Seeking answers in ‘Going Rogue’

By Shari Jo Sorchych | January 20, 2010

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shari joI was shocked when McCain and Palin’s pre-election lead in the polls dissolved resulting in the loss of the election. I was hoping Sarah Palin’s book (ghost written by Lynn Vincent) would shed some light on why McCain and Palin lost when it seemed they had the election won in October and why Palin resigned as Governor of Alaska.

During the campaign Sarah Palin was under strict orders about an incredible number of things that once brought to light appear to explain at least in part why the Republicans lost. Admittedly, as Winston Churchill said, “If you’re not a liberal when you’re twenty you have no heart and if you’re not a conservative when you’re 40 you have no brain” and because the 20-somethings and 30-somethings are more closely networked and much easier to communicate with than those of us who have supposedly progressed past the heart stage and on into the brain stage, which enabled a dynamic and vigorous Democratic campaign.

The story of Sarah’s childhood and her young adult life provides an understanding of the foundation for her values and perspectives. She was raised with an appreciation for the things in life that really matter: God, country, freedom, family, friends, education and the Earth and her inhabitants. She is fiercely competitive. She has direct experience with unions, politics, hunters, hockey moms, farmers, oil companies, the education system, fishermen, and our economy. She embraces marriage between a man and a woman, parenthood, the right to life and her own personal creationism. For these she makes no apologies.

I kept reading and turning pages until I got to the campaign. Some of this seems illogical to someone unfamiliar with the inner workings of political campaigns and of course, the “so far left they’ve gone round the bend” media played a key role.

Barack Obama insisted his family was off limits and the press honored his demand for privacy. Not the case for Sarah Palin.

On September 1, almost immediately after her August 29 nomination in Dayton, Ohio Bristol’s pregnancy was announced. A staffer brought a response in the form of a press release to her with which she disagreed so she wrote one. Rather than air the one Sarah wrote the campaign headquarters (HQ) one was aired.

On September 17 the Palin family’s emails were hacked and broadcast on the Internet.
Nicolle Wallace (campaign communications) insisted Katie Couric, CBS Evening News, interview Sarah rather than an obvious conservative like Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity on FOX.

Sarah’s campaign team, referred to as the B Team, was managed by Andrew Smith, a man who had worked at the New York Stock Exchange with no political campaign management experience. One has to wonder what favor may have been repaid with that appointment.
A seemingly inexplicable media blackout was imposed during which Sarah sneaked calls to some conservative talk folks like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham and Hannity.

Sarah reveals a strategy of the McCain campaign that could be considered taking the high road, but it was to the detriment of their campaign. “Sit down and shut up” was the directive rather than discussing Barack Obama’s affiliations with “anti-capitalist radicals,” including Bill Ayers and his former pastor Jeremiah Wright despite the fact they were being discussed around the nation.

One of the most bizarre situations was the use of study cards provided by HQ with questions and possible nonanswers on the reverse in preparation for the Biden debate rather than making sure Palin knew McCain’s position on the issues so she could either support them or express her own.

Although the Obama campaign was rife with celebrities, it was the B Team that requested permission to accept celebrity support, which was granted by HQ, garnering the publicity associated with those who had offered their time and energy on behalf of McCain and Palin.

When the $150,000 wardrobe story hit, other than what Sarah was able to say briefly at a rally in Tampa, the campaign did nothing to correct the record. Sarah offers that with Obama significantly ahead in the polls at this time, the campaign staff was gathering information to be used in a blame game after the election.

By late October there was serious strain between the McCain Senior staff and the Palin campaign staff. An October 27 CNN story by Dana Bash entitled “Palin’s off-script comments irk McCain aides” began with the following statement: “Several McCain advisers suggested that they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin “going rogue.” This sparked a heated exchange between Sarah’s campaign manager and Steve Schmidt.

Although Sarah Palin was much more visible than other Vice Presidential candidates in the past and she had one prepared, she was not allowed to deliver her concession speech, which simply may have been a result of miscommunication.

When Governor Palin returned to Alaska the Governor’s office was overwhelmed with hundreds of Governor’s administration office FOIA requests (requiring expenditure of over $2 million of the state’s money), filed mostly by an AP reporter and a disgruntled former state employee who also filed frivolous ethics complaints. She and Todd were faced with personal attorney’s bills that would grow to over $500,000 ($50,000 for having been vetted by the Republican Party).

Her family was split because she agreed to adhere to a newly established rule on family travel, a result of an ethics complaint she settled although she was found to have done nothing wrong. Everything her family did was national news.

Members of her staff had to defend themselves against ethics complaints filed against them in the course of doing their jobs.

When it reached a point where she was no longer effective in her job, her administration was overwhelmed and unable to focus on the business of the state and her family’s reputation was ruined, she resigned in a July 3, 2009 speech from her back yard.

To his credit McCain requested that his presidential campaign staff refrain from commenting on Going Rogue. Most of them honored his request with a couple of notable exceptions: campaign chief Steve Schmidt who dismissed the book as “fiction” and Nicolle Wallace who appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show.

Going Rogue is Sarah’s view of what took place and her perspective on the underlying reasons. It would be interesting to know Andrew Smith’s view and his perspective.