Chuck Todd on why McCain picked Palin

Chuck Todd on why McCain picked Palin


Despite my repeated and patient explanations, Justin continues to be confused about the reason for the Palin pick and is wondering again what exactly was McCain thinking?”.

Since JG has also expressed his admiration for Chuck Todd as an analyst (something on which we agree), perhaps Chuck’s explanation will be helpful. I think Chuck pretty much nails the rationale in this video excerpt. Net net – McCain recognized that if he did not change the game, he was going to lose anyway. Or as Dr. Samuel Johnson observed “the prospect of one’s eminent demise wonderfully clarifies the mind’s focus.”

[NOTE: I would prefer to embed the MSNBC Video at the top of this post, but cannot seem to make it work at the Donk – If JG or or anyone else can edit this post to include the embed code, I would appreciate it].

  • gerryf

    Making a game changing move and being a change candidate are not necessarily the same thing, though.

    I know where you are going with this, and at first pass, it even looks ok.

    OK, Palin got a couple of fellow Republican oil and gas conservation members who were dirt bags…good job. No complaint there. Kudos.

    And while she was critical of these gentleman, when the camera is being pointed at her over her own actions with the removal of the public safety commissioner and her ex-brother-in-law, she initially clamped down on information until public outcry forced her to open up.

    Firing people she doesn’t like–sound like the attorney general fiasco? That’s not reform, that’s business as usual for the GOP.

    Also, she was critical of Randy Ruedrich doing work for the party on public time, but she advocated against a clean water bill as governor–a violation of Alaskan campaign law

    Now we hear she went against embattled Alaskan Rep. Ted Stevens, and the GOP is making it look like she is some great reformer. Let’s be honest. Palin ran on a clean government campaign, and then the FBI starts an investigation into Stevens. Palin’s response…”Ï think we’d all like to know more about what’s going on with Rep Stevens.”

    OK, in GOP circles where Bush has been allowed to rape the Constitution that’s tantamount to taking him out behind the woodshed, but how could she not say something (something relatively lame), when the entire state is questioning Stevens and the FBI is ready to indict him?

    At the time, no one thought Palin even being critical but Stevens who is used to everyone letting him do anything he wants. She has refused to call for him to resign, thus far.

    Is that a “change” candidate?

    She’s claimed she was against Steven’s “bridge to nowhere” but while running for governor she said she was FOR it. (she was for the bridge before she was against it?)

    She claim’s to be a candidate for change but like most GOP people she is for oil and gas drilling…then, because Alaska’s population is concerned about global warming, she says wants to do something about it, appoints a committee to look at it, but does not believe global warming exists (wonder what that committee report will look like).

    This is not a candidate for change.

  • Alan Stewart Carl

    mw — I guess it all depends on whether or not you think McCain was assured to lose without making a big gamble. If you think he could have eeked out a victory with someone like Pawlenty or Romney, then the Palin pick looks rather unserious. If you believe he was going to lose with an “typical” VP choice, then the Palin pick looks like the kind of “all-in” play that, while risky, was the only chance at success.

    I think McCain had an outside shot even if he picked Pawlenty. I don’t think he had to go so bold with his VP choice. But I do get why he did it and, as I’ve stated, I love the boldness even if I have serious reservations about the actual choice.

  • pico

    “I guess it all depends on whether or not you think McCain was assured to lose without making a big gamble.”

    Exactly. McCain has been slowly gaining in the polls over the past month largely due to people becoming more concerned with experience and just being more comfortable with McCain. Previous elections have shown that when faced with uncertainy, Americans usually choose the known quantity or what they feel safer with. Granted, Obama’s speech got rave reviews, and the DNC went off well, but I honestly don’t think it was a political game changer securing McCain’s inevitable defeat; as with all of Obama’s previous speeches we’d most likely see a bounce of support that would erode after a week or so.

    Depending on how Palin handles and presents herself (and how the campaign handles and presents her) this could turn into an acceptable or even smart choice. I’m just not convinced it was worth the risks she carries and making McCain look like a complete hypocrite insofar as his experience and country first arguments go.

  • gerryf

    breaking news

    This just in, GOP touts the best reason yet that Palin is qualified to be VP–she has EXCELLENT feedback on Ebay, over 99.9 % percent! The only one who gave her bad feedback was an ex-brother in law who bought a lamp from her….

    more as it develops

  • jond

    I totally agree with Alan, above. Who else would “shake things up”? The only potential pic out there that would have been considered an “impact pick” would be his buddy Joe Lieberman, but despite the all the talk of Lieberman being on the “short list”, he was never in serious contention. Palin’s emergence will at least help to shore up the Republican base, something Lieberman certainly would not have done. I think the Alaska Governor, though, is in actually a safer choice than any of the other female possibles. And to choose any of the males such as Romney, Huckabee, or Giuliani, it would have been seen simply as the same old staid white male Republican routine.
    If nothing else, by shoring up his base, which is exactly what Bush did in ’04, those conservatives either sitting on the side line, or actually becoming Obama Republicans, now will likely cast their vote McCain’s way and just as importantly, add much needed money into the Republican coffers.

  • mediawatch

    For me, this is the bottom line:

    Because of his advanced age, there is a very real chance that McCain could be stricken by a disabling medical condition or, God forbid, even die in office.

    Who would then be commander in chief and in charge of national security? A totally unknown and untested political rookie, a young woman who was selected by the president, not by anyone’s vote.

    It’s utter insanity. And as dangerous as it gets.

  • BBQ

    I am like you mw, this was my dark horse pick that I thought would really shake things up. It’s risky and bold, might fail but it’s better than a safe pick. At least in my view.

    What McCain/Palin camp have to do now is attack the rampant rumormongering that is going on right now. So much misinformation because she is an unknown and the left can make up whatever they want and it sounds credible.

    So far my list of rumors I have seen:
    -She has multiple investigations and alleged misdoings as Gov.

    So far of what I have seen it’s just “Troopergate

    -Wants creationsism taught in schools:

    “I don’t think there should be a prohibition against debate if it comes up in class. It doesn’t have to be part of the curriculum.”

    She added that, if elected, she would not push the state Board of Education to add such creation-based alternatives to the state’s required curriculum.

    -What church she belongs to?

    I have seen like 5 or 6 different lists and people start making up what she belives. Including talking in tongues and not wanting medicial help. I have no clue right now my best guess was she grew up Assembly of God and is now at a non-denominational church

    This is the worst one of all, from Kos and others, that her 5th baby is not hers but is really her daugthers child.

    I can’t believe how much this is going around and the only evidence is “she doesn’t look pregant at 6 months and her daughter had mono and was out of school for awhile”.

    This smears are just as bad as the Obama ones and it’s not suprising the left plays just as dirty as the right. But McCain/Palin must come out fast and hard against this crap.

  • Jack

    Now I’am sure. They write about Haarp, and mind control, sorry, but it up and working. With all the most blatent and obvious abuses ever, much more than King George, they must have swithched it on. He lies on Iraq, gets away, kills over 1 million innocent, no problem, he tears your up your Constitution, it’s gonna be alright, the media lies like there is no tomorrow, we still trust them, on and on, something is wrong, the dammed Haarp is on, has been on keeping you from acting. It global.And 911, a lemon like that, that is too much. I hope you can wake up.

  • berlet98


    Dear Senator McCain:

    With the anticipated nomination of your brilliant pick, the avidly and deeply pro-life Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee for the vice presidency of the United States, the abortion issue will undoubtedly come to the forefront, if Obama-Biden permit it.

    I say that because you have already caved to the Obama-ites on debates. You wanted 10 of the townhall variety, your forte’, yet you agreed to 3 of the stilted interview format, where Obama excels with his well-rehearsed comments. That was a mistake.

    I hate to use this term but, Senator Wishy-Washy, if you also surrender and relegate abortion, the most significant social and moral issue on America’s table in 2008, to the campaign’s back burner, you will and should lose on November 4th.

    Surrender is not in your vocabulary, Senator McCain. You demonstrated that quality in your 5 1/2 years in residence at the Hanoi Hilton. However, your failure to demand, at the least, 3 townhall fora is inexplicable. To now also backburner abortion will be unforgiveable to your conservative base, the people who can elect you.

    Even if you concede to the Obamaniacs and shelve the issue as far as campaign ads are concerned, you should not stifle Sarah Palin and you should let her speak about it, and about the reasons she refused to abort what she and her husband knew was a Down Syndrome baby.

    Admittedly sensitive topics that many Americans simply don’t want to hear about or talk about because it makes them uncomfortable–as it should–the 50,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade, partial birth abortions, and the literal murder of living babies which Obama supports, (see,0,4780984.story), cannot be ignored.

    Senator McCain, if you prefer not to get down and dirty on abortion, at least let Sarah run with the ball. You chose her for reasons that must have included her beliefs in the right to life for all human beings. Now let her detail her feelings.

    Better yet, be that maverick you say you are and confront America with the truth about abortion! You might begin with incorporating pictures such as these in some of your advertising:

    Those pictures are not for the faint of heart nor for those who prefer the ostrich approach to reality, but a true pro-lifer should know those 50,000,000 innocents deserve a voice in this campaign. If you or Governor Palin don’t give them that voice, who will?

    May God bless you, may God bless Governor Palin, and may God bless and save America!

    Best of luck!


    Gene Lalor

  • Jim S

    And then they wonder why some of us really wonder about the sanity of political/religious extremists.

  • Barking MoonBat

    This is an absolutely brilliant move.

    For all the right reasons.

    REASON NR 1. I personally am going to take enormous delight in watching feminists twist and squirm trying to decide whether they put politics above empowerment or vice versa.

    Which is more important to them, in a real and a symbolic sense: electing a liberal man or a conservative woman?

    Lotsa of consternation occuring tonight in places like Smith College.

    REASON NR 2. It partially cuts the legs out from underneath the media’s love affair with the possilibity of electing the first african american as president. Now places like NPR will have to pivot as they are compelled by their bias own to give Mcain-Palin equal fawning time as they represent the best chance for a woman to be Vice President in a long time.

    REASON NR 3. The western state vote concept. A lot of buzz in the air about how the western states are the key to the future. Well a senator from Arizona and a governor from Alaska sure appeal to the western self-indentity of tough self-reliance.

    Hell, most of us in the lower 48 think of Alaskans as a bearded people who drink crude oil and wrestle grizzley’s on Friday night for fun.

    REASON NR 4. Disaffected Hillary Supporters. I dont now why people feel the need to downplay or take issue with this concept. Anything that causes the Democrats to weaken without being unethical is acceptable in my book. Even if a small portion (20%) of the hardcore and still angry Clinton supporters defect and vote for McCain-Palin that might be enough to tilt several key states.

    So to sum up.

    Who does the McCain-Palin ticket appeal to? (Non-PC version)

    White women
    White men
    Hillary supporters who are still pissed
    Feminists who prefer a white woman as VP to a black man as P
    Western state voters
    Conservative republicans who wanted something to bring McCain a little closer to them
    People who wanted a little youth on the ticket
    Liberal Republicans who wanted to show that the GOP is truly “all-inclusive”. I dont think its true but this reinforces that perception.

  • mw

    I’m not sure what is going on here. This particular post seems to be attracting the fringe and conspiracy elements. Well, I guess it is better to keep them all in one place.

    @Jim s
    If you are referring to berlet98 – I think this is a spam post. I’ve noticed several Berlet98 comments showing up in older posts late at night and like this one, pretty much completely off-topic. I’m very reluctant to delete comments but am sorely tempted by this … I’ll just leave it Justin to see if he wants to initiate a search and destroy.

    Yeah I have been following the Palin baby smear. You are right, its exactly like the “Obama is a secret Muslim” smear but his time from the left. In both cases there is absolutely nothing to base it on, but some knuckle draggers decide that it will be an effective political ploy and in internet time we are off to the races. I guess I am not really surprised to see blogs like dkos and some extreme fringe blogs promote this crap. There was a similar dynamic with extreme and fringe right wing blogs picking up and promoting the Obama/Muslim e-mail.

    But I was stunned and disappointed to see a blog like Moderate Voice permit this lie to be posted by one of their bloggers. I spent some time in the comment thread there suggesting they take it down and retract it. Its still there.

    I’ll tell you one thing – the “9/11 truthers”, the “Obama is the Antichrist”, and the *ahem* Haarp mind control conspiracists, got nothin’ on some of the left wing nut bags in that thread trying to promote this garbage.

    I was not going to bring this thing up here, but I see a lot of sites are linking to the TMV story. Might have to post something here calling Gandelman out on this. I’ll give it another day and see if they retract it.

    The irony is that this particular rumor will ultimately work in McCain/Palins favor. It cannot be true. Too many people would have to be involved, too many official medical and government records would have to be changed, and since this happened while governor, the entire Alaska press would have had to look away. She had a downs syndrome baby which often present low birth weight. That is probably why she didn’t show until late. And now more pictures have surfaced where she is looking pregnant. These idiots are besmirching the reputation of a 16 year old girl, and mother of a down syndrome child with a lie. If it gets big enough to get to the MSM it’ll be in the form of a smackdown – like with Obama on 60 minutes. It will blow up in their faces and backfire by generating sympathy for Palin. Maybe enough to give her a “get-out-jail-free” card for any mistakes made in the campaign. We will see.

  • patrikios

    The “Sarah Palin’s child is really her grandchild” rumor is disgusting. It reminds me not only of the Obama/Muslim smear but also of the Bush campaign tactics against McCain in 2000 (push-polls claiming that McCain’s adopted daughter, from Bangladesh, was his “illegitimate black child”).
    Which is more likely- that a teenager will have a baby with Down syndrome (maybe 1 out of 1000) or that a middle-age woman will have a baby with Down syndrome (1 out of 19)?
    I don’t think Obama’s campaign is behind this (if I did, I would not only vote for McCain, but contribute a good deal of the little money I have to his campaign); it seems to have originated and spread the same way that the Obama/Muslim smear did (that spread originally on Free Republic, this one started on DU or DailyKos and spread from there).
    As for berlet98, I’m with mw; I smell spam.

  • Jim S

    Actually if you just take the Palin version of the story as the truth (Which certainly is how it should be treated unless something blows up about the whole thing.) it makes me question her judgment and the competence of her physician. To detect amniotic fluid at 4:00 AM, stay in Dallas and give a luncheon speech and then get on an 8 hour flight to Alaska when only in her eighth month of pregnancy with a baby that they already knew was special needs? Good grief.

  • stan

    Todd’s analysis is wrong, McCain is a change agent and has been for a long time for crying out loud. Palin fits his personal style, but she is also young, a woman, and accomplished. McCain is a savvy politician and this was a savvy move. It was not made out of deperation, is was a smart move done at the right time. Simple as that.