This take by Byron York on Sarah Palin’s performance in the 2006 debate for Governor gives some insight into the record which the McCain camp presumably examined. Does she have expertise in key policy areas? Yes. Is she a skilled debater? Yes. Is she an extremist on social issues like contraception which might offend swing voters? Apparently not.
Did the media know any of this? No, and they assumed the opposite was true. The McCain camp–the ones portrayed as desperate and disorganized–seemed to have had their facts straight after all. Whether Palin can withstand the enormous pressure she is now under remains to be seen.
Now, legitimate issues remain as to whether she can demonstrate familiarity with key national security issues. (By the way, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty had no more expertise in this realm–would he have faced the same inquiry?) In this regard she is helped by the fact that her VP opponent was not only wrong on the surge but spectacularly wrong on his partition plan. (Whatever her shortcomings, she can always say “I was smart enough to agree with the advice of General Petraeus and to recognize the success of the surge after the fact.”)
But the meme that the McCain camp didn’t know what they were doing should now be replaced by the meme that the MSM had no clue what they were talking about. With each passing day that conclusion becomes more clear.