The smug chorus on the left (and the right, in some cases) seem to take comfort in the urban myth that Sarah Palin,the VP candidate, cost Sen. John McCain the 2008 presidential election.
Forget the so-called experts. For those who might still be wondering "who is Sarah Palin?," she is the former governor of Alaska and not the media caricature who nearly pulled the Arizona senator across the finish line in November 2008.
McCain surged ahead in the polls after he named Palin to the ticket, only to be undone by the Wall Street meltdown.
Big Hollywood's Joel B. Pollak presents a fine refutation of the conventional wisdom:
But here’s the truth about the McCain-Palin campaign, which HBO’s upcoming “Game Change” film attempts to shroud in fanciful anti-Palin fiction: Palin carried the campaign. She would have led the Republicans to victory had it not been for the September financial collapse and McCain’s disastrous decision to suspend his campaign so that he could vote for the TARP bailout in Washington...
On the ground in New Hampshire, where I volunteered after classes and on weekends, Palin’s nomination had led to a sudden groundswell of support. Where McCain had struggled to fill an arena, lines outside events featuring Palin seemed miles long. She had awakened and rallied the conservative base.
And then, just as quickly, after the bailout vote, support for the Republican ticket collapsedBy the way, how edgy and bold for Hollywood liberals to be coming out with an apparent Palin-bashing movie on HBO. Pollak adds that a Sarah Palin biography that shows how she helped galvanize the Tea Party movement would instead make a worthy film.
We disagree with Pollak on one point. In the economic emergency, putting the campaign on hold with the possibility of cancelling the debate enabled McCain to control the entire news cycle.
As we wrote back in October 2009 about the aftermath of the bailout...
The debate ultimately went forward on schedule, and there the Senator blew a golden opportunity before an estimated 52.4 million viewers to recapture his lead in the polls. First, he failed to explain to the American public why he suspended his campaign in the first place...His second mistake was pledging on national TV to vote in favor the Paulson bill when it reached the Senate chamber.