Obama and the bloggers who want influence AND power…

Even the news that Sarah Palin’s unmarried daughter is pregnant cannot cover up the fairly hideous speculation that has been rife in the liberal blogosphere that the Vice Presidetnail candidate had faked a pregnancy and pretended to have given birth in May to her fifth child, a son named Trig who has Down syndrome. The rumor was that Trig was actually Bristol Palin’s child and that Sarah Palin was the grandmother. It’s a rumour that began and ended with Daily Kos. Over at Brassneck I’ve argued that the political influence wielded by such big blogs, may be acting as a political drag on Obama, even as their netroots generated money is helping to even up the score.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Greenflag

    It appears that the Palin Soap Opera is helping to hide the issue i.e John McCain’s non due diligence vetting of Palin for VP . Joe Lieberman was favoured by McCain but his GOP aide said the convention would not tolerate Lieberman for VP and would ‘blow up’ in McCain’s face . Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania was approached but did’nt want it .

    And thus McCain ‘ran’ to Palin who had’nt a clue she was being seriously considered until a couple of days before the announcement .

    The ‘straight talking ‘No Surrender ‘ bus has just lost it’s front wheel and the sound of air hissing from the back tires is audible .

  • There were issues for the religiously ambiguous McCain in selecting Romney as a VP candidate given the reaction of many evangelicals towards Mormons, but why didn’t he go for Pawlenty, a safe pair of hands who helps in a Democratic swing state? Did Pawlenty turn it down or did McCain feel the election was getting beyond his grip so he needed a long – and risky – pick?

  • frustrated democrat


    Any links or credible substantiation re 5:27?

  • frustrated democrat


  • Greenflag @ 05:27 PM:

    Fair enough, and I’m not picking too many faults there. One small fly in the mozzie-cream (and, good grief, you need it in an Alaskan “summer”) has been the persistence of a web-site, “Draft Sarah Palin for Vice President”.

    This has been running since 26 February 2007: just 84 days after she became Governor. Although it was the work of a “college student” at Colorado, Adam Brickley, it immediately struck me as a assured and professional effort.

    Brickley’s original “profile for the perfect VP candidate”, then working on the assumption that Giuliani was the most likely Republican to head the ticket, read:

    1) A energetic, young, fresh face who will energize the electorate
    2) Not connected to the current administration
    3) Pro-Life
    4) Pro-Gun
    5) A woman or minority to counter Hillary or Obama and put to rest the idea that America only elects white males

    By the look of it, young Master Brickley deserves considerable kudos. Respec’

  • sarah palin will cost mc cain the presidencey. the old man picked someone who he met only a few times.

    sarah palin has a teenage daughter up the duff. she eats moose-burgers, she obtained her first ever passport this year and she thinks global warming was not caused by humans.

    god help us all IF that woman ever gets inside the door of the white house.

  • Greenflag

    Frustrated Democrat

    from http://www.msnbc.com

    Not sure wheter you see them as credible but

    A rushed pick?

    Up until midweek last week, some 48 to 72 hours before Mr. McCain introduced Ms. Palin at a Friday rally in Dayton, Ohio, Mr. McCain was still holding out the hope that he could name as his running mate a good friend, Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut, a Republican close to the campaign said. Mr. McCain had also been interested in another favorite, former Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania.

    But both men favor abortion rights, anathema to the Christian conservatives who make up a crucial base of the Republican Party. As word leaked out that Mr. McCain was seriously considering the men, the campaign was bombarded by outrage from influential conservatives who predicted an explosive floor fight at the convention and vowed rejection of Mr. Ridge or Mr. Lieberman by the delegates.

    Perhaps more important, several Republicans said, Mr. McCain was getting advice that if he did not do something to shake up the race, his campaign would be stuck on a potentially losing trajectory.

    With time running out — and as Mr. McCain discarded two safer choices, Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, as too predictable — he turned to Ms. Palin. He had his first face-to-face interview with her on Thursday and offered her the job moments later.

    “They didn’t seriously consider her until four or five days from the time she was picked, before she was asked, maybe the Thursday or Friday before,” said a Republican close to the campaign. “This was really kind of rushed at the end, because John didn’t get what he wanted. He wanted to do Joe or Ridge.”

    Mr. McCain’s advisers said repeatedly on Monday that Ms. Palin was “thoroughly vetted,” a process that would have included a review of all financial and legal records as well as a criminal background check. A McCain aide said that the campaign was well aware of the ethics investigation and that it had looked into it.

    GF comment –

    It looks like Sarah Palin was number 5 or at best number 3 on his list . It also looks like the Republican ‘evangelicals’ have done in McCain’s chance of winning this election -IMO

    In response to questions re Mrs Palin’s experience of the rest of the world outside of her trip to Iraq to visit Alaskan National Guards units an aide said she had been to Germany (visiting wounded troops in hospital) and IRELAND although it’s not yet clear wheter that was just a brief stopover at Shannon ? Does anybody know ?

  • David

    Funny that Palin visited US troops in Kuwait and Germany in 2007 if she only got her first passport “this year” Irish liberal.


    But then, truth never really matters when many so called “liberals” attack US Republicans.

  • Greenflag

    Dave ,

    But then, truth never really matters when US Republicans have abused the trust placed in them by voters and have instead, sent of thousands young americans to die for ‘oil’ and have pursued economic and social policies that have resulted in 3 million americans behind bars as well emisserating a huge number of the middle and working class Americans .

    This hiring of Sarah Palin as VP has all the classic earmarks of how the Bush administration operated and looks very much like all the Bush appointments that were based on blind obedience and religion. Remember “your doing a good job Brownie” and Paul Bremer – appointed to administer Iraq. Bremer ordered the disbanding of the Iraqi military, after everyone told him it would create a Sunni revolt. Well, 4000 American lives later’

    But here’s a crumb of comfort just for you Dave 🙂 American liberals will not defeat McCain/Palin in November . Americans with common sense will and probably by a landslide once the truth of Mr McCain’s putting Country First in his choice of VP becomes widely known .

  • Greenflag @ 07:51 PM:

    Your msnbc.com qotation (which I had not seen) is largely in sympathy with what so many other US commentators are saying:

    Elisabeth Bumiller at the New York Times: Palin Disclosures Raise Questions on Vetting Process. In passing, Busmiller rubbishes a direct statement from McCain that Mrs Palin had been FBI vetted: the FBI responded they did not vet, and knew nothing of the appointment before the public announcement.

    Michael D. Shear and Karl Vick in the Washington Post, however, take their line from a briefing by a McCain “senior campaign aide”: No Surprises From Palin, McCain Team Says. This says that the “due diligence” amounted to “a three-hour interview with the head of [McCain’s] vice presidential search team” and a 70-question form. However, it also includes the claim of an FBI vetting (for which see above).

    Peter Wallsten, Los Angeles Times, does an op-ed piece under the title With Palin revelations, McCain’s gamble is clearer. This includes a statement:

    On Monday, the McCain campaign dispatched lawyers to Alaska in a move described as an attempt to manage a growing crowd of journalists who have traveled there to inspect Palin’s background. But the move raises the impression that the McCain campaign didn’t know everything about his No. 2 and is now racing to learn what it can while trying to avoid tough questions about the Arizona senator’s decision-making process.

    As I read the Washington Post piece, that is specifically denied there by the McCain team.

    My own view is that the most damaging commentary is also the least cutting: that by Martha T. Moore, in USA Today:Bristol Palin’s pregnancy raises issues of privacy, judgmentVisit Our Site. That is the most likely publication to reach “middle America. Moore starts:

    Delegates to the Republican National Convention, as well as Democrat Barack Obama, reacted sympathetically Monday to the disclosure that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s unmarried teenaged daughter is pregnant. But others said the revelation raised questions about John McCain’s judgment.

    That chimes with what is coming from the likes of David Frum, who was interviewed by Jon Snow for tonight’s Channel 4 News.

    Frum is a conservative and former Bush speech-writer and “insider”. His regular pulpit is at the National Review. He has consistently been, even before the weekend’s shenanigans saying that the problem is not with Palin but with McCain: it all comes back to the top man’s judgement. He, too, implies serious problems of scrutiny. He, too, is cited by the LA Times piece. Back last Friday, at the National Post (Frum is a Canadian by orignin), he was fulminating: Palin the irresponsible choice? Most of his reasoning is now well-trodden, but his conclusion stands thought:

    So this is the future of the Republican party you are looking at: a future in which national security has bumped down the list of priorities behind abortion politics, gender politics, and energy politics. Ms. Palin is a bold pick, and probably a shrewd one. It’s not nearly so clear that she is a responsible pick, or a wise one.

    If the conservatives are turning on McCain/Palin, that is serious.

  • Greenflag @ 07:51 PM:

    The consensus is that Mrs Palin’s foreign experience amounts to a 48 hour tour of duty in Kuwait, visiting US troops in troops and that rapidly-becoming-famous visit to Ireland. This, it now transpires was a quick trot round the duty-free shopping area while “in-transit”at Shannon.

    My guess is there’s nothing in that preceding paragraph to surprise a single Slugger reader.

    But, pause and reflect.

    If she never left “airside”, did she reach Irish soil? If she stayed “airside”, and still claims to have been “in Ireland”, how should we regard those rendition flights?

    Am I mistaken here?

  • Correction to above: “visiting US troops in Germany

    Sorry: not my best efforts lately. I’ll take more water with it.

  • Greenflag

    Malcolm Redfellow ,

    ‘Am I mistaken here? ‘

    Sounds like a political aide of Mrs Palin decided that a duty free shopping tour at a Shannon stop over adds to Mrs Palin’s gravitas in affairs foreign 🙁

    To add to this rapidly developing political soap opera Mrs Palin is now described as an ex Catholic who turned to the tongue babblers for spiritual guidance following her loss of faith in the RC brand . I could understand turning Epicopalian , or Presbyterian or Methodist or even full blown atheist or Jewish if that were feasible but to the tongue babblers ? The thought that someday somebody who babbles in tongues could have a finger twitching near a red button which could unleash a rapturous armageddon is not going to do help with getting a restful night’s sleep .

    What looked initially like a smart ‘political ‘ move is now looking like anything but . I guess Senator McCain could not afford to see the convention blow up in his face by choosing Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge . So he now faces a slower expiration as the media pack swarm down on Alaska in search of ever more juicy ‘titbits ‘ to grace the pages of the National Enquirer etc etc etc 🙁

  • willis

    Needless to say HuffPo is hugely enjoyable tonight.

    Loved this comment from TerryFL in the Shannon Stopover thread.


    “To land in Ireland and not get off the plane shows a supreme lack of judgment.”

    It also looks like the Dems have found their Jeremiah Wright.


    During the 2004 election season, he praised President Bush’s performance during a debate with Sen. John Kerry, then offered a not-so-subtle message about his personal candidate preferences. “I’m not going tell you who to vote for, but if you vote for this particular person, I question your salvation. I’m sorry.”

  • Two further Governor Palin-pieces which I have just hit on (in view of my earlier cock-ups, I’ll give the links in full):


    I’m not a great fan of Time: it always strikes me as the natural partner to Reader’s Digest in the dentist’s waiting room. This piece has some nice detail. It reveals to us Mayor Sarah Palin, book-burner. It also goes some way to explain the lack of enthusiasm from Palin’s husband’s step-mother. (This is a very complicated family.)

    Then there’s a short colour piece just up by Jack Shafer (note: not the Shane guy, sadly, but readably):



    The Democrats got away with it in Denver, but luck has shone on the news beasts in St. Paul. Even if an asteroid were to blot out New Orleans today, a giant squid were to topple the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow, and fire ants were to kill every human on Fire Island by the end of Thursday, the biggest story of the week would still be McCain’s cockeyed selection of Palin.

    I’m a lot more squeamish about the feministas sharpening their claws. The HufPo lot are off on another blood-sport (which brings us back to where this thread began). This time it’s all about the age of consent in Alaska; and whether statutory rape could be involved. They’re about to get their answer: the father of the child is outed; and is required to turn up for public scrutiny at the St Paul Convention (and, for heaven’s sake, that’s from AP to forbes.com!)

    Enough, already!

  • latcheeco

    Its turning in to a “passyshootyin” (I hope they still have those). I said Friday night McCain had thrown a hail mary and its now been intercepted. Greenflad,
    Ridge probably wanted it but was for the right to choose. Same reason Romney didn’t get it after his stint in Mass..

  • latcheeco

    This week gives a new meaning to perfect storm for Obama. Convention knocked for six and the only woman we may be watching Thursday is called Hanna.

  • Dewi

    From Mick Fealty

    “McCain has exposed a huge weakness in the Democrats. By picking a small town woman with traditional (ex Catholic) values and a family that is experiencing normal behaviours, he has made them look like bigots and himself and Palin like new liberals. Using your opponent’s bodyweight to floor them is a neat trick when the Reps trail the Dems by 10%.”

    I think we’d better file that in a very safe place….

  • latcheeco on Sep 02, 2008 @ 11:02 PM:

    Nice. Le mot juste.

    That said, queuing up behind “the vamp of Savannah” is “Ike”. He’s due on Sunday, isn’t he? Anniversary of Grace Darling rescuing the crew of the Forfarshire, the start of the London blitz, and Italian surrender (and switching sides) in WW2.

    I’m trying to see a Presidential analogy there.

  • latcheeco

    Malcolm would the start of Market Garden not be more applicable: “A Road to nowhere too far” (I’ll get my coat)

  • I said Friday night McCain had thrown a hail mary and its now been intercepted.

    …and Obamas happy troupe of media cornerbacks will run it all the way back to the opposing endzone.

    I ask my original question again… what was wrong with Pawlenty, the obvious safe pair of hands, unless McCain thought he has cruising towards a respectable defeat and thought he needed to go long for a chance of a sneaker victory?

  • And the reason why Kos and his friends (and his enemies in places like redstate) actually perform a public service:


  • latcheeco

    Sammy to state the obvious if he gets away with it he’s a genius if not he’s a moron. I thought they were doing ok and had no need to do anything too drastic but even some republicans I’ve talked to are scratching their heads now?

  • Greenflag

    ‘I ask my original question again… what was wrong with Pawlenty, the obvious safe pair of hands’

    Not a lot or ‘plenty ‘ if you follow the pun . I read that he’s a nice chap who have been ‘eaten alive ‘ and no match for his opposite number Joe Biden in debate . Joe will of course have to bite his choppers when dealing with Mrs Palin . He’ll leave it to the media and blogosphere to ‘drag’ her under no doubt .

  • Greenflag


    ‘I think we’d better file that in a very safe place’

    LOL – No sign of the flashman or dave etc etc . M

    ‘Where have all the palinistas gone -gone long time passing .
    Where have all the palinistas gone long time ago’
    Gone to listening every one
    Joe may save us everyone
    Lieberman is our man
    Lieberman is our man ‘

    Not even ‘treacherous Joe ‘ can save this show.

  • Mick Fealty


    Please do. I, by no means, claim infallibility in these matters. I am working on something just now.

  • Mick Fealty

    That Troopergate affair doesn’t look like it’s coming to an early conclusion. Palin’s lawyer:

    “Our concern is that Hollis French turns into Ken Starr and uses public money to pursue a political vendetta rather than truly pursue an honest inquiry into an alleged ethics issue.”

  • Greenflag

    And just to confirm Gambler McCains dice throwing
    selection process there are now odds to be had on the deselection process as this report from cnn shows .

    NEW YORK (Fortune) — Now the Democrats aren’t the only ones who can try to capitalize on the negative buzz growing around Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the prospective Republican VP candidate.

    Intrade, an online prediction market based in Dublin, created a contract Tuesday morning on the likelihood that John McCain will drop Palin as his running mate. After opening at a probability of just 3%, the odds on Palin being cut from the ticket climbed to 18% around 9 a.m. and have since settled at around 12%.

    Intrade is a place for betting enthusiasts to turn a small profit on everything from the latest auction of works by controversial British artist Damien Hirst to Britney Spears’ chances of landing in rehab. Contracts on a possible future event are bought and sold by users of the site, like a stock on the NYSE.

    Chad Rigetti, Intrade’s VP of Business Development, says traders on the site asked Intrade to create the newest market after stories about Palin, including her teenage daughter’s pregnancy and her involvement in a group that did corporate fundraising for controversial Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, flooded the news. The pool has been open for less than twelve hours, but has already attracted more than 950 trades.

  • Mick Fealty

    You have a real talent for futuring the GF… 950 trades, and all of them driven by the speculation that a possibility will harden into a reality. I’m not saying it won’t happen, but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it, and not try to do it beforehand.

  • Harry Flashman

    I come back to this thread after a day or so and see that not a single poster was able to explain the media double standards. Why was babaygate jumped on instantly and splashed across prime time and the front pages, when Edwards’ true baby rumour was ignored?

    I’m not saying that the Obama birth cert story is true (although it’s decidedly odd that the official website of the campaign should use an obvious forgery) what I am asking is why was it ignored but the crazy internet rumour concerning the baby swap got massive coverage?

    It’s not a complicated question and the lack of an answer can only lead me to conclude that it was due to obvious media bias.

    Anyway it doesn’t matter La Belle Sarah just blew ’em out of the water, she’s a winner and no doubt.

  • Mick Fealty


    It pays not to let yourself get too paranoid about these things. We know liberal bias exists. But I doubt that is the top and bottom of the matter.

    Check out my latest blog on Mickey Kaus’s latest thoughts. He suggests that the Edwards story was the key. He (a democrat) obsessed on the MSM’s blocking of the Edwards story and drove it until it finally broke. His theory is that they simply could not bare to stay out of the conversation this time.

    We’re not quite there yet–the unverified rumors that Palin had faked her pregnancy were printed in the MSM, but the McCain campaign itself gave the MSM implicit permission by saying it was releasing the news of Gov. Palin’s daughters real pregnancy in order to scotch the fake pregnancy speculations of bloggers. And Schmidt’s tormenters were still only checking out rumors, not printing them.

    But the avalanche of questions to which Schmidt is being subjected–and his discomfort–suggests that the MSM is in the process of shifting to a new role, in which it aggressively investigates and discusses rumors rather than waiting for the industrious blogosphere to force its hand.

    They waited with Edwards. They don’t want to go through that again. It helps, of course, that this week’s rumors involve a Republican.

    That and the huge distributed network of bloggers that got to work immediately on mining detail (in TPM’s case they’d already been at work since early August). Again, Kaus claims that all Steve Schmidt had to do was answer some questions. He refused and they went off the leash, printing rumour rather than sticking to the verified facts.

    The problem is that the veil has been lifted on insider gossip. It’s not longer just inside the Beltway. It’s everywhere. Politicians are not simply vulnerable to crafted smear campaigns, but to messy, mass investigations. It looks like the MSM has been busted wide open to that.

  • Harry Flashman @ 09:38 AM:

    The question why “Edwards’ true baby rumour was ignored?” is balderdash.

    It wasn’t. It was repeatedly splashed by the conservative and ultra-Republican websites. It has eight-and-a-half million “hits” on Google. The National Enquirer has pushed it for some long time: if there’s one periodical in every gas-station and supermarket, that’s it.

    Nor do I get the Mick Fealty line about “double standards” as easily. Who was protected when McCain’s foul “joke” about Chelsea Clinton and her mother suppressed by the “respectable” media?

    Too often, one chooses a side, accepts the misinformation one is fed, and turns off the BS-detector, Mk I, at the point of entry. Not a good basis for balanced argument.

  • Mick/Harry,

    dry your eyes and grow up. When did the evil liberal biased media do anything to a Republican resembling Fox’s reference to Michelle Obama as “Obama’s Baby Mama”? Would Barack Obama get away with telling a joke about Libby Dole being Bristol Palin’s father? No, I don’t think so, so less of the whinging please.

  • Mick Fealty


  • Greenflag


    ‘I’m not saying it won’t happen’

    Neither was I 🙂

    ‘ but let’s cross that bridge when we come to it’

    The Republican choice of VP seems to be a case of ‘burning whats left of the bridge before they cross it ‘

    Despite Palin’s ‘speech’ I have no doubt that most Americans will shy away from the hockey mom /beauty queen being a heartbeat away from having a well manicured finger on the ‘red ‘ button .

    It will be the economy that will decide this election and the changing demographics which favour Obama/Biden . Back to Ohio , Pennsylvania , Michigan and Florida to decide the winner ..

  • willis


    Make your mind up. You either care what the pesky liberals say or you don’t. My guess is you don’t because they never seem to change your mind.