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Monday, July 06, 2009

Andy Martin on the Sarah Palin brouhaha

Martin says John McCain defeated himself in 2008. Sarah Palin was not and is not to blame for McCain's incompetence as a presidential candidate.
Andy Martin
Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct”


John McCain lost the presidential campaign, not Sarah Palin

Memo to John McCain's anonymous backstabbers: man up

(NEW YORK)(July 8, 2009) One of the last stories in my book, "Obama: The Man Behind the Mask," is a riff on my contact with the Obama and McCain campaigns over a fax number (see pp. 412-413). Obama's people promptly gave me a fax contact. McCain's munchkins were incompetent to manage a fax number. They refused to give one out. That was not a good omen.

Some time in June, 2008 I came to the conclusion that the only way McCain could win was to pick a woman as vice president. It was the natural decision. At the time, Sarah Palin was not on my list. I thought he would go with someone more experienced in national politics. He didn't. He made a bold choice, and that brave decision succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations. But he failed to follow-up and follow-through.

Sarah Palin jump-started and energized more than the Republican "base." She got the electorate to pay attention to a fumbling elderly man who had up to then run a mediocre campaign.

At this point, I stop. Perhaps I am not the right one to be defending Sarah Palin in the wake of her resignation as governor. I am not a particular fan of hers. But perhaps I am a proper person to come to her defense exactly because I am not a wild Palin enthusiast.

Let me blunt: recent Republican efforts to demonize Sarah Palin and to ascribe blame to her for the loss of the McCain-Palin ticket are grossly untrue and unfair.

John McCain lost the presidential election, not Sarah Palin. She did everything that could have been expected of her, and more. He was a worthless candidate, the worst in recent memory.

It is time for McCain to "man up" and tell people he lost the election, not Palin. Using his unhappy campaign workers to stab Palin in the back is wrong.

Yes, Palin was not an expert in national and international affairs. But if McCain was thinking of picking her, why didn't he send a coach up there to Alaska to brief her? Yes, her interviews with national media were weak. But why wasn't she properly briefed by "her staff?"

The senator who created a campaign that couldn’t manage a fax machine (its in my book, yea) became the senator that couldn't really campaign at all. And yet up until the middle of September, McCain was neck and neck with Obama, thanks to the "Palin effect."

Then the senator threw his big hissy fit, suspended his campaign and suggested he would not debate because he had to go to Washington to save the world. Wrong move. He cratered. Obama handled his reaction beautifully. He allowed McCain to self-destruct.

The media themselves documented that there were serious questions about Obama's background and qualifications. I ended up being lashed on Page One by the New York Times as a way of deflecting national concern over Obama's opaque family history. McCain was oblivious. He never raised doubts, even slightly, about Obama's qualifications. The doubts were there; McCain ignored them. Some candidate. He forfeited the election.

McCain demonstrated the competence and subtlety of block of wood, and he deservedly lost. Obama may not have been the better man, but he was indisputably the better candidate. I voted for McCain because I knew what an Obama administration would mean. But it us hard not it look back and realize that John McCain handled the presidency to Barack Obama on a silver platter.

McCain was incapable of assembling a competent campaign staff, although he had two bites of the apple (we often forget his humiliating 2007 campaign collapse, after McCain wasted tens of millions of dollars).

Now in 2009 McCain's losers want to blame Palin. No thank you. I place the blame where the blame is due. If McCain had run a minimally competent campaign for the presidency, and prepared for each step of the process in a minimally coherent fashion, he would be sitting in the White House today. He had six months to pick a vice presidential candidate. Any problems with Palin were McCain's, not Palin's.

Back to Sarah.

I unhesitatingly believe that despite her missteps, Palin was a net plus to the campaign.

But her performance since November, 2008 raises troubling questions. And, yes, whatever her future plans, resigning office in the middle of a term is not a good strategy. Unless.

Unless Palin is negotiating a national media gig, say a TV program, and wants to be free to move her personal life to a national platform without the baggage of managing the state of Alaska. If that turns out to be the case (and no one knows as of today) her premature resignation will be long forgotten by 2010 or 2012.

The claim that Palin resigned because she was subjected to frivolous ethics complaints is insulting to the intelligence. By definition, if a claim is baseless or unsubstantiated, defeating such a complaint should not cost "thousands of dollars" as one conservative publication has suggested. I don't for a minute believe such tommyrot.

If Palin has an as-of-yet-undisclosed plan, or is negotiating a deal for a national TV platform, her resignation makes sense. If she had asked me for advice, however, I would have suggested she make the transition from public official to commentator or
entertainer at the same time, without triggering all of the suspicion and paranoia that filled the 4th of July weekend.

People usually announce decisions on a holiday weekend when they have something to hide (that tactic is a favorite Obama maneuver). By acting as she did when she did, Palin left the impression she had something to hide.

Finally, Palin should have learned one thing from John McCain. The public can accept the occasional lapse or quirky behavior from a national politician. We're all human, and we all make mistakes. But an approach to media and communication that constantly involves herky-jerky behavior will grow old quickly. Whatever her ultimate goal, Palin handled the 4th of July weekend poorly.

Nevertheless, the effort to blame Palin for McCain's loss is unmanly. McCain should publicly apologize to Palin for the abusive behavior of McCain's anonymous backstabbers. McCain's incompetence as a candidate was there for everyone to see. It was so obvious, so early that his deficient campaign management was included in my book, published in July, 2008, and should have come as no surprise to anyone. If anything, McCain's campaign jokers misused and abused Palin, not vice versa.

I don’t agree with Sarah Palin on many issues, but I wish her the best as she goes forward. As for McCain, his incompetence stuck us with Barack Obama and Obama's left-wing posse in control of our nation.

What do you say to McCain? Maybe that John McCain is the one who owes us a continuing apology, not Sarah Palin.

Readers of Obama: The Man Behind The Mask, say the book is still the only gold standard and practical handbook on Barack Obama's unfitness for the presidency. Buy it.
Book orders: or Immediate shipment from or signed copies (delayed for signing) from the publisher are available.
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Andy Martin is a legendary Chicago muckraker, author, Internet columnist, radio talk show host, broadcaster and media critic. He has over forty years of broadcasting background in radio and television and is the dean of Illinois media and communications. He is currently promoting his best-selling book, Obama: The Man Behind The Mask and producing the new Internet movie “Obama: The Hawai’i years.” Andy is the Executive Editor and publisher of

Martin comments on regional, national and world events with more than four decades of experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law and is a former adjunct professor of law at the City University of New York. He is an announced candidate for Barack Obama’s former U. S. Senate seat.


His columns are also posted at;
[NOTE: We frequently correct typographical errors and additions/subtractions on our blogs, where you can find the latest edition of this release.]

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