for McCain. And as had been said here I will
    vote for her again when she runs. Your post is excellent!!!

  • Robin

    Great post Bristol, I wish it was your Mom running with him but I know your family has been put thru the ringer enough. God Bless.

  • truga

    Bristol, it’s time for you to stay out of politics. Your mother does not need your help; she’s an experienced politician. Don’t give the impression that you are speaking for her. And don’t go back to the 2008 election. It is not relevant today.

    • Resettozero

      Uh oh. Truga said dumb thing.

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  • Mary GW

    Great post Bristol.. I voted for McCain/Palin and I would vote for her again! As for trolls, I used to kind of like trolls….but now I just find trolls boring.

  • Lynn