First, we've got all the backstory about McCain's blowups, wherein other Republicans say McCain acted aggressively in inappropriate situations. He roughed up a Sandinista. He screamed "Fuck You" to Senator Cornyn over the immigration battle. In fact, here's a list from the College Conservative Movement of the Top 10 McCain Temper Explosions.
Second, factor in the gambling habit of Senator McCain, a man who has been known to play for 14 hours at a time and for thousands of dollars. Craps is a game where skill plays no part. It is a game of irrationality. You will always lose to the house, and yet he plays compulsively. It is a game that psychologically rewards the double-down, and that is exactly what McCain has done with the choice of Sarah Palin. He doubled-down, and then threw snake-eyes.
McCain himself admits that he is often hasty:
At the very least, the process [to select Palin] reflects Mr. McCain’s history of making fast, instinctive and sometimes risky decisions. “I make them as quickly as I can, quicker than the other fellow, if I can,” Mr. McCain wrote, with his top adviser Mark Salter, in his 2002 book, “Worth the Fighting For.” “Often my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint.”That kind of decision making is acceptable, if not desirable in a Senator. It is flatly unacceptable in a President. Especially so when you add that McCain's will openly joke about starting wars, and finding ways to kill Iranians (whether with Bombs of Cigarettes).
Now we've got the additional data point of his VP pick Palin - by all accounts an unvetted, hasty choice, and one that he was forced to adopt. Going into the day of decision, McCain still had his heart set on Leiberman, but was vetoed by his advisers who told him with certainty that there would be a revolt at the convention if his pick were Pro-Choice. Pawlenty and Romney would be seen as status-quo, safe Republican choices, and McCain felt the need to gamble. He may, in fact, be right. A hail-mary, election-changing vice presidential pick may have been his only chance to win... but I doubt it. He could have gone safe and still won. Now it all rides on his ability to throw the dice with luck - even when the decision is who will lead a war-time America.
It turns out the McCain Camp didn't even search the Wasilla newspaper archives.
He picked her after meeting her twice, one of which was a cell phone "interview," and yet he went on to say she was his "partner and soulmate." Soulmate is laying it on a little thick, don't you think? Does Cindy know? Is he trading up again?
Anonymous people inside his campaign claim she was fully vetted, but Andrew Halcro, an Alaska Republican, says otherwise:
The campaign of John McCain has sent a staff of eight people into Alaska to conduct background checks and vetting on Governor Sarah Palin. Word is they have have eight rooms reserved at a Wasilla hotel.Sending people to vet the VP after you announce the pick. That is being a maverick, alright.
Of course, the campaign has a vested interest in appearing to have fully vetted the pick. Then again, reality may get in the way of that spin:
There clearly was not a real vetting done on Sarah Palin. You get an idea of Obama's vetting when Tim Kaine says that Obama's vetters asked him what his high school girlfriend's middle name was, then came back and told him "She says she was never your girlfriend." It is supposed to be an intensive process, reflecting your - not just a quick googling. This stuff will be trickling out for days.
Phillips has been active in the Ted Stevens re-election steering committee and remains in close touch with Sen. Lisa Murkowski and other party leaders, and she said nobody had heard anything about McCain's people doing research on his prospective running mate.
"We're not a very big state. People I talk to would have heard something."
In fact, before publishing this post, I got another tidbit on the vetting from Josh Marshall:
...George Stephanopoulos appears to have more. George says the McCainers are sending a "rapid response team of about ten operatives that includes lawyers" to do the aforementioned deeper vet. A lot of attention is being given to Gov. Palin's daughter's situation. The much bigger deal is the expanding trooper-gate investigation, the fact that Palin lied in her Friday speech about her purported opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere, her apparent former membership in the secessionist Alaska Independence Party, and more. Individually, you can come to your own judgment about how consequential these stories are. What they show pretty clearly now -- in addition to the news that the McCain campaign is only now sending in a vetting team -- is that John McCain didn't do any serious vetting of Palin before he invited her to join his ticket and, he hopes, become Vice President of the United States.McCain's temperament is just not suited to this job. We can't have a President that thinks he can beat the odds. We need a President that stays cool.