The Daily Caller's Jonathan Strong reports that the chatter on the then-secret listserv sounded more like what one would hear in a Democrat Party campaign war room than a newsroom, and the debate from the outset was about the best way to attack Gov. Palin. Here are a few excerpts:
Daniel Levy of the Century Foundation noted that Obama’s “non-official campaign” would need to work hard to discredit Palin. “This seems to me like an occasion when the non-official campaign has a big role to play in defining Palin, shaping the terms of the conversation and saying things that the official [Obama] campaign shouldn’t say – very hard-hitting stuff, including some of the things that people have been noting here – scare people about having this woefully inexperienced, no foreign policy/national security/right-wing christia (sic) wing-nut a heartbeat away …… bang away at McCain’s age making this unusually significant...”Read the full, sordid story of the Journos' plotting against Gov. Palin, all on the day of her introduction by the McCain campaign, here.
Politico reporter Ben Adler, now an editor at Newsweek, replied, “but doesn’t leaving sad baby without its mother while she campaigns weaken that family values argument? Or will everyone be too afraid to make that point?”
Ed Kilgore, managing editor of the Democratic Strategist blog, argued that journalists and others trying to help the Obama campaign should focus on Palin’s beliefs. “The criticism of her really, really needs to be ideological, not just about experience. If we concede she’s a ‘maverick,’ we will have done John McCain an enormous service. And let’s don’t concede the claim that [Hillary Clinton] supporters are likely to be very attracted to her,” Kilgore said.
As the morning wore on into the afternoon, some on Journolist came to believe the Palin pick had been shrewd. Palin was coming off as appealing and a maverick, they worried.
“Okay, let’s get deadly serious, folks...,” Kilgore said, “What we can do is to expose her ideology.”
Journolist’s founder Ezra Klein, now a blogger at the Washington Post, reached an entirely different conclusion: “I see no reason to attack Palin. I think you accurately describe Palin and attack McCain.” Klein linked to an article he had written for the American Prospect that calmly described Palin’s thin resume.
Time’s Joe Klein then linked to his own piece, parts of which he acknowledged came from strategy sessions on Journolist. “Here’s my attempt to incorporate the accumulated wisdom of this august list-serve community,” he wrote. And indeed Klein’s article contained arguments developed by his fellow Journolisters. Klein praised Palin personally, calling her “fresh” and “delightful,” but questioned her “militant” ideology. He noted Palin had endorsed parts of Obama’s energy proposal.