NRD Editor’s Note: This post originally appeared at TheHill.com.
By Rick Manning — I’m getting sick of the rewriting of 2008 presidential campaign history as K Street Republicans continue to assault Sarah Palin in the fear that a similarly conservative Republican will rise to the top of the VP sweepstakes.
It has been so fashionable in D.C. Republican circles to bash the Palin nomination as a mistake, ill-conceived or even disastrous, that even Dick Cheney has gotten into the act.
These self-serving attempts to change history are nothing more than a smear campaign designed to influence the Romney VP pick by obscuring the truth that the choice of Sarah Palin to be the vice presidential nominee was truly inspired.
The McCain campaign was in the doldrums. Unable to match the youth and enthusiasm of the inexperienced but expert campaigner from Illinois, McCain needed to shake up the race, and Palin accomplished just that.
Her incredible acceptance speech, delivered in spite of a faulty teleprompter (try that, Mr. President), gave the nation a new face and voice for conservative principles just when it was desperately needed.
That same energy from the convention rolled over into the 2010 election, embodied in the Tea Party movement and leading Republicans to a historic victory.
History shows that it was the McCain campaign that blew any chance at election when it suspended its efforts fully three weeks after the nomination to come back to D.C. and rubber-stamp the TARP bailout.
Having agreed upon the legislative actions that socialized losses by too-big-to-fail banks, McCain lost all ability to differentiate between himself and the big-government policies advocated by Obama.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen reported on Sept. 20, 17 days after the Palin pick, that his daily Presidential Tracking Poll “shows Barack Obama with 48 percent of the vote and John McCain with 47 percent. While Obama’s lead is statistically insignificant, it is the first time he has held even a single-point advantage in a week and a half. One week ago today, McCain was up by three points.”
For the mathematically challenged, this means that less than two months from the election, McCain and Palin were leading in the polls.
Rasmussen goes on to say, “Obama’s gains over the past week came as the focus shifted from the momentum generated at the Republican National Convention to the economic rollercoaster ride that played out on Wall Street. Few agreed with McCain’s initial statement about the economy being fundamentally sound and neither candidate has yet convinced voters that he will bring the needed changes to the financial markets.”
Now, four years later, those very architects and apologists of “too big to fail” policies desperately seek to dissuade presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney from making a similarly bold conservative choice for vice president.
Let’s hope Romney remembers history, because if he does, he will know that the choice of Palin was one of the few things the McCain campaign got right. It was McCain’s and President Bush’s abandonment of limited-government, free-market principles that were the ultimate culprit in bringing us four years of Obama — not Sarah Palin.
Rick Manning is the Director of Communications for Americans for Limited Government.