Sarah Palin, perhaps politics' most high-profile vetting escapee, seems to have a strong opinion on the matter of vetting when it comes to people who are not Sarah Palin. Despite documentation that proves Palin was never vetted (as John McCain and others claim), she is waving the red flag, encouraging Rick Perry, Newt Gingrich and others to continue their public "vetting" of Mitt Romney and the cast of Republican presidential hopefuls.
Palin says that criticism of Romney's record as the head of Bain Capital is fair, and that he should provide the public with proof of his claims that he helped to create 100,000 jobs during his time with the firm.
"Sometimes it gets rough and tumble as you try to hold these candidates accountable for what they are claiming," the woman who claimed to have said "thanks, but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere" said in an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox News Channel Wednesday.
The woman who told Alaskans to hold her accountable before she didn't want them to, went on to defend candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry, saying he was simply holding Romney accountable when he called him a "vulture capitalist."
"This isn't about a politician making huge profits in the private sector," best-selling author, Fox News analyst, and new lecture circuit multimillionaire Palin said. "I think what Governor Perry is getting at is that Governor Romney has claimed to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain and people are wanting to know is there proof of that claim?"
Back when Palin was a Republican governor herself, she was far less concerned with the goings on of Republicans on the national scene. When she was elected governor of Alaska in 2006, current Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney, who is now on the receiving end of Palin's wagging finger, was the head of the Republican Governors' Association. Then Republican Governor Sarah Palin wasn't even sure who he was. Internal emails from Palin during that time show her referring to him as "Milt Romney" until she was finally corrected, and confessed:
I argued with [aide] Frank [Bailey] and others, as I insisted his name was MILT, not Mitt.
That's keeping your finger on the pulse of the national party.
Palin said in the Hannity interview that it is better for the Republicans to do the vetting now, since the Obama campaign is only going to do it later if Romney is the nominee.
"They need to vet one another," Palin said of the Republicans hoping to get the nomination. "We're not going to get the lamestream media to help vetting on the other side of the ticket, so we'll vet within our own party and we'll allow that uh... most prepared candidate to rise to the top."
Palin (who is on record as a tax cheat) went on to criticize Romney for not releasing his tax returns. She who authorized the creation of secret email accounts and withheld tens of thousands of state emails from public record, and who refused to release her own medical records during the 2008 campaign, also took Romney to task for not making his records transparent to the public.
The new convert to vetting within her own party received virtually no vetting herself in advance of the 2008 presidential race, as the Republican Vice Presidential nominee. She was first formally notified that she was under serious consideration for the position, and received her first request for basic information about herself, on Sunday, August 24, 2008 -- four days before she was announced as McCain's pick.
Three days later, Palin was flown from Alaska to Flagstaff, Arizona, arriving around 10:00 pm, after which she was interviewed over the phone by Arthur B. Culvahouse, Jr., who ran McCain's "vetting team." Apparently, by that point in the campaign he was all "vetted out," because Palin was offered the job the following morning.
More startling, as of 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, August 26, nobody in the McCain camp had seen Sarah's financial disclosures, tax records, or the formal lengthy questionnaire delving into her background. At that time, Sarah had not yet finished preparing them.
Culvahouse, only a day or two from having Sarah offered the job as running mate, seemed nonplussed and asked for the tax returns only "if possible." As late as 9:30 p.m. Arizona time that same Tuesday, at least some of the financial documents were still being assembled by Todd with the assistance of Kris Perry. Not that Culvahouse seemed particularly concerned. He indicated to Sarah he did not intend to begin sifting through these materials until the next day anyway, which happened to be the same Wednesday Sarah arrived for her face-to-face with McCain. The process was: 1) review Sarah's file for the first time on Wednesday 2) interview her late that night, and 3) based on that, it's welcome-aboard the Maverick Express on Thursday, August 28, at around 11:00 a.m. [from Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin - A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years]
In 2009, Culvahouse proudly declared that "me and two of my most cynical partners interviewed (Palin) and came away impressed." On Monday, September 1, two days after the announcement, McCain adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin said that Palin "was completely vetted by the campaign" before she was chosen. Apparently, Republicans are not only easily impressed, but also not that hung up on the actual qualifications of candidates -- but one look at any of the GOP debates thus far will tell you that.
So, by all means everyone, grab some popcorn, grab a seat next to Sarah, and enjoy the elephant on elephant pile-on. It's their duty, after all, to give each other a good pounding so they can send their best and brightest limping bloodied elephant into the real fight in November.