SARAH PALIN IN A NUTSHELL: GOING ROGUE: BOOK REVIEW. THE MCCAIN CALL.
Sarah was attending the Alaska State Fair when she got a call from John McCain to meet in Arizona.
She had been the subject of rumors and media inquiries about a possible Vice Presidential nomination but she had not taken them seriously until this moment. She had met John and Cindy McCain in February of 2008 at the Governor’s Conference in Washington D.C. It was a warm and cordial meeting and they had shared interests among them was the fact that the McCain’s had two sons in the military and Sarah’s son Track was in the Army and she was also head of the Alaska National Guard which had units in Iraq.
However nothing was discussed or decided at this meeting and she was not an insider in the McCain coterie. In fact outside of children Sarah does not seem to be in the same camp as Cindy McCain who is independently wealthy, runs a worldwide charity for children and is not an out spoken person politically. She seems to have the same role Todd has in the Palin family in the McCain family.
When the fateful call came she “slipped out of Alaska “ and went to Arizona on a charted flight with her family, Davis White a McCain staffer and Kris Perry her assistant and friend. They landed at night and went to the home of Bob Delgado, CEO of Hensley and Co., the beer distributorship owned by Cindy McCain. It was five days before the Republican National Convention and who would be the Republican nomination for Vice President was the primary topic in the media.
There, she had an interview with Steve Schmidt, McCain’s veteran campaign manager, a gruff no nonsense man, who asked her questions to determine the extent of her political knowledge on Iraq and its history. He also was interested in her views on abortion, gays and evolution or creationism, and any” skeletons she had in the closet.” She told him she had once got a “D” in college and that she was pro life, anti gay marriage but not anti gay and that she believed evolution occurred with the guidance of God. Humans were God’s creation and did not evolve from one cell creatures or from fish that grew legs and walked out of the sea. She also believed the theory of creationism should be debated in the schools along with evolution which is no longer a theory but a fact.
She mentions that one of her “best friends” from college lived an openly gay life style and she accepted that.
She perceived, by talking to Schmidt, that he was focused on the war in Iraq as the principal issue in the campaign and did not recognize that ultimately the main issue would be the economy and the need for change. She had believed she was always an outsider who would bring “change” to the way government was run. However during the campaign the Obama camp “co-opted’ these issues.
The fact was that a principle difference between Obama and McCain was the Iraq War. McCain was a hawk on Iraq and voted for the War Resolution in 2002 and supported the Bush Administration’s policy on Iraq including the surge in 2007. Barrack Obama was not in the Senate in 2002 but he was opposed to the war and authored a bill to prevent the surge in 2007 and de-escalate the war which did not pass. McCain acquired the reputation as a Republican maverick because he did not support the Bush Administration’s policies on many domestic issues including health care and taxes. He also co- authored the McCain- Feingold Campaign Finance Act recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. His campaign sought to disassociate itself from the Bush Administration on domestic policies which it failed to do. While the surge helped, the turning point in the war was when the Sunni leaders decided to support the Coalition Forces against the Al- Qaeda terrorists who were driving the insurgency. Unfortunately for McCain, the voters were split on the Iraq War and were against the Bush Administrations free market and tax policies which as a Republican he was linked to although he had opposed some of them. Thus during the campaign the Iraqi war was still raging and the economy was going into a steep recession and all were perceived as Republican failures. Also he does not have the oratorical charisma Barrack Obama has and he was not seen as an agent for change nor was Sarah Palin.
This left Schmidt between a rock and a hard place on viable campaign issues with a woman thinking about going off message in the back of her head.
She says Schmidt already knew about Bristol’s pregnancy although she thought it was a well kept family secret. One wonders why she didn’t disclose this as a “skeleton” that might become a campaign issue.
He also knew details about her political career as mayor and governor and the way she handled issues including the firing of her Public Safety Commissioner. She says it was for insubordination and budget issues and not for refusing to fire Chuck Wooten her ex brother in law.
She discloses that she also spoke by telephone with the lawyer in charge of the vetting team that gave Schmidt all his information. He was Arthur Culverhouse Jr . a partner at O’Melveny and Myers, a Los Angeles law firm where one time Secretary of State under William Clinton, Warren Christopher, is a partner. It is also the firm that defended Jeffrey Skilling in his recent criminal case involving the Enron collapse.
After the meeting with Schmidt and his deputy she was driven to the McCain ranch in Sedona, Arizona where she met John McCain and his wife Cindy. McCain offered her the Vice Presidential nomination and she accepted. She mentions she was in awe of Cindy’s “up market elegance” Palin mentions that she had heretofore worn only three Ann Taylor suits when traveling. “More power to her (Mrs. McCain) she thought.”
The announcement was made at the 12000 seat Nutter Center in Dayton Ohio in the “Road to the Convention Rally” on August 29, 2008. Prior to this McCain had trouble drawing a crowd and it is doubtful he would have been able to fill the center by himself. So this was a test prior going to the convention in Minneapolis for confirmation that she could draw an enthusiastic crowd when McCain could not in Ohio , a crucial swing state. It was McCain’s birthday and also his rebirth as a viable candidate a gift from Sarah Palin. Her family was thrilled at the campaign hoopla and proud of their mother.
Then she and McCain went onto Minneapolis were they were validated as the Republican Party candidates for President and Vice President.