Back in 2008, an article in The Washington Post claimed that McCain was responsible for both "a symptom and expression of a new vulgarization in American politics. It’s no good, not for conservatism and not for the country."
The long article is well worth reading. It focusses on Sarah Palin, in large part because of her being McCain's choice for Vice President. Another columnist said she was, "“a fatal cancer to the Republican Party.”
It has frequently been stated thet McCain hardly knew her at the time he agreed to have her on the ticket. She had been flown down to Arizona the day before and the two spent no more than two hours together. The next day came the announcement. Despite his faith in his staff and those who had done all the vetting, it seems curious that such a major appointment would be made without McCain having done a great deal more research. He later admitted his mistake. Did it indicate a willingness to rush decisions without giving them the due consideration required by a President?
In mitigation, what he would not have known at the time is that Palin had been working hard for well over a year to ensure she was front and centre when the choice for VP was made. It was always thought that she was just a plain ol' hockey Mum who had been thrust into politics and would prefer just to stay home and look after her town. That we know now is nonsense. One friend said, “From the beginning, she’s been underestimated. She’s very smart. She’s ambitious.”
Amongst those "pundits" who just happened to find themselves in Juneau were Bill Kristol, who was to become her most ardent supporter, Fox News host Fred Barnes, defeated Supreme Court Justice Robert Bork and John Bolton. Both groups were lavishly entertained at the Governor's Mansion. The state also engaged a PR firm with strong East Coast connections to promote her and her desire for a trans-Alaska natural gas pipeline.Upon being elected governor, Palin began developing relationships with Washington insiders, who later championed the idea of putting her on the 2008 ticket. “There’s some political opportunism on her part,” Bitney [John Britney, her policy adviser] said. For years, “she’s had D.C. in mind.” He added, “She’s not interested in being on the junior-varsity team.”
During her gubernatorial campaign, Bitney said, he began predicting to Palin that she would make the short list of Republican Vice-Presidential prospects. “She had the biography, I told her, to be a contender,” he recalled. At first, Palin only laughed. But within a few months of being sworn in she and others in her circle noticed that a blogger named Adam Brickley had started a movement to draft her as Vice-President. Palin also learned that a number of prominent conservative pundits [surprise! surprise!] would soon be passing through Juneau, on cruises sponsored by right-leaning political magazines. She invited these insiders to the governor’s mansion, and even led some of them on a helicopter tour.
Right-wing supporters set up websites to promote her conservative views. Rush Limbaugh was converted. Two months prior to McCain making his decision, Kristol announced on Fox News Sunday that McCain would put her on his ticket.
Right up till a week before the announcement, McCain wanted Joe Lieberman. He was finally persuaded that Lieberman would jeopardise his chances of winning.
Former Bush Campaign strategist Matthew Dowd said at the time that McCain
Dare I suggest that that risk now sits in the White House?“knows in his gut” that Palin isn’t qualified for the job, “and when this race is over, that is something he will have to live with. . . . He put the country at risk.”
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008 ... e-insiders