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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  • Juli Mize

    Great post, Bristol!

  • Sam Adams

    I agree with you here, Bristol. Sarah Palin was the breath of fresh air Mr. liberal-voting McCain needed and that’s what got me to hold my nose and vote for him.
    She has remained the only conservative with enough there to cause me to still listen and I trust her.
    I don’t trust other Dems./Republicans.
    Things are worse not better since GWB left office and took all the adults, maturity, dignity, and integrity with him.
    We’re in a world of hurt in this country and your mother understands that.
    I admire her views and the way she lives her life.
    PS Can’t believe Media Matters trolls linger here just to spew hate.
    Get a life.

  • Sam

    You guys are correct. A lot of people are afraid of Sarah Palin, but not for the reason you are thinking. I lot of people in 2008 where like me. Moderate and politically independent. Both McCain and Obama seemed like an okay choice after 8 years of a Bush catastrophe. Obama announced Biden as his running mate and I thought “meh.” McCain announced Palin as his VP nominee and I was frightened. I was frightened that a woman with those beliefs, with that arrogance, with that narcissism, with the “I’m a victim” attitude was going to be one 72 year olds heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world. The moment Sarah Palin was announced was the moment I became an Obama supporter. Yes there was a bump right after Palin was nominated, but that bump disappeared FAST after the majority of American’s heard what she had to say. And I am sorry, but Sarah Palin does not have 90% approval rating. According to a 2011 CNN poll her ratings were close to 22% favorable with only a 14% rating among independents.

    Also someone above said George W Bush took all the “adults, maturity, dignity and integrity with him when he left office”. All I can say to that is HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    • Heather

      I completely agree Sam, I mean let’s get some real sources here. Of course the Alaska Politics Blog will have 90% of their republicans had a favorable view of her. That’s your home state! It doesn’t take a genius to see the connection in that source, and FOX is known for their inaccuracy and biased opinions so again lets see some real sources about the figures you are claiming. You do know what an unbiased source is right, you should’ve learned about it in your college english class if you even took one. The only reason I saw this blog is through Huffington Post’s article, never will I come to this nononsense blog again.

      • Elson Snider

        GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Hope you love the change!!!

    • Elson Snider

      What kind of dignity,and maturity has obama brought? I can’t think of anything mature (about,adding 6 trillion in debt,in just three yrs office),to brag about!! After all of his stimulus packages,still over 8% unemployment!! And you’re a moron for believing polls from cnn!! Their ratings,have dropped below the positive line,lol! Such an idiot!!

    • JB

      Bristol honey, your mom isn’t a tough act to follow, she’s a tough farce to follow.
      Your family is literally a national joke and you can blame your mom for that.

      • Laura

        Instead of being nasty to Bristol, why don’t you offer a better way? No doubt you voted for Obama, who is literally taking America to hell. I blame you, and your fellow liberals, for that.

        • Beverly

          Why do people get upset when someone is stating the truth? Sarah Palin was and still is a national joke. This is not a left or right “thing”….it’s the truth!! Just look at the coverage she get. Comedians don’t have to make of materials…she just give it to them. To think that McCain was soooo desperate to win the election that he would select someone like Sarah to be a heart beat away was not putting Country First! Sarah has ruin it for all GOP females for VP right now. Maybe if Sarah would get some more education that might help. Did she really think Queen Elizabeth ran the government???

  • Emily Lauren

    Wonderful post, Bristol! The last line is my favorite… Sarah Palin IS a tough act to follow. By the way, Tripp is precious; you’re doing a great job. :)

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  • Dennis McHale

    Bristol, outstanding defense of your mother. I have been writing these very words for months now. I recognized the Bush led Republican Party has been trying to take your mother down since she was picked by McCain. I have written so much about this subject that if anyone wants to read what I have written on this subject they need to go to ‘TEAM Sarah’. I’ll only repeat this: In the book ‘Game Change page 378, they will read about the relationship between Hank Paulson and Obama. Once they understand that relationship and what took place on the weekend of 9/13-9/14, followed by the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, then they will begin to see the collapse of the final markets didn’t just happen by accident. Bristol you are smart, brave and 100% correct about your mother. You will never hear it from the Northeast Establishment media, but your mom is the most popular Republican in the country, but the Establishment wants her to go away. I fear your mother’s only chance for a political future will be in a 3rd Party.

  • http://100%SarahsYouBetchaNation John Norton

    There can be only one,Bristol,and We all know who She is this time around…We Do… !

  • Vern Crisler

    Love your defense of your Mom, Bristol. The fact is, McCain would have tanked much sooner if Sarah had not been picked for VP. She actually breathed life into the campaign, and I remember being in Laughlin, Nevada, and some folks on an elevator were so excited about Sarah, they struck up a conversation with me about it, a total stranger. Plus Rush had some of his finest moments on the radio in defending Sarah against the horrible leftist smear job that was then taking place. It’s good to remind people of the truth, and it’s good that Sarah has a daughter who is willing to fight for the truth. God bless you both.

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  • Greg Gorski

    Bristol – so true! I’m a huge fan of your mom, she embodies all the America is and what Americans aspire to be. I have a Facebook page for her “Garden State for Sarah Palin” that I set up last summer. Keep up your determination and faith that we will take our country back.