Palin Backlash Watch, Part II

Palin’s working-mom street cred is going to appeal to some (certainly not all) women who would not be expected to share Palin’s political views — such as, a national correspondent for NBC’s Today show:

Politics aside and as a journalist, it’s intriguing to see the so-called mommy wars resurrected and reignited once again. As a working mom, it’s disheartening to see another — whomever she is — attacked for her choices.

Outperforming Her Resume

TNR offers an Alaskan perspective (hat tip: Neo-Neocon):

What the Republicans missed about Sarah Palin then [just before she ousted a sitting Alaska governor in a primary]–and what the Democrats seem poised to miss now–is that she is a true political savant; a candidate with a knack for identifying the key gripes of the populace and packaging herself as the solution. That keen political nose has enabled her to routinely outperform her resume. Nearly two years into her administration, she still racks up approval ratings of 80 per cent or better….

Sarah Palin is a living reminder that the ultimate source of political power in this country is not the Kennedy School or the Davos Summit or an Ariana Huffington salon; even now, power emanates from the electorate itself. More precisely, power in 2008 emanates from the working class electorates of Pennsylvania and Ohio.

Sooner or later, the Obama camp will realize that the beauty pageant queen is an enormously talented populist in a year that is ripe for populism. For their own sake, it had better be sooner.

McCain Strategist Describes the Vetting of Palin

I’m skeptical of the partisan contention that McCain did little or no vetting of Palin in advance of the announcement. Here’s an extended response from the McCain camp — according to an unidentified senior McCain strategist, the vetting

“included her filling out a 70-question questionnaire that was highly intrusive and personal. She was then interviewed for more than three hours by A.B. Culvahouse [head of the VP selection team]. There were multiple follow-up interviews. … There was a public records search and political vet. There was a private life and financial vet. Everything that has come out was known by the campaign through the vetting process.”

Because of America’s bizarre process for vice presidential selection, the safest pick for a running mate seems to be someone who has recently run for president (Obama-Biden, Kerry-Edwards, Clinton-Gore, Reagan-GWBush, etc.) If the prospective VP has not already been through the campaign crucible, the vetting has to be accomplished in strict secrecy, and the secrecy inherently limits how thorough the vetting can be.

The Quayle Comparison

The second half of this 1988 NYT article explains how George H.W. Bush waited until the convention was already under way to announce Dan Quayle as his running mate. Consequently, the first part of the convention was overshadowed by speculation about who would be the VP candidate, and the second part was overshadowed by a media feeding frenzy over Quayle, aggravated by Quayle’s fumbling responses in his initial interviews about “his military service, a golf trip to Florida with a female lobbyist and whether he had enough experience to be President.” (Hat tip: Slate.)

Palin acquitted herself reasonably well in her first public remarks, when she was introduced on the morning of the announcement. She’ll be under the microscope tonight when she speaks at the convention.