She is everything McCain is not:
* pro-life (vocally, unlike McCain, who is actually sound on his voting)
* pro-gun (vocally, she recently bagged a moose!)
* pro-oil drilling in ANWR
* has executive experience (not much, but more than Obama and Biden)
* against taxes, government spending, and the culture of boondoggles in Alaska
Also, critically important, she is probably the only person who can reconcile both the traditionalist conservatives and the libertarian conservatives, where both groups do not like McCain. Palin may be able to get them on board.
McCain is behind. He will probably lose. Ignore the polls. Look at Intrade. Look at the British oddsmakers. It is 2/1 for Obama and has been all along. The polls are noise around the signal. If McCain plays it safe, he loses for sure. He has to make high-risk, high-return plays. He has to throw Hail Mary passes. He needs put the board in play. This decision shows he understands that and is willing to act accordingly. You can’t play it safe when you are losing.
Still, I am shocked by this. I wanted it to be Palin. I saw no way he could win if he did not pick Palin. Two white guys in suits against Obama were going to lose, period. But I thought he would still do something “safer”, which would have doomed him. McCain is much bolder and much smarter than I gave him credit for.
In fact, as I think about it, this is the first moment when I have not been absolutely certain McCain would lose.
McCain is also showing, as he has generally, that he is very aggressive and confident, almost cocky. His congratulation message to Obama was classic. It showed class and it showed fearlessness, and a certain condescension to Obama. It reminds me of David Hackett Fischer’s depiction of the Backcountry selection process for leaders: Tanistry. The Border Scots selected a Thane based on age, strength and cunning, not mere seniority. McCain is a backcountryman by ancestry. They are wily and they are fighters. McCain already seems to be inside Obama’s OODA loop. Making this pick the day after the Donk convention, to steal the buzz, is tactically perfect.
Apparently Palin talks like a hick. She calls herself a “momma” unironically, instead of a mom or a mother. This will cause her to be mocked and jeered at in states the GOP is already going to lose. But it cannot hurt with blue collar voters in WV, OH, PA and MI, which are states Obama could lose.
Key moment: The Palin v. Biden debate. She has zero foreign policy experience. She will have a lot of homework to do.
According to Wikipedia “In 1984, Palin was second-place in the Miss Alaska beauty pageant”. I can believe it. The whole schtick of pretty-woman-with-dorky-glasses-and-hair-in-a-bun works for me. I think most adult heterosexual males would agree.
Finally, McCain is doing something very important for the GOP. If he loses, as he still probably will, and if Palin makes a good impression during the election, which she may, then we will be well-positioned to run a woman governor at the top of the ticket in 2112 against President Obama.