The 110th United States Congress took place between 03 January 2007 and 03 January 2009, the last two years of the George W. Bush Presidency. There are some interesting and historical demographics about this particular congress. For instance, it was the first time since 1995 that the Democratic Party controlled both chambers (Senate and House of Representatives) and Nancy Pelosi was the very first female Speaker of the House. Also a first in the house were Buddhist and Muslim Representatives.
For benefit of my Australian readers, the Senate is comprised of two Senators per state, making an even 100 senators. The number of representatives in the house varies and is much larger as it is determined by the number of citizens living in each state, (where x number of citizens are represented by one delegate) and is based on percentages of the [last taken] census. Together, the two ‘houses’ comprise the legislative body for the two year period.
During their two years of legislation, this particular Senate and House passed 11,081 bills. It would be fair to assume, in light of the incredible number of discussions which must surely have taken place in order to reach agreement 11,081 times in two years, to speculate on the number of opportunites those 100 senators had to meet each other face-to-face, chat over coffee, share meals or cocktails. During those encounters, it would also be fair to speculate that those 100 senators, in small groups would feel free to tell a few jokes, swap anecdotes about their travels in and out of Washington D.C. and… talk shop.
How perfecty normal it would be for one senator to share a humourous encounter (back home) with another senator from another state. Senior Senators would be drawn to other Senior Senators and not be out of line commiserating about having to train up the newly elected, wet-behind-the-ears Junior Senators, or even the trials and tribulations of working under a newly elected, wet-behind-the-ears governor.
- Alabama, Richard Shelby R, in office since 1987
- Alabama, Jeff Sessions R, in office since 1997
- Alaska, Ted Stevens R, in office since 1968
- Alaska, Lisa Murkowski R, in office since 2002
- Arizona, John McCain R, in office since 1987
- Arizona, John Kyl R, in office since 1995
I’m going to take a leap of faith here and just say right out loud, I believe Senators John McCain and Ted Stevens met each other sometime during their shared twenty (20) years in the Senate. Correct me if I’m wrong, but my recollection of high school civics, coupled with old black and white photos of the senate in session in semi-circular seating, with placetags on the tables lends me to believe that at some point these particular Senators might have even sat together in their alphabetically assigned seating for taking roll and voting. (I will apologize for and correct this point should I be wrong, however.)
Ted Stevens and John McCain had to have known each other. During their shared twenty years of service, and surely with all the two men had in common, they would have migrated toward each other, shared a meal, or a beer. Maybe not taken a fishing trip, but even a chance meeting in the men’s room proffers opportunity for comment among peers. And during those planned or chance meetings, they certainly didn’t rudely ignore each other.
So consider the timing. Sarah campaigned for governor in 2006. Her opponent was a good old boy doing business as usual. Her entire campaign was predicated on ridding the Alaska government of good old boys doing business as usual. Ted Stevens was a good old boy. I’m betting he did business as usual with all the other good old boys in Alaska and Washington D.C. When his senatorial duties took him back east that would have paired him with another good old boy, Senator John McCain. (I would also speculate that neither of these good old boys liked having their cushy, profitable business as usual style of politics being pulled into the spotlight by a broad small-time-town wannabe politician with whale-snot sawdust for brains.)
But fate intervened. When Sarah Palin de-throned her politically seasoned opponent, Frank Murkowski, and Ted Stevens got busy doing photo-ops with the new, wet-behind-the-ears governor, she had to have been the object of at least one conversation between the two senior senators. She was a beautiful woman. Men talk about beautiful women. She got between Stevens and his backroom deals with the boys from oil. Men talk about beautiful women especially when they get between them and their cash cows business dealings.
So why does John McCain continue to feign ignorance when asked how Sarah Palin was selected to be his running mate in 2008 and without benefit of proper vetting? Why does he claim to have never heard of her before his staff brought him her name? She was linked to his short list as early as February 2008. I don’t profess to know the facts surrounding this mystery. But I can tell you my theory.
Conspiracy Theory # 46j
When Sarah Palin was voted in as governor to Alaska back in 2006, she was probably more of an amusement than annoyance to the seasoned politicians she suddenly hovered above. But as the year progressed it became apparent to everyone, Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike that the good governor had not a clue how to do her job, nor was she the slightest bit interested in learning. Ethics violations complaints began to trickle in from concerned citizens addressing a number of issues. She was absent from legislative duties so often there were bumper stickers and buttons made decrying “Where’s Sarah?” and “Sarah, the job’s in Juneau!” She was the face of government reform, but not any part of the actual system itself. She was incredibly effective at rallying her church group. She was a groupie magnet.
But she was getting in the way. Sen. Stevens commented to Sen. McCain one day in the fall session that Sarah, though awfully easy on the eye, was becoming problematic. The other Alaska legislators were coming to him for help and he had none to give. She was their governor. That was that. Too bad there wasn’t something else she could run for, or take up. He’d hoped planting the seed of being a Washington lobbyist in her lap would have kept her busier, but she never stayed in the lower 48 long enough to suit anyone. They’d begun putting speaking opportunities in her lap but she wasn’t taking enough of them.
Sen. McCain said he sympathised and would keep an ear out for a solution.
When John McCain won the Republican Florida primary on 29 January 2008, he knew he was home free. Looking at the candidates for Democratic nomination, the only person who stood out to him was Hillary Clinton. But he’d been formulating a plan that was so guaranteed to smash Sen. Clinton in any election, he was almost hoping she would be the one he’d run against. But for now, for his plan to work, he had to remain quiet. The next time he chatted with Sen. Stevens he would drop a couple of bread crumbs for the Alaskan Senator to follow. Turned out he took directions well.
Less than ten days later it was announced (or leaked) that Sarah Palin, the hottie governor from Alaska, could possibly be named to McCain’s short list. Some pundits were saying “Sarah who?” while others just looked at her photos and drank the kool-aid. No one really paid attention because everyone knew it was just a political opportunity to slap Hillary around, to make her look older than her years.
Politicians don’t play fair.
But Hillary doesn’t win the Democratic nomination. Barack Obama does. Now it’s McCain who looks like the doddering old fool compared to young Barack who still plays basketball without sweating and dives into the Maoi surf like a bronzed God on loan from Mt. Olympus. To compound McCain’s misfortune, the cameras love the svelte Barack.
McCain has another chat with Stevens, who assures him that if he dangles the Vice Presidency under Palin’s nose, she will be the political pitbull he needs to rile up the Republican base and toss lies into the crowds with cool aplomb. The crowds will eat her up. She will put youth and energy into his campaign. She just can’t actually serve as V.P.
McCain wasn’t worried about the endgame. Sarah had enough skeletons in her closet to keep her from ever setting foot in The White House. The trick for him was in knowing when to open that closet door, and exactly how wide. Sarah would be used and used and then used up when it suited his political needs.
From January 2008, until just before he announced his VP pick the following August, McCain carefully allowed all the pundits to think he was choosing Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman as his running mate. Three things prevented him from releasing his real decision too early.
First, he needed the element of surprise to be the driving force in getting people to accept his choice without too many questions. The Christian-right that make up the Republican base would hear her talk about old-fashioned family values, see her beautiful smile on stage with her husband and children in tow, and melt in the Senator’s arms out of sheer gratitude for delivering her to them. Then, after a few carefully planned speeches, she’d begin to win over the Hillary supporters. For the rest, he’d adopt a simple soundbite reply. Something like “I’m just so proud of Sarah.”
Second, she couldn’t be vetted. What he already knew about her real life would not stand up to a vetting process, and if people knew he knew, he risked ridicule. Sarah’s history, for the next few months at least, was not to be publicized.
Three, Sarah had to be someone else’s idea. Someone else needed to bring her name and face to him, not the other way around.There would be the day when he would need to get her off his back politically, and when that day arrived, he needed to be able to distance himself from the fallout. To retain his credibility, he would need to say he’d honestly had no idea what her background held. He had to retain an aura of innocence when the Shit that is Sarah hit the proverbial fan.
Less than a week before his V.P. announcement was imminent, predictably, his choice of Sen. Lieberman made it’s public kerfuffle. Now he could gracefully renig on his offer to Joe and set the next phase of his plan into motion. He called a meeting with his senior staff and put it to them that they had three days to find a new candidate. He wanted a woman. A right-wing woman. Preferably someone young, energetic and spunky enough to upstage Hillary, and gutsy enough to debunk Sen. Obama’s clean-living image.
Enter Sarah, stage right.
Sen, John McCain didn’t tell his aides to go look at Sarah Palin. He didn’t need to. He describd her to them in detail. Just like entering search criteria in Google. i’ve not got the exact qote at my fingertips, but one of the authors of Game Change, on the 60 minutes interview said something like:
We only had 3 days. The senator told us what to look for. He wanted a woman. young though, and maybe with governor’s experience. She had to appeal to the Christian right, be family oriented…
female, governor, young, family-oriented, good-looking.
Gosh, I wonder how many hits that got back in the summer of 2008. McCain never heard of Sarah before August 2008? Bullpucky.
When Sarah’s book came out this past year and so many lies were aimed at Sen. McCain’s staff, he had to make a lot of phone calls to keep his staffers from launching a retaliatory attack. I’m guessing he told them all to be patient, that their day of vindication would be coming, but that he needs to save exposing the really big lies until 2012, to guarantee she could never be a Presidential candidate. If she’s exposed now, too many of her supporters would just rally behind her even more intensely. She’d have time to regroup.This way, she has an opportunity (with Fox) to hang herself on international television because there’s no way, given her record, and her history of histrionics, that she has a chance in Hell of comporting herself with any more dignity or honesty than she’s ever been able to in the past.
So one lone senior staffer was allowed to go on 60 Minutes and air a bit of dirty laundry to soothe the masses. Which timed in perfectly with the launch of the reporter’s joined authorship of Game Change, an account of what they knew to be true about the McCain-Palin campaign of 2008. And now, Sen. John McCain just has to hold onto his claim of ‘not knowing how she was vetted and don’t care’ long enough to get his name on the 2012 ticket. Then, when the news finally does erupt, he can appear as shocked and disappointed as the rest of the country for having been tricked into believing her lies.
Fox News hiring Sarah as their new Fox News Bunny was a smart move. If she cleans up her act, does her homework and takes the job as news pundit seriously, they get a commentator with excellent audience appeal and their ratings sky rocket. If she can’t take direction from the senior commentators and starts pitching fits anywhere in the vicinity of a camera, they play the clips and their ratings sky rocket. If her acute paranoia causes her to blather incoherently during filming, drooling and eventually having a complete meltdown, it will be caught on camera, replayed during prime time and their ratings sky rocket.
See Sarah it’s not just TV anymore. It’s sky rocket science :)
To comment on this post, please scroll back to the title Forget Sarah – Someone Needs To Out John McCain and click the word comment just beneath. Thanks, OzMud