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Mirror of Justice
To believe the narrative created by the media since August 29th, John McCain's decision to pick Sarah Palin was a bolt from the blue, foreseen by nobody. It was branded as a "snap choice"; a surprise, "a stunning selection of a little-known conservative newcomer"; a "surprise choice" that "confounded conventional wisdom"; "a stunning surprise, as McCain passed over many other better-known prospects, some of whom had been the subject of intense speculation for weeks or months."
She was "the most unlikely choice of a running mate" since Dan Quayle, and "[n]ot since [that pick] ... has a running mate choice been greeted with such a loud and collective 'Who?'" McCain's "astonishing choice for a running mate," the "little-known," "obscure" Alaskan Governor was "stunn[ing]" and "amazing." Palin "was on almost no one's short list" and "seemingly came out of nowhere to become John McCain's running mate, and the talk of the Republican Party," "mystif[ying] many in the Lower 48." She is "the out-of-nowhere walk-on whom everyone wants to see perform on a big stage."
But as Time adequately put the point, "the real surprise about Sarah Palin's selection as his running mate is that it's such a surprise." How is it that the MSM was caught off-guard (assuming that they actually were), when Palin's name has been in circulation among conservatives as a possible veep for McCain for months? Let's take a very short look at the history of what the MSM apparently didn't know.
In July 2007, The Weekly Standard profiled Palin; Adam Brickley started publishing his "Palin for VP" blog the same month, and has been touting Palin ever since. Instapundit, the most widely-read blog on the right, flagged Brickley's efforts in September 2007 and expressed interest. By the end of that month, Patrick Ruffini was getting interested in Palin as a "possible GOP vice presidential candidate."
In early 2008, the American Scene thought Palin "seem[ed] very appealing" as a "non-obvious" veep pick and Stop the ACLU said that Palin "would be a great choice." The American Spectator ran a column in February urging that McCain pick Palin. The same month, Ace of Spades pronounced Palin "the perfect nominee for vice president" and Rush Limbaugh said that Palin was "high up on the list, now, of potential vice presidents for Senator McCain." At the end of February, the idea started to seep into the MSM when The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza interviewed Palin and floated the idea of her being the veep.
McCain's pointman Arthur Culvahouse and his team were in Alaska vetting Palin back in May, and noting this, Wizbang's Kevin said that "Governor Palin would (in my estimation) make an excellent VP candidate for McCain." HotAir, one of the most heavily-trafficked blogs on the right, concurred, Allahpundit saying that he was "warming up" to Palin. Allahpundit ran a poll, where Palin garnered 2705 votes - running away with it compared to the runner-up, Romney, who managed only 1588. By the end of May, Conservathink was touting McCain-Palin in a post highlighted by conservative blog mothership RedState. At this point, the buzz had reached a point where even the Associated Press had noticed that Palin "ha[d] been mentioned as a potential running mate for presidential candidate John McCain."
At the start of June widely-read moderate Ann Althouse expressed interest in "potential VP candidate Sarah Palin" (the NYT can hardly claim to be unacquainted with Althouse, given that it had her write a column for them for two and a half weeks). The day before, Palin had appeared on Glenn Beck's CNN show; Beck floated her as a veep. By mid June, Cap'n Ed was making positive noises and Outside the Beltway considered it a given than Palin was under consideration. By late June Politico ran a column suggesting that she could be in the mix; noting that column, OTB's James Joyner was skeptical about picking Palin, but made the important point for our purposes here: "Palin has become a darling of the conservative blogosphere in recent months and has been touted quite a bit. She’s no doubt a rising star." At this point, Stop the ACLU "jump[ed] on the Sarah Palin bandwagon."
By the start of July, bloggers including myself, The Corner's Jonah Goldberg, Sundries Shack, Townhall.com's Matt Lewis and Beldar were expressing interest. By late July, Palin won an online Wall Street Journal poll of preferred veep picks, Reason magazine was referring to Palin as "the dark horse blogosphere choice for John McCain's running mate", Politico noticed that Newt Gingrich was advancing Palin as a possible veep pick, National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez was on board and Powerline was contemplating her poll numbers. These are not obscure corners of the web.
Palin appeared on Larry Kudlow's CNBC show on August 1st, and was asked about the speculation she might be the veep nominee. By mid-August, Atlas Shrugged thought that Palin was a possibility; I was expressly calling for her to be the pick; a poll on National Review's "The Corner" was dominated by Palin. The day before McCain announced that he was choosing Palin, Ross Douthat said that "[f]or a few months now, I've inclined toward Sarah Palin as a gamble worth taking" for the veep position, and Laurie Morrow offered the "top 10 reasons McCain's VP should be Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
So - decide for yourself. Did Palin's nomination "come out of nowhere"? And what does it say about the MSM that they thought it did?
Previously-debunked Palin memes: Sarah wasn't vetted (or was inadequately-vetted) | Sarah was picked because she's a she | Choosing Sarah was a mistake | Sarah said she didn't know what the veep does | Abstinence-only education failed Bristol Palin
References: "The most unlikely choice of a running mate": Washington Post, Aug. 30 p.A10. "Not since [that pick] ... has a running mate choice been greeted with such a loud and collective 'Who?'": Chicago Tribune, Aug. 29. "[A]stonishing choice for a running mate": Harrisburg Patriot News, Aug. 31 p.F2. "[L]ittle-known": Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Aug. 30, p.A1. "[O]bscure": LA Times, Aug.30 p.A30. "[S]tunned": Philadelphia Inquirer, Aug. 30, p.A1. "[A]mazing": Baltimore Sun, Sept. 3 p.A23. "[O]n almost no one's short list": NY Times, Aug. 30 p.A18. "[S]eemingly came out of nowhere to become John McCain's running mate, and the talk of the Republican Party": The Associated Press, The Edge: GOP rising stars or not, Aug. 31. "[M]ystif[ying] many in the Lower 48": Seattle Times, Aug. 30, p.A1. "[T]he out-of-nowhere walk-on whom everyone wants to see perform on a big stage": NY Daily News, Aug. 31 p.25.
What Ace Said (9/6/08)