The Sarah Palin pick will either go down as the most brilliant, or most disastrous, election decisions in history. I really do not see any middle ground. And that is strange, because usually, vice-presidential choices do not matter. Did Dick Cheney give GWB a boost? Did George Bush do anything for Ronald Reagan? Walter Mondale still lost in a landslide despite putting Ferraro on the ticket (and if I recall correct, Reagan even won Ferraro's district).
But Palin may have an effect. Let's be frank, the conservative base of the GOP has not shared my enthusiasm for John McCain. Governor Palin may have in one speech energized the base of the GOP in a way he could not.
I actually have been talking about her quite a bit, though it seems I mentioned her only twice in passing on this blog. She was my "hoped for" pick, though I could not really see him doing it. My Obama supporting wife has been hearing about Palin for about 5 months and when she saw the smile on my face her first words were "Palin?"
So why am I so excited? I am not an evangelical or politically a social conservative. But Palin has an appeal across constituencies. To me, I see her as a radical reformer, who took on the Alaska political establishment and a republican Senator I do not like. I also see her as someone who can make the case for drilling for more oil here, to take the pressure off until new sources of fuel are developed.
And while I can point to her as a reformer, she comes across as a practically intelligent, quirky, strong willed woman. I come a family filled with practically intelligent, quirky, strong willed women (though they are a bit difficent in the moose killing department).
Then she gave that speech.
As for McCain's speech, McCain was being McCain. That is who he is. People know him. He cannot, and should not, try to match Obama's oratorical brilliance or rock star appeal. But he should use the contrast to his advantage -- he must cast himself as a Cinncinatus in comparison to Obama's Gracchus.
In any event, this is really Obama's race to lose, not McCain's to win. Obama should be up by a lot more, considering the general level of discontent but he is not. . McCain's best hope is that the debates get Obama away from the teleprompter. That is where McCain can shine, and Obama has had some difficulties.
But even that may not be enough. Still, I can have the AUDACITY to HOPE that McCain will CHANGE the results of this election, right?