Huffington Post 1, Washington Post 0 (maybe)

Carefully vetted? Then why didn’t McCain’s folks look at Palin’s clips file from her hometown newspaper?


While Dan Balz and Robert Barnes just steno the McCain camp’s spin about how carefully they vetted Sarah Palin, Sam Stein reports that when Democratic oppo researchers asked to see the Palin clips in her hometown newspaper’s morgue, they were told that they were the first to have asked.* It’s already on record that McCain’s folks never talked to Walt Monegan, the public safety director Palin fired because he wouldn’t dismiss her ex-brother-in-law as a state trooper.

As to Balz and Barnes: How could they possibly write that story without asking basic questions about Troopergate and the Road to Nowhere and the $20 million in new debt for a town of 6,000 inhabitants?

And if Balz and Barnes were terminally stenographic, McCain and his folks were terminally un-serious. Or, as John Kerry put it:

John McCain has proven that he’s not a maverick: he’s erratic.

* UPDATE AND CORRECTION: A Political Animal commenter points out that there would have been no need to visit the paper to ask for the file; archives are on line.

**CORRECTED CORRECTION** Hilzoy reports that the on-line archive is only partial, with nothing before 1998, and very little from ’98 or ’99 or ’00, though the Palin Mayoralty started in 1996. So while it wasn’t right to say that McCain’s vetting team couldn’t have examined the “morgue” at all, it is right to say that they couldn’t have examined it thoroughly.

*** CORRECTION TO THE THIRD POWER *** But, points out a librarian, the Library of Congress probably has the whole thing on microfilm. I suppose the only recourse now is to Pick Up the Damned Phone and ask the McCain people whether they went through all the clips, and how.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: