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Posted by on Sep 17, 2008 in Media, Politics | 6 comments

GOP And Palin: Lawyering Up And Media Clampdown


Lawyers and media control are now swirling around Republican Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, the Associated Press reports:

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is effectively turning over questions about her record as Alaska’s governor to John McCain’s political campaign, part of an ambitious Republican strategy to limit any embarrassing disclosures and carefully shape her image for voters in the rest of the country.

Republican efforts include dispatching a former top U.S. terrorism prosecutor from New York, Ed O’Callaghan, to assist Palin’s personal lawyer working to derail or delay a pending ethics investigation in Alaska. The probe, known as “Troopergate,” is examining whether the governor abused her power by trying to remove her former brother-in-law as a state trooper.

This now moves this from Palin versus the Alaska investigation and charges that she is trying to derail it to a new phase where the GOP is now stepping in to delay it.

O’Callaghan is just part of a cadre of high-powered operatives patrolling Alaska as reporters and Democrats scrutinize every detail of Palin’s tenure in government, plus her family and friends. One strategy: Carefully coordinate any information that’s released. The McCain campaign is demanding that it becomes the de facto source for answers about the operations of Alaska’s government during the past 20 months.

Palin’s normal press secretary, for example, now turns away inquiries from any reporter who isn’t permanently based in Alaska, referring questions to the presidential campaign. Trouble is, some of McCain operatives only recently have arrived in Alaska and struggle to explain Palin’s positions on arcane state issues.

When a reporter for The Associated Press asked the state’s Department of Health and Social Services about lawsuits involving state health policies, he was directed to call Meg Stapleton, a former spokeswoman for Palin now working for McCain.

What you’re seeing is a shift. Once something is done and has become the norm, that’s the new standard. So in the future if any candidate — Republican or Democrat – seeks to delay or derail a local problem and refuses to directly answer questions to the press, it will be our new campaign norm. Been there/done that/it’s OK. You can tell we’re in a new era because (a) it is happening and (b) it is working.

Cartoon by Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

UPDATE: Palin is not loved by everyone on the right…

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  • Marlowecan

    Joe’s link is very interesting . . . and shows something unnoticed in this insane Palinmania: lots of conservatives do not like Palin.

    Conservatives historically like long resumes and lots of experience. We also despise tokenism (cf. Ferraro in 1984) and endless whining about grievances.

    Bizarrely, the Palin pick — while clearly good politics — has thrown the world upside down . . . so the GOP is now flinging smears and accusations of sexism around, and defending lack of any experience.

    Democrats, God bless their lack of political acumen, have never noticed or much cared about this basic divide on the Right. They so focused on Palin’s family, her Down’s Syndrome baby, her tanning bed . . . that they forgot the potential to drive a devastating wedge among conservatives.

    Do Democrats know or care that a great many conservatives — cf. Secretary Rice’s interesting reluctance to support Palin as qualified in foreign policy — are very uneasy about Palin’s lack of experience? Nope.

    Tanning beds . . . troopergate . . . that is the way to go.
    “Wedge issues?” Never heard of such a thing.

  • RevDave

    She is the perfect running mate for McCain and has proven to be a very fast learner – within just a couple of days she was LYING as much as McCain.

  • You can also add American Conservative magazine’s blogger Daniel Larison to the list of conservatives that aren’t Palin fans.

  • The other sad point Joe makes is how quickly something like this could go from unthinkable to the new norm. I mean, this should never in a million years been anything but the end of any candidate’s campaign. “Not only will we not do interviews, but any questions you have about anything to do with Alaska or anything to do with the candidate must be first screened through McCain’s team.”

    What? Oh, and “We won’t be cooperating with the investigation we already said we would be happy to cooperate with.”

    At that point, I would think these things would be the only stories on page one and the evening news and the election would end. The fact that they may get away with it is not just possible, but a sad statement on how far we’ve come. (Downhill)

  • DLS

    Whether you like it or not, or you understand or accept it or not (I was surprised as much as anybody), Palin appeals to many and the media are predictable liberal goons, and the “control” of them is perfectly in order (actually, much worse is what they deserve).

  • RevDave

    Poor DLS – the vaunted Palin appeal seems to be slipping rapidly, at least we can blame the predictable liberal media goons and fantasize about what we can do to them.

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