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After deciding to pick a woman to try and help McCain close the gender gap with Democratic nominee Barack Obama, the staff searched the Internet for female politicians and elected officials — prominent and obscure — to provide a jolt to McCain’s flagging campaign.
And YouTube is where they found Palin, delivering one of her “moose-hunting soccer mom” speeches. In the offices of Capitol Hill Blue, news of Palin’s selection brought shock and comments like “are you f—ing kidding me?”
McCain strategist Steve Schmidt decided Palin was the game changer he needed. He regrets the decision to this day but rationalizes it by saying “life doesn’t give do-overs.”
The “vetting” process on Palin was so rushed and so incomplete that they didn’t know — until it was too late — that she was dumb as a stump, had scandals galore in her past and would be a loose cannon.
But McCain’s selection of Palin plucked the obscure governor from Alaska — a state long known for political flakes — and turned her into a national phenomenon.
Schmiidt originally defended his choice as one borne out of political necessity. They faced a political pop culture opponent who’s charisma masked his lack of experience or ability so they decided to take a chance on creating their own instant celebrity who would appeal to the unenlightened, shallow political masses.
What they got was disaster, a lightweight who played well for the cameras under controlled conditions but who didn’t know what the Federal Reserve was, who thought the Queen of England served as head of state (she didn’t know England even had a prime minister) and who couldn’t name a single newspaper she read on a regular basis — even though she claimed to read several.
Schmidt’s crass political move left the nation with a boil that remains today on the body politic.
It showcases, more than any action is recent years, the vapidness of the political landscape and the ever-increasing void of leadership in this nation.
Perhaps it is ironic that McCain’s so-called “political professionals” found Sarah Palin on YouTube — a self-serving video web site with the motto: “Broadcast Yourself.”
The video that sold Sarah Palin to the McCain campaign was placed on the video-sharing service by — the envelope please — Sarah Palin.
That video, having served its purpose, disappeared from YouTube years ago.
But the sad legacy she spawned remains.