The “Eagleton Scenario”

From The Atlantic (And no, I don’t believe that McCain will dump her):

Here in St. Paul, talk of Palin has dominated the Republican convention—even more so than cable news—and by Monday night discussion among Republican operatives and reporters had turned to whether Palin would survive or become the first running mate since Thomas Eagleton in 1972 to leave a major-party ticket. On Monday, the InTrade futures market opened trading on whether Palin would withdraw before the election.

With reporters and opposition researchers crawling through Alaska, and with the McCain campaign having dispatched its own team of lawyers to re-vet Palin, Republicans are wondering what shoe might drop next. If further revelations prove damaging enough, McCain could decide to replace Palin or she could choose to withdraw. While such an event seems unlikely given her popularity in some quarters of the party—Jacob Heilbrunn has suggested that social conservatives would view her ouster as “political infidelity”—her rocky reception makes the “Eagleton scenario,” and how it might unfold, a subject of more than academic interest.

Interviews with Republicans and legal experts today shed light on how the process could play out. At any point before tomorrow night, McCain could simply replace Palin. But once she formally accepts her nomination, he’ll no longer have the power to do so unilaterally. According to Ben Ginsberg, the former general council at the Republican National Committee, Republican rules stipulate that the 168 members of the national committee would need to ratify any replacement to make it official. The process falls under Republican Rule Number 9(a): “The Republican National Committee is hereby authorized and empowered to fill any and all vacancies which may occur by reason of death, declination, or otherwise of the Republican candidate for President of the United States or the Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, as nominated by the national convention, or the Republican National Committee may reconvene the national convention for the purpose of filling any such vacancies.”