Yes, Sarah Palin Was Vetted
It certainly doesn't seem like it, given the stories that have emerged within the past 48-72 hours. But she most certainly was vetted, only not by the McCain campaign. She was vetted by the only group that matters - the super-secretive Council for National Policy.
The CNP deliberately operates below the radar, going to excessive lengths to obscure its activities. According to official CNP policy, "The media should not know when or where we meet or who takes part in our programs before or after a meeting." Thus the CNP's Minneapolis gathering was free of reporters. I only learned of the get-together through an online commentary by one of its attendees, top Dobson/Focus on the Family flack Tom Minnery.
Minnery described the mood as CNP members watched Palin accept her selection as John McCain's Vice Presidential pick. "I was standing in the back of a ballroom filled with largely Republicans who were hoping against hope that something would put excitement back into this campaign," Minnery said. "And I have to tell you, that speech by Alaska Governor Sarah Palin -- people were on their seats applauding, cheering, yelling... That room in Minneapolis watching on the television screen was electrified. I have not seen anything like it in a long time."
Minnery added that his boss, Dobson, has yearned for a conservative female leader like Margaret Thatcher to emerge on the American scene. And while Palin is no Thatcher, "she has not rejected the feminine side of who she is, so for that reason, she will be attractive to conservative voters."
The members of the Council for National Policy are the hidden hand behind McCain's Palin pick. With her selection, the Republican nominee is suddenly -- and unexpectedly -- assured of the support of a movement that once opposed his candidacy with all its might. Case in point: while Dobson once said he could "never" vote for McCain, he issued a statement last week hailing Palin as an "outstanding" choice. If Dobson's enthusiasm for Palin is any indication, he may soon emerge from his bunker in Colorado Springs to endorse McCain, providing the Republican nominee with the grassroots support of the Christian right's single most influential figure.
That's all this was about. Forget the press reports grasping at straws trying to figure out this pick, whether it represents a new reform message or was targeted to exurban voters. This was a wet kiss to the religious right. There was only one group doing the vetting. The theocons were waiting for a signal to start up the phone banks and the ground work and now they have it. They probably would have done so anyway, but this was the tipping point.
And so the fact that Todd Palin has a DUI record is just a sign of temptation followed by redemption. The pregnancy of the Palin's 17 year-old daughter, which should show the failures of abstinence-only education (which the Governor
opposes firmly supports), just shows the importance of coming down on the side of life (UPDATE: Interesting that the McCain campaign felt the need to mention that the kid made her own decision to keep the baby, since McCain and Palin want to take that choice away from all women). The fact that she thinks the Founding Fathers wrote the Pledge of Allegiance means that she believes this is a Judeo-Christian nation. The fact that she's appeared at a secessionist movement meeting in Alaska means simply that she is appalled by the cultural decline of America.
Oh, she was vetted all right. By the religious right. The question is whether or not Palin's extreme, radical philosophy is distasteful to the wide swath of Americans. In a sane world, the support for creationism and questioning of man-made global warming and rejection of birth control would indeed be disqualifying.
...What this also means is that she was totally forced on John McCain, which must call into question his erratic, shoddy judgment, and his ability to carry out anything but the most extreme agenda.