Opinion

Journolist’s anti-Palin crusade of 2008

As The Daily Caller’s coverage of the now-defunct liberal listserv Journolist’s 2008 Obamamania campaign grew more intriguing each day this week, a slew of emails hit my inbox asking variations of this: “So, when do you think the P-bomb’s going to drop?”

Of course, they were referring to the fact that there was no way in heck Sarah Palin could’ve steered clear of scathing remarks. I responded with, “My guess is it’s on its way.” And whad’ya know? Yesterday’s headline read: “Liberal journalists swapped their best lines of attack for coordinated ‘non-official campaign’ against Palin selection.”

Jonathan Strong’s assessment that the tone of the brainstorming among Journolisters “was more campaign headquarters than newsroom” was right on the money. He chronicled how the Obama camp – I mean, journalists – were in a frenzy to come up with ways to discredit Palin and drag down her appeal. So, they set out to counterbalance what they feared – that “Her decision to keep the Down’s baby is going to be a hugely emotional story that appeals to a vast swath of America” and that “Sarah Palin’s just been introduced to the country as a brave, above-party, oil-company-bashing, pork-hating maverick ‘outsider.’”

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Jonathan Stein of Mother Jones was savvy enough to realize that the “inexperienced” argument wouldn’t fly, recognizing that a likely comeback would involve a critique of then-Senator Obama’s inexperience. (I knew it was hoping for too much that someone would’ve had enough smarts to point out that Palin’s holding of two former executive positions would qualify as experience for a third.)

I was amused beyond measure to see Daniel Levy’s suggestion that “the non-official campaign . . . scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia [sic] wing-nut a heartbeat away …… bang away at McCain’s age making this unusually significant . . . ”

Hmmm. I wonder how many of the Journolisters listened to Levy. Let’s take a peek at what some former Journolist members had to say about Palin in 2008:

Ezra Klein wrote this in August 2008:

“The simple reality of his campaign is that, for reasons of message and age, his vice-presidential pick matters more than most.” He added, “And it is not unimaginable that there could come a time in his presidency when his understudy must sorrowfully step forward.” He later wrote, “She has no foreign policy experience. She has no experience making national policy.”

Matthew Yglesias wrote this in September 2008:

“Another supposed example of McCain’s independent streak is his decision to anoint the obscure and obviously unqualified Gov. Sarah Palin as his party’s vice presidential nominee.” He later added, “Never mind that she’s been governor for just 18 months of a state with a smaller population than Austin, Texas, or Jefferson County, Ky. . . . ”

Katha Pollitt wrote this on September 29, 2008:

“There is just no way Sarah Palin is equipped to be vice-president, much less president. She doesn’t know enough; she lacks the necessary grasp of, and curiosity about, our complex world; her political philosophy could fit on a bumper sticker: Us versus Them.”

She later wrote, “Palin’s only qualification for the second or, God forbid, the first job in the land is that John McCain thought she’d lend his sagging campaign a shot of estrogen and some right-wing Christian fairy dust.”