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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  • Dawn

    Seriously Bristol, Don’t let it get to you! They should be saying that McCain was the problem….eeeehhhuuummmm because that was the problem…not your momma! I am a liberal conservative…I know that most say that is impossible…maybe even your mother…however those are my views…but I would have voted for your mom if she hadn’t been on McCain’s ticket. So let Sleezy Cillizza figure that one out! Btw….my boys love Sarah Palin’s Alaska! We want more!!! :)

    • Mark Lodes

      I agree with the sentiment that McCain was not strong enough. I was glad to see him run a dignified race, and to not allow racism, bigotry, and hatred to become the dialog, however he just didn’t have the stuff to save the GOP from the economic collapse’s fallout.

      • Gary Ernsthausen

        Mark, you must be from the Romney bus and don’t like Good Competition!

      • otlset

        Mark, you are running for a Senate seat? Good grief and you don’t have ANY BETTER things to do than come to Sarah Palin’s daughter’s blog site to spew your negativity and screwed-up opinions and try to reinforce the erroneous memes the LSM is trying depserately to set in the public’s mind now about Sarah Palin — especially the simplistic, facts-be-damned “quitter” meme while ignoring the reasons she was forced to resign for the good of Alaska? Shame on you.

        You deserve to lose, and lose badly Mark Lodes.

  • salvatore

    “And guess what, the economy was melting down while Republicans were in charge.”
    Hey you said it, not us.

    • dyz

      Hey, she had to blame someone…

      • otlset

        Everyone knows the economy started to falter in 2006 when the Democrats took over the House and the partisan idiot Nancy Pelosi took over as Speaker. The new Dem Congress of 2006 (which controls the nation’s spending!) started the economic downfall, and then as people started to understand that Obama was going to win just before the election of ’08, the economy REALLY tanked! Check it out!

        The Democrats caused the crash of ’08!

        • myj

          @oltset …The Democratics were voted in November, but they took offer in January 2007, and it take a few months before they can write and vote on any bills for a Republican president to sign, and even if it signed, it take some months to be activated. So you talking about after a year the recession started.

          • Gwen

            Hey, you’re making too much sense around here. Can’t have that.

          • otlset

            Yeah myj, they took “offer” in 2007, and the financial community took notice right away though with trepidation, as they knew the big government spending machine would soon be unleashed under Pelosi. At any rate, even a half year later as you speculate it was still the resurgence of Democratic control in the House that started the economic downturn (notable also for the hijinks of Barney Frank and Chris Dodd in forcing “low income” loans without hope of repayment while they sat in oversight at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). But the Dems conveniently ignore that reality and as a talking point merely paint the simplistic smear that the entire Bush presidency was a financial downturn, when in fact the economy continued strong with relatively low unemployment until 2007 when the Dems consolidated their power in the House, culminating in the economic crash just as Obama took office.

  • Gina

    You nailed it. I found the same research when I was writing my book on your mom’s campaign. She didn’t hinder, she helped! Anyone who denies that is seeing only what they want to see.

    • bbmomof3

      Amen!!! Actually….for the first time since Ronald Reagan…This was an election that I was actually excited to be a part of. For the first time I felt like someone was running that really cared about America and loved God and wasn’t ashamed to stand up for Godly principles. I heard someone that was speaking my language! And all of you know that the world HATES the light and the truth and that’s why they have worked endlessly to try and disqualify Sarah. As a Christian, if you buy in to the media and hollywood lies about her, I personally believe that you are misinformed or misguided and I challenge you to watch her CPAC speech (and several of her FOX news interviews) and watch The Undefeated movie.

      • Gwen

        As a Christian myself, I humbly state that those who oppose a Palin administration (or a Palin campaign for that matter) aren’t the ones who are misinformed or misguided. And yes, I’ve watched her from the get-go. I know what I’m seeing.

  • N4CER (@n4cerinc)

    Excellent post, Bristol. Your mom was the only thing that gave me inspiration in the McCain nomination. These parasites in the Beltway need a way to stay relevant and they know mentioning your mom’s name sells, especially when it is negative.

  • robhart

    Flipper couldn’t beat your mom in 2008 and does not deserve any support this time around. He is weak and we the people will fail again. We need your mom, Sarah Palin, to lead this country at this particular time. She has the steel spine that no one else has. She has the proven record of reform needed to restore faith in our great nation. Flip-flopper will never stand for American interests like Sarah has already and will continue to do so. I will not vote for a dead fish candidate. In fact, I have already expressed that in the primary by voting for someone other than the Bain of the GOP party. I say GAME ON! and let’s go to Channelside Bay Plaza and do a full court press……….. Love your blogs, Bristol.

  • Percy Saunders

    The father of lies has many under his spell and will twist any information to the detriment of those who stand and act for the truth. Just know that I am one of what I believe to be a significant number who voted for your mom and no one else in 2008.
    I think she is a national treasure on par with President Reagan and pray she can be as effective sometime soon.

  • bbmomof3

    Wa to go Bristol! We all know the truth….SARAH PALIN brought the campaign to life!! I voted for your mom!!! I did not vote for McCain! The media is full of vile and vicious liars! We will not be swayed by them nor the GOP. We can only hope that “if” Romney gets the nominee, that he will be smart enough to bring in a vibrant true conservative to stand by him this election so we won’t have to hold our nose if we are forced to vote for him for lack of a better candidate. Still hoping for the last minute miracle to happen…Sarah Palin!!

  • Laurie

    You are right- she was the best pick. If the lamestream media hadn’t torn you all apart- because they knew she was a huge threat, the race would of been much closer. Your mom is a great person, and does a great job at all that she does. I love your blog too- you do a wonderful job!! I admire all of you.

  • Kendra

    I was very excited about your mom as the VP pick! She was very refreshing to me. Speaking out and doing what you think is right often will not be “popular” in the media. It is still the right thing to do. Your mom is very courageous.

  • Robert

    Your mother inspired people to vote for Mr. McCain who wouldn’t have voted for him otherwise. If it wasn’t for ex-Romney opperitives trashing your mom in the press while working for the campaign people would have a better opinion of her.
    Your mother is a hero in my eyes for running and putting up with attacks from those who should have been defending her.