Sep. 2, 2008: Exclusive: Political Pros Ponder Palin Pick


Want to know how Democratic strategists reacted to John McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate? Let’s listen in and hear for ourselves:

“Okay, folks, let’s get the meeting underway. We have a lot of issues to cover and Sen. Obama is anxious to see what we come up with. Let me start by saying I am pleased to introduce our new intern, Thigby. I am sure he will learn a lot from this group of political pros.

“As we all know, Sen. McCain surprised us by picking Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, and it got a lot of positive press. We’ve got to figure out how to counter his move and get our campaign back on the offensive. Let’s start with you, Roberts. Any thoughts?”

“Sir, it is a no-brainer. As a governor, Palin has zero expertise in foreign policy.”

“Astute observation, Roberts. Yes, Thigby?”

“Sir, I know as a governor she has no foreign policy experience, but what about Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton? Weren’t they governors, too? They had no foreign policy experience, and they were elected president. What makes her different?”

“Thank you, Thigby.”

“Carson, I see you have your hand up.”

“The little twerp, Thigby, forgets that this woman is one heartbeat away from the Oval Office. To think she would be next in line to be president is frightening.”

“It certainly scares me, Carson. Yes, Thigby?”

“Sir, what about our presidential candidate? Sen. Obama hasn’t served one term in the U.S. Senate and before that he was in the Illinois Senate. He wasn’t even a governor. That doesn’t sound like much experience to me. He isn’t a heartbeat away from the presidency either, sir. If elected, he would be the president. Are we saying you can have no foreign policy expertise and be president, but you must be experienced to be vice president? Frankly, that doesn’t make sense.”

“Sit down, Thigby. Johnson, what can you run up the flagpole for us?”

“Well, chief, I would play the scandal angle. Admittedly, Palin is seen as squeaky clean but there is the issue of her firing her sister’s ex-husband, a state policeman. That could be big. Real big.”

“I like that, Johnson! What is it now, Thigby?”

“Sir, if we bring that up, Republicans are liable to jump on the fact that one of Sen. Obama’s good friends and supporters is Bill Ayers, a former member of the radical Weathermen. His wife, Bernadine Dohm, headed the group when a number of U.S. government installations were bombed and she helped draft the group’s Declaration of a State of War that formally declared ‘war’ on the U.S. government. Firing a state policeman sounds pretty tame when you are talking about having supporters who wanted to take down our government.”

“Shut up, Thigby.”

“Okay, Briggs. What’s your take on things?”

“We are making this too complicated, boss. She is a woman. She is from a small state. She doesn’t know the issues. Period.”

“Excellent summation, Briggs. Thigby, I told you to sit down and shut up.”

“Sir, I’m sorry but we have a presidential candidate with no meaningful experience and a vice presidential hopeful whose claim to fame is plagiarizing speeches and we Democrats rejected a very qualified woman. Gov. Palin has balanced more budgets than both of our candidates combined. She has successfully fought corruption in Alaska. She has a son in the U.S. Army headed for Iraq. Her husband is a member of the United Steelworkers. Since the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is in her state, she could be a major player in crafting a national energy policy. All in all, I’d say she is one helluva candidate. John McCain may have just cleaned our clock.”

“Maybe this would be a good time for a short break. In the meantime, Thigby, you and I need to have a little talk. It is obvious from your comments today that you are not smart enough to be a political strategist. Why don’t you consider a job as a newspaper columnist?”