26 October 2008

The Making of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is not John McCain's 'spontaneous' choice for US Vice President and was not chosen by him.
She is a fundamentalist right-wing creature that was planted on him by party managers.
She was secretly groomed and prepared for her role by right-wing Republican 'spin doctors' for 18 months and originally meant to be the 'running mate' of Rudy Giuliani.

Read the whole story of the Making of Sarah Palin below in this


Sarah Palin, the right-wing creationist, 'hockey mom' and governor of Alaska, was sold to the Republican Party, the world's media and the general public as a 'spontaneous' choice of the presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, apparently showing his vigour and love for unconventional decisions.

That presentation was a lie.

I did not buy it right from the start and have been sceptical from the first moment I saw and heard Sarah Palin speak.

This woman, even though clearly inexperienced and a country bumpkin from the wilderness of Alaska, was too much groomed in certain ways, and uttered - almost like a parrot - just the kind of words the right-wing fundamentalists in her party wanted to hear. There was no spontaneity in her 'spontaneous' appearance, and I smelt a rat straight away.

However, between having a hunch and being able to establish that one is right there is a long stretch of thorough research. And not always does one find what one expects to be there.

But this time it is, and today I am happy to share with you the findings of my investigation into the making of Sarah Palin, who was neither a spontaneous choice, nor was she chosen by John McCain.

When Senator McCain presented Sarah Palin as his 'running mate', everyone was completely baffled. Sarah who? - people kept asking one time after the other. And she is the governor of what? (It was quite an interesting observation on the side that many Americans, including even some journalists, seemed not to know that Alaska is one of their 50 states...)

If John McCain had intented to surprise his party, America and the rest of the world and show once again what a great 'maverick' he is, pulling the name of this widely unknown and totally inexperienced backwoods politician out of a hat only two days before the party's convention would indeed qualify as a 'maverick' stunt.

But John McCain is as much a 'maverick' as my neighbour's little hamster. The Arizona Senator and former naval aviator likes the idea of a 'maverick', and he would really love to be one. But that's as far as it goes.
In his long political career - four years in the House of Representatives and 21 years in the US Senate - he has not left many impressions of independent behaviour. And during the nearly eight years of the current administration McCain voted in over 90% of all decisions with George W. Bush and supported his policies.
Not really the behaviour of a 'maverick', is it?

In fact, the artificial image of John McCain as a 'maverick' has only been used by himself and his campaign team since he decided to be a candidate for this year's election and began to run in the 'primaries'. And the sole reason for applying this label to himself is his - later aborted - attempt to switch sides in 2004, when for a short time there was even the possibility of John McCain becoming the 'running mate' of the Democratic candidate John Kerry.

For a few months, during which he was very annoyed and angry with George W. Bush and his administration, he contemplated moving over to the Democrats (inspired and encouraged by his old friend and fellow Senator Joe Lieberman) or even setting up a third party under his own leadership. If he were a real 'maverick', he would have done one of these two things. But after many talks and proposals, nothing came of it and McCain stayed put and quiet as a Republican.

McCain's moves did not remain hidden from George W. Bush and his team, lead by Karl Rove. And after a face-to-face meeting in the White House in the late summer of 2004, the Senator from Arizona was a changed man. Forgotten was all his anger, forgotten were his ideas to make a bold move on his own.
From that time on he voted even more often with the Bush administration and supported it in almost everything.

We don't know exactly what was said during this meeting, of course, and what the two men agreed on, but it is very clear that on this day John McCain sold his soul, and all what was left of his independent mind, to George W. Bush and Karl Rove.
We can assume that Bush promised McCain a 'free run' for the presidency in 2008, when he himself could not stand again. He and Rove might even have promised McCain support from the fundamentalist 'Christian' right, which they both had used as power base for their own success.

It was therefore no great surprise that after John McCain's 2007 announcement to run for the presidency, no strong or serious candidate was nominated from the right wing of his party.
Only Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee threw their hats into the ring of the 'primary' circus, but neither of them had ever a real chance to become President, or even be nominated as the party's candidate. Romney is a prominent Mormon, and even a right-wing America is not (yet) ready for a Mormon in the White House.
And the fundamentalist 'Christian' and backwoodsman Mike Huckabee, though popular with the right-wing creationists, is a real 'maverick' who would never have mobilised enough voters from 'middle America'.

Thus the only serious opponent for McCain was former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani (left), who made a real mess of his campaign and fell by the wayside after only one 'primary', the crucial vote in Florida.

It has always baffled me why an experienced and shrewd politician like Rudy Giuliani flatly refused to campaign in the smaller, but nevertheless important, east coast states and put all his hopes and money into Florida.
Could this have been just a diversion, a deliberate failure to leave McCain the open road to the nomination? We will probably never know, but it is quite possible.

After he secured the Republican nomination - long before the convention - many people wanted to know who John McCain's 'running mate' for the vice-presidential office was going to be. But despite repeated and ever more urgent questions, McCain remained silent and only said he would tell the world soon enough. Once again he wanted to play the 'maverick' and had a real surprise in stock for his party. He was going to take his old personal friend Joe Lieberman (above), 'independent Democrat' and Senator from Connecticut, with him to the White House.

When John McCain's chief adviser Steve Schmidt (left), who took complete control of the campaign in July, learned of this plan, he was shocked and outraged.
What the party needed was a staunch Republican as vice-presidential candidate, he argued, especially as McCain himself was still seen as "too soft and too liberal" by the strong right wing of the party.

Joe Lieberman would not be acceptable, Schmidt said, as he was not only a Democrat, but also an orthodox Jew from the east coast. What the party needed was "not Joe Lieberman, but an ordinary Joe" people could relate to. Better even a Josephine, as "a woman always brings extra attraction".

After lengthy arguments McCain gave in eventually and left the selection of the 'running mate' to the 38-year-old Steve Schmidt.
This was not a hard task for the right-wing campaign manager, as he had in fact made his selection already. For quite some time a small group of selected right-wing Republicans, led and organised by George W. Bush's former campaign manager and chief 'spin doctor' Karl Rove (above), had prepared and groomed Sarah Palin for this position. The whole operation was done with the utmost secrecy, and only a few people knew of the plan. John McCain was not among them.

The young female governor of Alaska, hardly known to anyone outside her own state, was just the kind of person Rove and Schmidt needed.
A mother, housewife and politician, who stands on the far right of the party, loves guns and shooting animals, and - most important of all elements - a strict fundamentalist evangelical 'Christian' and creationist, who is vehemently opposed to abortion. She ticks all the crucial right-wing boxes, and it could not have been better.
(That Palin's 17-year-old unmarried daughter would become pregnant at the politically most unsuitable time no-one expected...)

That Sarah Palin is less than two years in her current job as governor and has absolutely no experience with foreign affairs did not bother Schmidt or his mentor Rove. After all, George W. Bush was in the same situation in 2000, and he provided the right-wing war mongers under the leadership of Richard 'Dick' Cheney with two full-sized conflicts after he was briefed in the right way.

However, the 'discovery' of Sarah Palin as a potential vice-presidential candidate was neither made by Steve Schmidt nor by Karl Rove, who taught his associate all the dirty tricks while they both worked in the White House under George W. Bush and Richard 'Dick' Cheney (the latter being advised directly by Schmidt, before he was chosen as the campaign manager of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the gubernatorial election in Calaifornia in 2006).

The rather dubious 'honour' of having found Palin and recognised her potential must go to a young college student in Colorado named Adam Brickley (right), who - at the tender age of 20 - started a private one-man campaign for the selection of Sarah Palin as the Republican candidate for Vice President of the USA.
Brickley, a youth and student activist on the fundamentalist far right of the Republican Party, was looking for new faces among Republican state governors, senators and members of the House of Representatives, with the idea to pick the most appealing for his self-ordained mission to find and promote the next Republican 'celebrity'.
It is not known how many political biographies Adam looked up on Wikipedia or other online sources, but sooner or later he came across Sarah Palin, and he liked what he saw and read.

Being a bit of a computer nerd, he decided to use the internet - and especially blogging - for his promotional purposes. So with his mind made up, Adam Brickley started a new weblog, which had the clear and unmistakeable name Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President.

The first text on this weblog was posted on February 26th, 2007, which was:
  • less than three months after Sarah Palin was inaugurated as the newly elected (first time) governor of Alaska (on December 4th, 2006);
  • two months before Senator John McCain announced (on April 25th, 2007) that he would be seeking the nomination of the Republican Party for the US Presidency;
  • more than 18 months before John McCain presented Sarah Palin as his 'surprise running mate' at the Republican convention on August 29th, 2008 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
In this first post Adam Brickley explains what he was doing, and why. He writes:
"This blog is the result of about a month worth of research on potential Republican Vice-Presidential candidates for the 2008 election. I had been considerably less than thrilled with all of the early speculation, mostly swirling around second-tier presidential candidates, so I decided to see if there was anyone better suited for the job that I hadn't been hearing about. So, I developed the following profile for the perfect VP candidate (using Rudy Giuliani as my presumptive presidential candidate):
1) A energetic, young, fresh face who will energize the electorate
2) Not connected to the current administration
3) Pro-Life
4) Pro-Gun
5) A woman or minority to counter Hillary or Obama and put to rest the idea that America only elects white males
One of the first names I found that fit these qualifications was that of Sarah Palin, the recently elected Governor of Alaska. I knew that I had stumbled upon a fantastic candidate for national office, but I kept looking in the hope that I could find other potentially viable choices. However, after looking at every GOP [Republican] governor, senator, and congressperson, I found that Palin had only become more appealing."

So, how did the weird idea of a college undergraduate from Colorado make it right into the frontline of the presidential election? It was a long and rather strange journey.

At first the whole 'Palin campaign' was indeed only Adam Brickley and his weblog. And it was not the Arizona Senator John McCain whom young Adam wanted to be the next Republican in the White House.
For the right wing of the party McCain always was - and still is - a suspect 'liberal' and not the man of their choice. (Most of them will still vote for him, now that he is the party's candidate, but there are hard-line fundamentalists who will not.)

Adam Brickley's preferred candidate for the highest office in the USA was Rudolph W. Giuliani, who for most of 2007 was the clear frontrunner in the Republican Party. The only child of an Italo-American Mafioso from New York and until the end of 2001 the Mayor of that city for eight years, Rudy Giuliani - the man who invented 'zero tolerance' - was the hope of most right-wing Republicans, until he totally mismanaged his campaign and had to quit the race after coming third in the Florida 'primary' election, the one he had expected to win with a substantial margin. (How much this was stage-managed by the White House to keep the promise made to John McCain in 2004 can only be guess work.)

So when Adam Brickley sat in front of his computer in Colorado and selected Sarah Palin as potential 'VP' candidate, he chose her as the 'running mate' of Rudy Giuliani, and not for John McCain.
But when events overtook his preference, even a right-wing hick like Adam was flexible enough to adjust his online campaign to the new political realities on the ground.

The blogging campaign for Sarah Palin was not the first time that Adam Brickley - online also known by his internet name 'ElephantMan' - had started a political weblog.
On July 29th, 2005 - a Friday evening with nothing else to do - the then 18-year-old created ConservaGlobe, which - as he described it himself - was a "right wing commentary on world politics from a man on a mission to prove that Conservatism transcends national boundaries".
(By the way, the name 'ElephantMan' has in Adam's case no connection with the famous John Merrick and is instead a verbal link to the mascot animal of the US Republican Party, which is - strangely enough - an elephant.)

For nearly two years 'ElephantMan' ran ConservaGlobe, featuring a large number of political news items and comments from around the world.
For an American living in one of the land-locked states, Adam showed an unusually strong interest in the rest of the world, and although his posts reflect clearly his right-wing political orientation, the ConservaGlobe weblog was maintained well and quite informative.
The last text there - with the rather strange title "Are Terrorists Targeting Gordon Brown?" - was posted on July 1st, 2007, when Adam's newly found obsession with Sarah Palin began to take all his attention.

Because within less than six months of Adam Brickley starting his strange campaign for a woman he had never met or spoken with, the Republican puppet masters had taken him and his idea under their shady wings.

To most outsiders this was not obvious, but behind the scenes the right-wing spin machine began to work for and on Sarah Palin, preparing and grooming her slowly but steadily for a position as 'running mate' for Rudy Giuliani.

The only visible change was the appearance of a second name on Adam Brickley's campaign weblog.
Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President had suddenly another writer, one Stephen R. Maloney, who shaped up the weblog and put more political spin onto it.
Most visitors to the site might not have noticed that and probably did not notice the significance of the new name either. But for political observers and analysts it meant a lot.

Stephen R. Maloney is a right-wing US writer (author of "Talk yourself to the Top") and political consultant, who - after many years in the conservative South - lives and works now in Ambridge, Pennsylvania (a state heavily targeted by the Republicans and one they need to win if they want to win the election).
Besides his work as a political consultant, Maloney has a long track record as a speech writer, working mainly for large US companies who support the Republican Party - and especially the Bush administration - with huge donations. Among them are Phillips Petroleum, Gulf Oil, USX (US Steel), Aetna, Merck, Lilly and many others.

This accomplished 'spin doctor' took now control of Adam Brickley's weblog, and worked closely with the masters of the Republican propaganda machine, Karl Rove and Steve Schmidt.

Maloney is a very prolific blogger and involved with at least 18 different right-wing political weblogs, most of which he controls himself. (This number includes at least five new weblogs which already project and promote Sarah Palin for the next presidential campaign in 2012!)

One of these 18 weblogs, called Campaign 2008 Victory A, was established by Stephen R. Maloney on June 25th, 2007, shortly after he had stepped in as Adam Brickley's political mentor, and more than 14 months before Sarah Palin was presented by John McCain as his 'surprise running mate'.
At that time McCain did not even know she existed, but she was already groomed secretly by right-wing manipulators as his potential vice-presidential partner.

In his first text, posted on this weblog on June 25th, 2007, Stephen R. Maloney wrote:
"I do like Sarah Palin - a lot... Sarah has the character, charisma, and communication skills necessary to appeal to the American people. She doesn’t come with the political history - and the high 'unfavorability ratings' - associated with most national figures. I’m prepared to burn a great deal of time in the effort to get Sarah on the ticket... I’ve invested at least 200 hours so far, and I’m ready to spend at least 2000 more. Why? Because I believe it’s essential to the country that there be a new dynamic - specifically, a dramatically different personality - in American politics. As I’ve said before, if our ticket is the usual one - two aging white males in gray suits, both carrying more baggage than an army of red caps - then we deserve to lose, and we will lose."

To remind you, this was 14 months before Sarah Palin's nomination, and about one year before the increasingly senile John McCain ever heard of her.

But while the Arizona Senator was preparing for his 'primary' campaign across all 50 US states, the right-wing spin doctors manufactured what was in their eyes the 'perfect vice-president' who would not have to run the gauntlet of the 'primaries' and could appear later like a rabbit from a magician's hat - Sarah Palin.

At this early stage none of them even contemplated that John McCain would be their party's nominee, and they were not interested in him at all. Their favourite at that stage was Rudy Giuliani, with actor and former Senator Fred Thompson a possible candidate. These two were the potential candidates Sarah Palin was groomed to assist, in an election they clearly expected to run against the Democratic Senator and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

As Stephen R. Maloney writes on June 25th, 2007: "Admittedly, I may be wrong, but I don’t think Fred [Thompson] can defeat Rudy [Giuliani] in the Republican primary. And I don’t believe Giuliani alone can defeat Mrs. Clinton in the general election. Recent polls suggest my gloomy assessment is correct. Could Rudy running with Sarah defeat Hillary Clinton? Maybe. Could Fred Thompson running with Sarah defeat Mrs. Clinton? Possibly. I like some of the other Republican presidential candidates, but I see no evidence they could emerge as winners in November 2008."

And he continues: "We’ve never [had] anyone remotely similar in high office. For one thing, Sarah is the mother of four children. [By now she has five.] We’ve never had a high official from Alaska, a state blessedly free of many of our political obsessions in the 'lower-48'. We’ve never [had] a President or a Vice-President whose spouse has actually held what most of American regards as 'real jobs' - in Todd Palin’s case as a commercial fisherman and oil field production foreman."
"The idea of Sarah going to [Washington] D.C. as the nation’s first female vice-president makes me smile. It has a little of the quality of Jimmy Stewart’s old 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington'. Imagine that: sending a real person - someone with whom a hundred million American[s] can immediately identify."

He goes on: "On critical issues like energy, faith, and family, Sarah might be the best-informed person we’ve ever sent to Washington, DC. She won’t have learned about those matters by reading books; she has lived them first-hand.
Sarah is good at running things. That traces back to her childhood, and especially to her role at a point guard on a state championship basketball team. The point guard brings the ball up the court and decides exactly how the offense will attack the defense.
In both life and politics, Sarah has almost always been a winner. The 'almost' qualification comes from the fact that she lost her race for Lieutenant Governor. She obviously learned a lot from that. She came back to defeat former Senator and then-Republican Governor Frank Murkowski in the primary. Then, she defeated Democrat and former Governor Tony Knowles in the general election."

Concluding the article, Maloney addressed Sarah Palin directly: "So Sarah, you may barely know I exist - at this point. But I’m going to devote every hour I can to making sure you have to relocate sooner rather than later from Wasilla, Alaska to Washington, DC."

And Stephen R. Maloney kept his promise. He and his collaborators ran a subtle campaign - making good use of the internet and blogging - to make Governor Sarah Palin the Republican vice-presidential candidate for - originally - Rudy Giuliani, and then, after he failed and dropped out, for the eventual nominee, John McCain.

He, the former navy pilot, war hero and long-time politician had nothing at all to do with the selection and the 'making' of Sarah Palin.

When the time came to nominate a 'running mate', he was told who it was to be.

His own long-term choice - Senator Joe Lieberman - had never a chance. The party machine, reluctantly accepting McCain - the man they least wanted - as presidential candidate, forced him to do what he was told.
Such is politics, and in particular Republican politics in the era of Karl Rove.

The rest, as people often say, is history.

Most analysts - myself included - expect a Democratic landslide win on November 4th. And one of the main reasons for that is Sarah Palin, the woman who - for a short time - energised the Republican core voters, but has quite the opposite effect on everyone else, including the crucial independent voters who are ever more the deciding factor in US elections.

Given the fanatic devotion some political activists like Stephen R. Maloney and Adam Brickley have for her, they will probably do everything in their power to keep her alive on national level, hoping to run her again in 2012.
But if the current investigations into her abuse of power as governor of Alaska are taking on their own momentum, such efforts - including the already existing five weblogs Maloney has created for a 'Sarah Palin 2012' campaign - might become irrelevant.

The Emerald Islander

This article is copyrighted.
© 2008 by the author & blog owner, and by
Mayfield Communications, Waterford / Ireland

If anyone - newspapers, magazines or fellow bloggers - wishes to copy
or republish this article, then please obtain first permission to do so.
You can do that by e-mailing me at inishtrahoull@yahoo.co.uk


Anonymous said...

It sounds like you may be intimidated by a strong woman. Sarah Palin has done a great job in the state of Alaska as is evidenced by the so called "country bumpkins" that you mention. Because someone lives in the wilds of Alaska does not necessarily mean that they are ignorant, undereducated, and sitting in a haystack. There are many who are native to the area and although their culture and heritage is different does not mean that they are not creative and passionate about their lives. There is no shame in hardworking people regardless of where they live. If you had done your research you would have found that there are a great many people who are highly educated working and living in the state of alaska to include those from the lower 48 and those from abroad, uk and other european countries. Perhaps there are qualities such as fresh air, undercrowded areas to live in, and the wonders of nature that are more meaningful than sitting at a pompous dinner with people in gloves and white hats that use the appropriate fork; and would most likely drown if it should rain. Why not give Ms. Palin some credit for trying to take on an old boys network regardless of being a soccer mom.

Fiona said...

Very interesting and comprehensive piece! Here's hoping the fiasco is dead and buried by the time 2012 rolls around.

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