There was a flutter of attention when McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told a group of Post reporters and editors yesterday that his team was having to rework the vice presidential acceptance speech because the original draft, prepared before Gov. Sarah Palin was chosen, was too "masculine." While we all wondered to ourselves what might make a speech masculine or feminine, no one batted an eye at the underlying revelation: that the campaign was writing the nominee's speech before knowing who the nominee would be.
Never mind the prehistoric days when a politician might be expected to write his or her own words; speechwriters have been around since long before television. But traditionally their job was to channel their bosses' thoughts and ideas into poetry, or at least comprehensible English. Nowadays, apparently it's naive to expect a speech even to reveal something of the essential views or character of the speaker. Instead, campaigns -- not just the McCain campaign -- draft their speeches with an eye to which demographic groups need to receive which messages, and then we in the media rate the speeches based on how well we think they hit those targets.
So when you watch Sarah Palin tonight, expect to learn something about how well she handles a Teleprompter. Expect to learn something about the McCain campaign's assessment of its political standing with women, or working families, or social conservatives. Whether you're learning what Sarah Palin really thinks or feels is anybody's guess.
Aides to Mr. McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Ms. Palin's background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice.
Although the McCain campaign said that Mr. McCain had known about Bristol Palin’s pregnancy before he asked her mother to join him on the ticket and that he did not consider it disqualifying, top aides were vague on Monday about how and when he had learned of the pregnancy, and from whom.
While there was no sign that her formal nomination this week was in jeopardy, the questions swirling around Ms. Palin on the first day of the Republican National Convention, already disrupted by Hurricane Gustav, brought anxiety to Republicans who worried that Democrats would use the selection of Ms. Palin to question Mr. McCain's judgment and his ability to make crucial decisions.
At the least, Republicans close to the campaign said it was increasingly apparent that Ms. Palin had been selected as Mr. McCain's running mate with more haste than McCain advisers initially described.
We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It's called an abuse of power. There is ample evidence that Palin used her power as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. When his boss refused to fire him, she fired his boss. She first denied Monegan's claims of pressure to fire Wooten and then had to amend her story when evidence proved otherwise. The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin began building clout in her state's political circles in part by serving as a director of an independent political group organized by the now embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.
Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.
Palin's relationship with Alaska's senior senator may be one of the more complicated aspects of her new position as Sen. John McCain's running mate; Stevens was indicted in July 2008 on seven counts of corruption.
-- Matthew Mosk on washingtonpost.com's The Green Zone weblog, September 1, 2008.