early and often

Sarah Palin Overheated Conservative Cruises

Lisa Airan: dermatologist, socialite, employment counselor.

John McCain notably said yesterday that as a “cold political calculation, [he] could not be more pleased” with his choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate. But as today’s New Yorker points out, a little bit more heat might have been involved in originally getting her on the ticket. Writer Jane Mayer plunged into the history of her appointment, and tells us about how the visit of two cruise ships loaded with conservative commentators helped launch Palin’s national career.

In the summer of 2007, two cruise ships rented out for conservative passengers and stocked with the staffs of the Weekly Standard and the National Review docked in Juneau. Pundits from both magazines were entertained for lunch at the Governor’s mansion, with Palin in high heels “walking around this big Victorian house with rough Alaska floors,” acting as a one-woman welcoming committee.

Particularly smitten with Palin were the Standard’s William Kristol (who went on to be an early advocate for her as a V.P. candidate), and the Review’s Dick Morris. But they were not the only ones by far:

Standard editor Fred Barnes recalled being “struck by how smart Palin was, and how unusually confident. Maybe because she had been a beauty queen, and a star athlete, and succeeded at almost everything she had done.” It didn’t escape his notice, too, that she was “exceptionally pretty.”

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, for his part, called her “a mix between Annie Oakley and Joan of Arc.” And everyone was inspired by what a fervent grace she prayed with before the meal of salmon and halibut cheeks. As everyone in Alaska knows, the cheek is the “choicest” cut of the fish. You should read the article, and then let us know whether you thought it was the grace, or the choice cheeks, that most impressed this gaggle of old white dudes.

The Insiders [NYer]

Sarah Palin Overheated Conservative Cruises