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Dick Cheney is right: Palin was a bad pick

July 30, 2012

Via Ed Morrissey, former Vice President Dick Cheney thinks picking Sarah Palin in 2008 was a mistake:

Cheney believes that the #2 slot has to be filled with someone ready to take over the top job on Day 1 — and that John McCain flunked that test in 2008. In an interview with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl, Cheney called the selection of Sarah Palin “a mistake”

Ed’s got video and transcript at the link. An excerpt of his excerpt:

Cheney would not comment on what he told Romney and Myers, but he was harsh in his assessment of McCain’s decision to pick Palin.

“That one,” Cheney said, “I don’t think was well handled.”

…“I like Governor Palin. I’ve met her. I know her. She – attractive candidate. But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years. I don’t think she passed that test…of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.

Seems like conservatives are, for the most part, disagreeing wth Cheney – at least from what I saw in my tiny amount of browsing today. Well I don’t disagree. I didn’t like the Palin pick, either, because:

Choosing Sarah Palin for Veep never thrilled me. I know: conservatives wanted her, and demographic politics recommended her. Still, McCain’s most powerful argument against Obama was his experience – or, rather, his lack thereof – and picking Palin weakens that argument.

Yes, I know, she’s second on the ticket, while Obama’s is first. That’s an important difference. Still, I expect conservatives and Republicans to be the responsible ones – liberals and Democrats certainly won’t be – and placing Palin a heartbeat away seems irresponsible.

That’s from something I wrote for way back when. Yeah, I was trying to spin the pick as a good thing then, and (despite losing to Obama) things haven’t turned out so bad. But at the time, Obama’s horrific lack of experience was McCain’s best line of attack. Choosing a half-term governor and small-town mayor eliminated that line of attack.

On the other hand, one can’t deny the energy Palin brought to the race. She brought a dynamism that wasn’t there before. The grassroots loved her in a way they never loved McCain, and she’s been a strong and relentless conservative voice ever since.

So in that way, picking Palin worked out great.

But we didn’t know at the time that things would work out that way. Nobody knew she’d turn out to be that. She was a completely unknown quantity who, given the extreme thinness of her resume, was more likely to flame out than light a fire.

Okay, so it’s pretty well inconceivable that McCain would have won in any circumstances. So we may be better off today for his having picked Palin and, thus, launched her career as a conservative darling. Or, maybe she would have become an even bigger star on her own, without the McCain campaign.

But that’s all speculation. Given what we knew at the time, she was a bad choice. Cheney is right.


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