BAKED ALASKA: Palin Likely to Withdraw as GOP VP Pick - GET POLITICAL w/ VIC LIVINGSTON
• New prediction: she'll give a rousing speech and bow out later.
• What then? A Condi or Hillary "Hail Mary"?
The Sarah Palin implosion clock began ticking within moments of "maverick" John McCain's Aug. 29th surprise selection of the young, attractive, Annie Oakley-esque Alaska governor as his GOP presidential running mate.
The betting here is that her withdrawal is imminent. After all the effusive Palin paeans on Tuesday night at the GOP convention in Minneapolis -- even the ex-communicated liberal Joe Lieberman couldn't hold back -- it would be a sign of weakness to pull out before her scheduled speech. So she's likely to deliver a rousing screed, drawing cheers and tears and a TV audience to rival last week's Denver "Barackalypse."
Perhaps the Song of Sarah will climax with a dramatic announcement: She cannot accept McCain's VP offer because it wouldn't be fair to subject her family to any more scrutiny from mean and nasty rumor-mongering lefty bloggers. "W" may have dropped a big hint in his Oval Office satellite feed, when he excoriated the "Angry Left." (And this from the President who said he was "a uniter, not a divider.")
Or maybe Palin will try to tough it out for a few days after her speech to see if the media firestorm fails to ignite among the masses.
But if past is prologue, these political morality plays generally do not have happy endings. We give it a week or two at most before McCain has a new running mate.
It can't come a moment too soon for presumptive prez nominee McCain, whose judgment and political acumen have been called into question by five days of unrelenting and unwelcome "Northern Exposure."
Whatever you may think of the comely governor, it is a stark fact that she has failed the first test of a vice presidential hopeful: "First, do no harm."
As the revelations continue to dogsled down from the Alaska wilderness, more questions arise about McCain's judgment, and about his campaign's VP vetting process. The credit, or the blame, depending on your political perspective, goes to the internet blogosphere. But for the blogs, the Palin implosion, brought about by widely circulated rumors about the family's infant boy, Trig, wouldn't have happened as quickly as it did -- if at all.
WHY TOSS ASIDE THE 'EXPERIENCE' ARGUMENT?
Even before "Palin baby" became the most-searched item on Google, Palin's selection mystified political pundits on both sides of the ideological divide. Why would McCain cede away the experience question, his strongest suit against Barack Obama, by choosing an untested 44-year-old with less than two years under her gubernatorial belt -- someone with zero experience in foreign affairs and national security issues?
So she has commanded the Alaskan National Guard and lives in a state whose borders abut Russia and Canada -- is the McCain campaign joking when they include those facts in the talking points supplied to her defenders? Does her four years' service as the mayor of a town with a population of 6,800, combined with her short stint as governor, make her more qualified for executive office than Barack Obama?
Did McCain really believe that Hillary Democrats would cross over and vote for a McCain-Palin ticket, despite Palin's fervent opposition to abortion under any circumstances (except when the mother's life is endangered); her anti- gun control stance; her evolution-doubting embrace of "intelligent design" creationism; her disavowal of sex education that instructs on birth control?
Even absent "Baby-gate," it would have been a tough sell.
WHO'S YOUR DADDY?
So when Sarah Palin and her husband Todd issued a statement on Labor Day (?!) stating that their 17-year-old daughter Bristol was pregnant by a teenaged friend named "Levi," whom she intends to marry, a tough sell turned nearly impossible.
The disclosure did not put to rest the original internet rumor, which actually originated in Alaska news media, in her own backyard -- that the family's infant son Trig, born with Down Syndrome, actually belonged to Bristol, and that they took in the child as their own in an attempt to cover up their daughter's indiscretion.
The announcement that Bristol is currently pregnant only served to fuel the fire within the internet rumor crucible.
"Just watch," remarked one middle-aged mother. "In a couple of months, they'll announce that Bristol miscarried" -- the implication being that announcement of Bristol's pregnancy was just another lie in an unseemly cover-up.
That assumption could turn out to be grossly unfair -- especially since an innocent child's reputation is being sundered by media scrutiny. But Palin's critics note that the Governor has brought it about herself, by dint of her acceptance of McCain's offer. The thinking is that if she knew there were "issues" with the baby, she should have spared her family a public dissection by turning McCain down.
THEN CAME THE REVELATIONS
Within short order, other revelations loosened Palin's tenuous hold on the presumptive VP nomination:
• "Trooper-gate" -- Palin allegedly applied pressure to officials under her command to fire a state trooper who was involved in a messy divorce with the Governor's sister. She is now the subject of an ongoing state investigation.
• "Secession-gate" -- ABC News reported over the weekend that Palin allegedly was a member of a fringe political party that advocates that Alaska become its own nation, independent of the United States. The New York Times repeated the allegation. But later, Alaska state officials said that while Todd Palin, the governor's husband, twice registered as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, the governor herself always registered as a Republican.
• "Pork-gate" -- Palin said in her first appearance on the national stage that she opposed the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" pork-barrel project championed by indicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens. But soon after, the media revealed that she was for the project before she was against it. Late Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that as governor, Palin hired lobbyists to secure nearly $300 million in pork-barrel projects for Alaska this year -- nearly nine times as much "pork" per person as the average per capita figure for all 50 states. In her remarks at McCain's side on Friday, Palin boasted that she was fighting to reduce the amount of so-called "earmark" appropriations from Congress.
• "Abstinence-gate" -- Palin has consistently opposed sex education in the schools, calling for "abstinence-only" programs -- positions that now are being called into question in light of her teen-aged daughter's out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
As of this update, early Wednesday morning (Sept. 3), Palin emerged briefly from a daylong seclusion to check out the podium at the Republican National Convention in Minneapolis. The McCain camp granted only one interview with Palin on Tuesday, to People magazine, a possible clue to their eventual exit strategy: It's a political soap opera, and the press and the 'net-heads play the role of the butler who "did it."
When Palin decides to exit from presidential politics, the decision would underscore a point that McCain apparently forgot: In "values voter" politics, it's"family first," not "country first," his campaign's provocative slogan.
And who, then, would emerge as McCain's back-up VP pick? Could he keep it shaking by naming Bush administration Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, a woman who happens to be black, or even Hillary Clinton, a Democrat who happens to be available (due to what could turn out to be Barack Obama's colossal political blunder)?
Will McCain anger the right by anointing Joe Lieberman or former Pennsylvania governor Tom Ridge, both of them pro- abortion rights?
Or will McCain decide to play it safe with former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, or Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty?
When the Palin snowshoe drops, Get Political says:
Don't discount the possibility that McCain once again goes for broke. At his age, and given his penchant to be the "maverick," what's he got to lose by alienating the blue-bloods? He knows that to beat Obama-Biden, a team that's once again gaining in the polls, he's got to keep mixing it up.
BUT WILL THE ELECTION EVEN MATTER? Not when government-supported "vigilante injustice" squads are "gang stalking" American citizens, making a mockery of the rule of law:
WHAT IF THEY COULD SHOOT YOU
WITHOUT LEAVING A TRACE? THEY CAN.