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September 02, 2008

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because it is impolitic and you just don't want to deal with the fallout

mattbastard,

I wasn't attempting to single you out, and certainly not in a hypocritical way with regard to who was on which side during the primary battles (I'm sorry if this provides further offence, but I didn't have you mentally pigeonholed as one of the committed partisans from those days. Bad memory I suppose).

Your My Fair Lady comment just happened to pop up at just the time I was looking to make the point which I made on more general grounds, based on a whole lot of other snarky and potentially sexist comments which have turned up in the threads here recently, made by other people, not you.

If it hadn't been your comment, it would have been somebody else's. You just happened to furnish a pithy quote at the wrong time, and I'm sorry if I offended you by using it without doing a good job of taking prior context into account.

if the only reason I am being called out is because you are afraid that the mean ol' feminazis are gonna get mad.

My "was so much fun, that I’d like to do it again in oh, let’s say 100 years" remark was an attempt at humor. Obviously a failed one.

My serious point was that the GOP is already trying to use sleazy and sexist attacks on blogs to deflect legitimate criticism of Gov. Palin's record and policy preferences (criticisms which are not in and of themselves sexist), and I think it would be a tragedy for all us if this were to be the tipping point in a very close election.

If you still want to be angry at me, so be it. I bear you no ill will.

"Would McCain just get to pick, say, Ridge, with no outside approval?"

I'd have to research the Republican Party rules in nitty-gritty to be sure, but I'm reasonably sure it would be something along those lines. That is, likely there would have to be some sort of pro forma vote of the Republican National Committee, or some mechanism or subcommittee of theirs, I'm guessing -- and that's all I'm doing, from general knowledge of how it tends to work -- but most likely McCain would get who he wanted if it wasn't a super-controversial choice like Lieberman, in which case the precise details of the mechanism as to precisely which individuals would have a vote might indeed be relevant. But please forgive me if I don't feel like trying to track down their detailed rules this minute.

"And how did this play out for the Dems with Eagleton, logistics-wise?"

Again, I'm not going to go research the precise details now, but as I recall, it was McGovern's pick, in coordination with the Democratic National Commitee, which was fairly pro-forma. They were just desperate to find someone vaguely reasonable by that point, and it's not as if there was a huge difference of POV between McGovern and Larry O'Brien, et al.

matttbastard: In hindsight, my statement is not one that I'm likely to be proud of in the morning (imagine that -- even humourless feminists like yours truly f#ck up, too), but if the only reason I am being called out is because you are afraid that the mean ol' feminazis are gonna get mad--because it is impolitic and you just don't want to deal with the fallout, and not because what I said was, in fact, sexist (which, again, I now realize it was, without equivocation)--well, with all due respect, save it.

I actually thought the My Fair Lady snark was funny, apt, and not particularly offensive in the circumstances (comparing Sarah Palin to Eliza Doolittle is not exactly insulting, since it suggests Palin does have the smarts to get the job done). Of course as a George Bernard Shaw fan I officially hate My Fair Lady, but that aside... most of the really good lines are Pygmalion.)

Yeah, sexist: no one would make that joke about a man. Still: funny and not hateful. Given the sheer number of people arguing that the main reason Palin ought not to be President is that she's got too much to do in her own family which it is obviously all her job to do, not worth picking on in particular. As ThatLeftTurnInABQ acknowledges.

Cracks about humourless feminazis, though: always good for taking offense at.

I need coffee.

Italico delendi!

I'm trying to get up to speed on all this, and I'm a bit confused about where the "judgment" argument goes. The theory is that McCain made his pick quickly, and thus didn't properly vet her or consider her negatives. Hence, bad judgment.

Except that the evidence that has come out indicates that McCain's vetting, though quick, was complete. He knew about the AIP issue. He knew about the pregnancy. He knew about troopergate. He knew all that when he made his decision.

It seems to me that one can still fault his decision to go with Palin -- and I'm on record that it's a high-risk pick. And you can spin his decision as a result of faulty judgment. But the process stories that Hilzoy, Publius, and others focus on don't show a lack of judgment. Indeed, if anything, the process seems remarkably good: It accomplished in 24 hours what ordinarily takes much longer.

"Except that the evidence that has come out indicates that McCain's vetting, though quick, was complete."

Von, you don't seem to have read the key points about this: they didn't send anyone to, or talk to anyone in, Alaska until after the nomination was announced. How could that possibly be "complete" vetting, or anything within miles of it?

"Indeed, if anything, the process seems remarkably good: It accomplished in 24 hours what ordinarily takes much longer."

So why doesn't every campaign take only 24 hours? Do you have any idea how kooky this sounds, and how much it makes the person saying look like they'd say anything to defend McCain?

He knew all that when he made his decision.

Thus showing his complete incompetency.

if anything, the process seems remarkably good: It accomplished in 24 hours what ordinarily takes much longer.

not surprising, since they say you often know your soul-mate instantly upon meeting them for the first time.

More detail on the remarkable goodness:

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was not subjected to a lengthy in-person background interview with the head of Sen. John McCain's vice presidential vetting team until last Wednesday in Arizona, the day before McCain asked her to be his running mate, and she did not disclose the fact that her 17-year-old daughter was pregnant until that meeting, two knowledgeable McCain officials acknowledged Tuesday.

[...]

One of the officials said Culvahouse was chasing down last-minute information about Pawlenty at the request of the campaign as late as last Thursday, the day McCain offered the job to Palin and she accepted.

[...]

Palin, along with other finalists, completed a lengthy questionnaire that probed many personal issues. Campaign officials declined Tuesday to respond to questions about whether she had returned the questionnaire to the vetting team before she arrived in Arizona, saying they would not provide details of the timing of the process.

McCain officials said that questionnaire and the personal interview revealed three new facts previously unknown to the team: Palin's daughter's pregnancy, the arrest of her husband two decades ago for driving while intoxicated, and a fine Palin paid for fishing without proper identification.

[...]

Last weekend, two campaign officials told The Washington Post that the background investigation of the finalists included an FBI check of any possible ongoing criminal investigations. That information was incorrect. A knowledgeable official said Tuesday that the vetting team had hoped to run such a check but that FBI officials declined to do so because that type of inquiry is reserved for people nominated for senior administration jobs. The official also said the FBI was uncomfortable providing the information to a political campaign, rather than to government officials.

One U.S. law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the FBI does not conduct any kind of background checks or criminal history searches on behalf of political candidates or parties.

Dan Balz got rolled in his previous story on this and other details, so I'm still hardly counting on him to be a hard-hitting investigator into the McCain campaign. He seems clearly happy to pass on campaign spin without skepticism.

Of course, I say that without having had the FBI do a background check.

Contestant #1: I can vet that candidate in three weeks.

Contestant #2: I can vet that candidate in two weeks.

C#1: I can vet that candidate in one week.

C#2: I can vet that candidate in two days.

C#1: *pauses for effect* I can vet that candidate in twenty...four...hours.

Audience: ooooooooooo.

C#2: Vet that candidate.

C#1: Ummmm...errrrr...uuuuhh...lives next to Russia!

BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!!

Cleek's, Gary's, and Ugh's (second*) remarks miss my point. They're arguing that McCain made a bad choice. Maybe he did. The point is that, if he made a bad choice, the vetting process isn't to blame.

McCain's judgment (or lack thereof) is certainly at issue in this campaign, as is Obama's. But I don't see how the vetting process reveals anything positive or negative about McCain's judgment.

*Ugh's first remark is on point.

von, the evidence is that the vetting process was ... minimal. An interview and maybe some google searches. Literally no one in AK state government was spoken to, the city clerk of Wasilla wasn't asked for records until the Washington Independent called up in the last couple of days.

The vetting process didn't happen. McCain picked an unvetted candidate. I'm not clear on what argument you're trying to make about his judgment in regard to this; can you elaborate?

Cleek's, Gary's, and Ugh's (second*) remarks miss my point. They're arguing that McCain made a bad choice. Maybe he did. The point is that, if he made a bad choice, the vetting process isn't to blame.

Agreed - no more than, in 2003, outing the covert identity of the undercover CIA agent who was heading the JTRI was to blame for the US failure in Iraq. McCain made a bad choice in Sarah Palin but given the inadequacy of his "vetting process", any pick might have turned out bad or good: McCain's crappy vetting process was illustrative of how incompetent he is, as is his choice of Sarah Palin - to be the President of the United States if he gets into the White House but dies before his 76th birthday. It illustrates in the same way, but it is not identical. Just as Cheney's outing of Valerie Plame was illustrative of how treasonous the Bush administration is, as was their lying the US into an aggressive war with Iraq.

But that's the style of administration you like, Von: you want 4 more years of McSame. Beats me: I always thought you did have an idea of how bad the Bush administration is, and here you are, cheerleading for more of it.

not surprising, since they say you often know your soul-mate instantly upon meeting them for the first time.

Hah! In your face, space coyote!

von is simply picking up the other end of the stretcher to help carry Palin across the finish line.

Those picking up Palin up top say: Question Palin's qualifications! You are sexist?

von grabs the stretcher end where the feet point and says: Question McCain's honesty? But he said he vetted her! He must have thought it enough, or he wouldn't say that!

Von, not being a woman, ends up with the end he does, but nonetheless, it takes two to carry a stretcher, and given that Palin has not been made available for any meeting whatsoever, the stretcher metaphor seems more than apt.

von: I can think of two ways to assess the Palin vetting process. First, you ask whether it led to a good choice, and if it took a shorter than usual time to get there, all to the good. The second is to ask whether it was a process that would reliably lead to good results, whether or not it did this time. (In this case, unlike the first, you'd count a process as a good one even if through some genuine total fluke it didn't turn over something crucial, but not if it didn't miss anything, but only through blind luck.)

You've said you're not interested in the first (at least, that's how I read this: "They're arguing that McCain made a bad choice. Maybe he did. The point is that, if he made a bad choice, the vetting process isn't to blame.") I agree with you that the first question is less interesting than the second: it's the second that is informative about McCain's future performance.

But what I don't get is how a process that apparently didn't involve checking her hometown paper, checking with people in Alaska who knew her, and generally trying to see what dirt, if any, was out there, could possibly be a good process for vetting.

It seems to me -- I might be wrong -- that you're asking a sort of hybrid of 1 and 2 above. You're not asking whether McCain made the right choice, so you're not looking at the result on that level. But when you ask about the vetting, you seem to be asking: did the process in fact uncover all the information needed?, rather than: was this the sort of process that would reliably uncover all the information that was out there? (E.g., if all they did was ask Palin, and Palin actually told them everything worth knowing, that would get all the relevant info, but would not, imho, be a process it would be wise to rely on generally.)

I think it's very hard to defend a vetting process that didn't make any attempt to see what was out there by actually going to Alaska, asking people other than Palin, etc., as a good vetting process. It might have gotten the right results, but that would be luck.

Put it in much simpler and starker terms: would you invade another country with as little on the ground information, based on local sources (readily available local sources which anyone who wished to could easily use), as McCain made his pick of Palin with?

Shia? Sunni? What's that you say? The details don't matter if you make the right decision, am I right?

Or perhaps not. Sometimes the details do matter.

TLTABQ -- no worries. Frayed nerves all around, apparently.

jes: Cracks about humourless feminazis, though: always good for taking offense at.

Hey, I resemble that remark (although, as you did note, my one-liner was funny, if not one I'd add to my snark-portfolio). In all honesty, I've yet to encounter a feminist/womanist who didn't enjoy a good laugh as much as the next person (I inhereted both my ideological affiliation and my funny bone from my mother); maybe our humourless brethren/sistren are living on a commune in Montana with those aging freaks who, back in the proverbial day, got their jollies spitting on 'Nam vets.

"Cleek's, Gary's, and Ugh's (second*) remarks miss my point. They're arguing that McCain made a bad choice."

Of course, I said absolutely no such thing whatever, and never said a thing about the value of the choice; you appear to have my comment confused with someone else's.

Let's try again: Von, you don't seem to have read the key points about this: they didn't send anyone to, or talk to anyone in, Alaska until after the nomination was announced. How could that possibly be "complete" vetting, or anything within miles of it?

"Indeed, if anything, the process seems remarkably good: It accomplished in 24 hours what ordinarily takes much longer."

So why doesn't every campaign take only 24 hours? Do you have any idea how kooky this sounds, and how much it makes the person saying look like they'd say anything to defend McCain?

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