The Place to Watch for Palin News?

Much has been made of the ability, or lack thereof, of prediction markets to accurately forecast election outcomes.

In the larger scheme of things, the following statement is unimportant, but let me say it anyway: the first time I read the name “Sarah Palin” was in a Marginal Revolution post by Tyler Cowen discussing Palin’s sudden rise on these markets. (Addendum: If I’d been carefully reading our contributor Justin Wolfers‘s column, I’d have seen that he identified Palin about a month ago as the fourth-ranked V.P. possibility.)

So I wonder whether reporters and others will be paying attention to these markets for possible new developments. Note that InTrade has just offered a contract on whether Palin will be removed from the G.O.P. ticket before the election. It will be interesting to see where the bet moves and what kind of heat it generates.

Cowen also posited that Palin may be this year’s Ross Perot, based on her “outside, straight-talker, pro-reform, true-blooded-American, take-no-prisoners image.”

Based on recent news, the more relevant question may be: Is Palin this year’s Thomas Eagleton, who was removed as the V.P. candidate from the 1972 McGovern ticket after intense press coverage about his mental-health history?

Can you imagine what that coverage would have looked like today, with approximately one trillion more media impressions per hour?

A further note on Eagleton: in a recent Times Op-Ed, McGovern reveals that Sargent Shriver, who replaced Eagleton on the ticket, probably would have been the original pick if only cell phones had existed then:

My next choice [after Ted Kennedy] was Sargent Shriver, the first director of the Peace Corps and Senator Kennedy’s brother-in-law, but I could not reach him because he was in the Soviet Union.

I assume there is no one the McCain camp gave up on because of communication problems.


Does McCain and all who would vote for him REALLY believe that Palin is the SECOND best person the Republican Party has to offer at this time for the position of vice president?

Fred Olson

Palin was a member of the Alaskan Independence party (AIP) before becoming an elected Republican official, and recorded a video message for the AIP convention this year. The party's chief goal is securing Alaska a vote on seceding from the US, a goal that AIP leaders believe the state was denied before it became part of the US almost 50 years ago.



The evidence for the lack of vetting is what? That the media didn't know that she was on the radar. They were left out of the loop and now they are trying to justify why the VP should be vetted with them before it is official.

The trooper issue was a known story. The daughters pregnancy was disclosed to the campaign. The DUI was disclosed.

The campaign didn't pull the paper copies of the local paper. Why? The campaign said they didn't want to tip anyone off. I'll accept that excuse.

Why are you so sure that the vetting process was not properly done? Because the media has said so?


Interesting that you mention Sargent Shriver who was a pioneer in early sex education. I was just reading a quote from him in a book by Thomas Sowell.

From Thomas Sowell:

"Sargent Shriver, former head of the Office of Economic Opportunity, which led the early charge for more sex education and “family planning” clinics, testified candidly to a congressional committee in 1978: “Just as venereal disease has skyrocketed 350% in the last 15 years when we have more clinics, more pills, and more sex education than ever in history, teen-age pregnancy has risen.”

Critics of Palin like to point to her views on sex education. After the onset of sex education in our schools pregnancy reversed a 12 year decline and shot upward as did STDs. At least we spend a lot of federal money on it though.


BGP, the salient point is that McCain picked Palin without properly vetting her, which is a disastrous strategy for such a high profile decision. This, however, is par for the course for a man who said of himself: "Often my haste is a mistake, but I live with the consequences without complaint."

I think the Palin pick will go down as roughly equivalent to the Harriet Miers choice for SCOTUS (except that there's no Alito waiting in the wings this time).

Grover Sesame

There is a real illiquidity issue on Intrade, not to mention the platform was unresponsive for several minutes after the news broke.

News events are the domain of the high frequency, automated trading system. I like the idea of trading news but until we see:

1. some kind of standardized contract specifications

2. a robust exchange that can handle the volume

3. third party clearing

4. high volume of diverse players

5. open protocol that allows automated trading

It will remain a casino capital market at best.

My point is that if a major exchange such as CME Group were willing to create a news event market and did it at their current standard it could become a trillion dollar (in outstanding notional value) market in months. The interest is there, but the current execution at Intrade can't deliver.


"Although the daughter’s pregnancy... juicier stories"..... nice. Will they be discussing Biden's son getting married when his fiance was 8 months pregnant also? I haven't heard much about that but then again, I don't expect to.

Let me know if you want to start dragging the foibles of the families into this race. Its not like Obama or Biden are pure as the driven snow.

"ethics investigations" plural? I know of one investigation. Are you now saying there is more than one? And the "Troopergate" story is a nonstarter. If a trooper had threatened my father like that, I would have done everything possible to get him fire also. Or are you comfortable in having a State Trooper who drinks in his squad car or threatens the life of his soon to be ex-father-in-law because the father-in-law was possibly going to help the daughter get an attorney to file for divorce.

Sounds like a stable fellow who should be carrying a weapon on the job to me.


David Rasmussen

I had the same thought. Palin will likely be removed from the ticket. But, I do not believe I have heard the rationalization for her removal yet. Whatever the announced reason, the true reason will be that she does not attract Hillary supporters. Her poor understanding of history is my top complaint with her.

Q: Are you offended by the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance? Why or why not?

Sarah Palin, 2006: "Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me and I’ll fight in defense of our Pledge of Allegiance."


I think the story is the shrewd choice McCain made. Very astute for obvious reasons, and he gained someone more accomplished in life than the top of the Dem ticket. My Dem friends were rather rankled. They want McCain to be who they pretend he is. I honestly thought Obama would have made the "outside the box" choice and McCain would have shot for PA delegates. Turns out Obama picked a guy who praised McCain and said Obama wasn't ready to lead - major error, and McCain picked wisely. My take anyway...everyone sees it differently. No matter how you see it...what a great turn of events...more interesting race than I would have ever thought.


Removed ..why? Because her 17 year old daughter acted like a 17 year old? The fairly uninteresting and unproved story of her hand in her brother in law's firing? If these are the most serious charges, talk about removing her is absurd.


I think the only "maverick" choice would have been if McCain had chosen Hilary.

But seriously, no matter who one chooses, you can say they are pandering to a certain crowd, whether it be hardcore conservatives, women, Hillary supporters, or independents. Lets face it, that's why you choose the VP that you choose.

I think Palin was the true "maverick" choice (whatever that means); choosing Ridge or Romney would have been safe and boring (no gain), and Lieberman, the one I wanted, would have been too risky.

Peter Makowski are at the edge of a lunatic fringe!!

Nigel Eccles

We've also got a market on her pulling out before November (currently trading at about 25%, although I personally would be short on that). However the market that seems to be generating much more interest is whether Palin uses Alaska's proximity to Russia as evidence for her national security credentials:

(Currently at 39%, I'm long that one though :-)


Although the daughter's pregnancy and ethics investigations are juicier stories, I think the bigger issue is the fact that McCain asked her to be his running mate after basically meeting her once. I don't think he knows anything about her except the fact that she is a social conservative that will appeal to the "base" and maybe woo Hilary supporters. (Does he really think that many women will now vote for McCain, especially since Palin's political views are pretty much the opposite from Hilary's?)

I belive he really wanted Lieberman, but didn't want to risk a revolt from within the GOP.

Also, can we now put his "maverick" label to bed? (If McCain was actually a maverick, he would have done what he felt was right instead of pandering to this fringe.)


#102 Matthew:

“It doesn’t matter if everybody who was already for Obama votes Obama-Biden. He won the primary with 51% of the votes of a party representing less than half the voting population. All McCain-Palin need to do to win is 1) not screw up, 2) appeal to Republican voters and 3) give HRC’s already disgruntled supporters no reason to turn out.”

1) good luck if the choice of Palin is an example, 2) already done due to lack of critical thinking by that group (excepting the very rich and the psychotic so-called Christians who are actually voting for their own interests), and 3) in case you haven’t been paying attention, the PUMAS myth is exactly that.

Justin H.

#74 (bobby g) "Are we watching a presidential race, or a reality TV show emulating one?"

Ask Jean Baudrillard. That's precisely the point of his idea of "Simulation."


If US federal and state law in many jurisdictions makes it illegal for me to place a wager with Intrade, then how accurate will such prediction markets be in making predictions? What a pity that the prohibition on online gambling might stifle such a promising new market. Maybe Congress should realize that predictive markets serve a valuable public purpose of accurate forecasting, unlike simple games of chance or sporting competitions, for example.


Choosing Palin is about making Republicans excited about voting Republican, something McCain doesn't do. Sure, she isn't ready to be POTUS but she doesn't really need to be. All these "one heartbeat" quips aside, McCain is in good health, and is as likely to make it through 4 years as Obama or HRC. Republicans will vote for her, and en masse, because she will gain experience as the VP and will put a Republican in position to be the first minority president, not a Democrat.

Winning a presidential election isn't about converting the people on the other side, it is about getting one's own base to turn out. If the youth vote on which Obama rode to his primary win actually turn out it will be the first time.

It doesn't matter if everybody who was already for Obama votes Obama-Biden. He won the primary with 51% of the votes of a party representing less than half the voting population. All McCain-Palin need to do to win is 1) not screw up, 2) appeal to Republican voters and 3) give HRC's already disgruntled supporters no reason to turn out.

She is going to look good, speak well and project excitement and a no-nonsense attitude. Contrast that to Obama's carefully worded legalese answers about his ties to unrepentant terrorists and racist preachers and people are going to have no problems with voting McCain-Palin come Nov 4.



One last thing to add…this is going to be a most interesting election. The only thing better right now is Metallica's resurgence with the release of Death Magnetic....some great stuff in there from the masters of thrash. These guys would be perfect for a guest post.

Sometimes I think we get bent out of shape during election cycles and forget the most important things in life. After all most of us are people too.

Barbara LeBoeuf

Choosing Sarah Palin underscores how much McCain has moved to the right. He certainly has placated the pro-life faction and increased his campaign donations. However, it's a real stretch to think that any ardent Hillary supporter would cast his/her vote for McCain because of this selection. Here's why: People who beleive in choice don't force their opinions or religious convictions on other people. No one said that Sarah should have aborted, since she already had four children. However, Palin would force even rape victims to have give birth. I think people who spend their enery trying to dictate what others should do with their lives are seriously flawed. As a former Hillary supported, I am insulted that her name would even be mentioned in the same breath as Hillary's.