I've been thinking about it and I think the bottom line on Palin is pretty simple. If she does a good job at the convention and survives about three weeks of serious media scrutiny — no horrible gaffes, no unforgivable I-don't-knows to gotchya questions (fair and unfair), no botched hostile interviews — she will emerge as the single most inspired VP pick in modern memory and she will give the Democrats migraines for a long time to come, assuming there are no terrible skeletons we don't know about. But, if she screws up in the next three weeks, gives the press and the late night comedians sufficient fodder to Quayelize her, she'll be seen as anything from a liability to an outright horrible pick. That's it.
The NRO Editors on the Palin Pick:
By picking Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, John McCain has wowed the public and enthused the Right. He has reinforced some of his winning themes — that he has the mindset of an outsider and a fighter against corruption. He has also reinforced his appeal as the candidate more in touch with traditional values on moral issues.
McCain and Palin can and should say that they will fight to protect Americans from our foreign enemies, to stop liberal excesses, and to reform dysfunctional institutions. They should not accept the portrait of middle-class Americans as hapless victims that so many of the Democratic speakers this week portrayed; but they need to show that they share middle-class frustrations. Strength in foreign policy; reforms of taxes and health care geared to the middle class; and a moderate social conservatism: It’s a potentially winning message, and now Republicans have a ticket that is suited to it.
Tom Gross, at NRO, who points out many people miss - making the right foreign policy choices requires the right thinking and values. Yes, Biden has more "experience". But his choices in the past have been very poor. One example is here. Quote from Tom Gross's article:
It is true that Biden talks of his support for Israel in principle, but the reality is that he has done his utmost to thwart keeping the possibility of a military option open to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons. As a result he was even praised recently on the Iranian regime’s official propaganda arm, Press TV.
It is no accident that Biden was dubbed “Tehran’s favorite senator” in an article in the Washington Post last week.
By contrast, the very first reference to foreign policy that Palin made in her acceptance speech after being chosen as John McCain’s vice-presidential candidate Friday was that Iran must be stopped from getting nuclear weapons. She mentioned this even before she mentioned the issues of Iraq and Russia.
N. Emery has 14 points on how McCain's pick shakes up the race.
4. Revs up the base AND excites independents, which no one else in the party, or perhaps in the world, could have accomplished.
Bill Kristol thinks it is a wise and shrewd move:
So what we will see in the next days and weeks--what we have already seen in the hours after her nomination--is an effort by all the powers of the old liberalism, both in the Democratic party and the mainstream media, to exorcise this spectre. They will ridicule her and patronize her. They will distort her words and caricature her biography. They will appeal, sometimes explicitly, to anti-small town and anti-religious prejudice. All of this will be in the cause of trying to prevent the American people from arriving at their own judgment of Sarah Palin.
He took the gamble--wisely, we think--of putting her on the ticket. McCain's choice of Palin was McCain being McCain. Now his campaign will have to let Palin be Palin.
Palin will be a compelling and mold-breaking example for lots of Americans who are told every day that to be even a bit conservative or Christian or old-fashioned is bad form. In this respect, Palin can become an inspirational figure and powerful symbol. The left senses this, which is why they want to discredit her quickly.
Fred Barnes, in an excellent editorial, says it's 'providential':
And it looked like we were in for the selection by McCain of a humdrum vice presidential running mate, followed by a not very interesting Republican convention in St. Paul.
Sarah Palin changed all that. She was not only a surprise choice but also an electrifying one, and her selection has far-reaching implications. Her entry will change the nature of the presidential race. And if the McCain-Palin ticket wins, it has the potential to carry Republicans through a rough patch and even ensure conservative dominance of the party--for years to come.
So Republicans were beginning to come together, but it was thanks largely to Democratic noisemaking. Republicans weren't on offense. Now, with Sarah Palin's elevation, they are. McCain couldn't mobilize the Republican base, but Palin can. Indeed, she already has. By 10 P.M. Friday, the day her selection was announced, the McCain campaign had raised $4 million online--more than six times its previous daily record.
She brought down Alaska's governor, attorney general, and state Republican chairman (see my "Most Popular Governor," July 16, 2007). She killed the "bridge to nowhere." She used increased tax revenues from high oil prices to give Alaskans a rebate. She slashed government spending. She took on the biggest industry in Alaska, the oil companies, to work out an equitable deal on building a new gas pipeline. Obama can't match even one of these accomplishments.
James Taranto makes a keen observation:
At 44, Palin is actually younger than Obama, and she has two years' less experience in statewide office than he does. On the other hand, she has more executive experience than McCain, Obama and Joe Biden combined, and the Democrats have a rookie at the top of the ticket.
Wall Street Journal Editorial: it proves McCain is serious about changing his party
Barack Obama aside, Senator McCain's biggest problem is a Republican brand that has suffered -- both among independents and the GOP base -- from the party's business-as-usual mentality in Washington. The public wants change. This pick could prove Mr. McCain is serious about changing his party.
Against the odds, Mrs. Palin won that 2006 election against the state's former Democratic governor Tony Knowles. Most recently, she promoted the effort of her GOP lieutenant governor to unseat U.S. Congressman Don Young, who with Senator Stevens created the earmark that sank the GOP, the notorious "bridge to nowhere."
Finally, Sarah Palin is a governor with two years of authentic executive experience. This spares this race the specter of an all-senator show. And history shows it's far better preparation for the presidency than other offices. A governor must execute budgets, pull factions together, compromise on tough issues and make the buck stop there. If Palin's short stint as governor calls into question her experience, it's still superior to Barack Obama's two years in the U.S. Senate.
WaPo editorial spends much time regurgitating the "but McCain is 72!" stuff, and finally gets to a point:
Above all, she has no record on foreign policy and national security -- including terrorism, which Mr. McCain posits as the top challenge facing America and the world. Once the buzz over Ms. Palin's nomination dies down, the hard questions about her will begin. The answers will reflect on her qualifications -- and on Mr. McCain's judgment as well.
The New York Times editorial is boring and predictable, I won't even quote it here.
Dick Morris on his blog: Sweet Pick
McCain has reached for the stars and grabbed one. On a recent cruise to Alaska, I had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with Sarah Palin. She is brilliant and articulate and, in Alaska politics, is a breath of fresh air as an alternative to their corruption epitomized by Alaska Republican Senator Ted Stevens. Now Obama, who has spent two years preventing a woman from being president, will spend two months preventing one from becoming vice president – and hopes to do so with women votes. The entire premise of the Democratic convention was the fungibility of Bush and McCain. Now McCain has vividly demonstrated the difference. Sarah Palin is no Dick Cheney!
Newt Gingrich's first thoughts, sent in an email to The Weekly Standard:
[hatip: LGF reader links]
There is something unaffected and "unsophisticated" (in the Columbia, Princeton, Harvard and University of Chicago meanings of the word) about Governor Palin. She really was point guard of a state championship basketball team. She really is a competent hunter. She is a hockey mom. She has one son about to go to Iraq.
She has 13 years in elected office.
By any practical standard she has done far more in the real world with much more spontaneity and practicality than Barack Obama. And there is something deeply real and courageous about John McCain ignoring most of his advisers and all of the "insider wisdom" to reach out to a younger woman whose greatest characteristic is undaunted courage and a willingness to clean out the corruption in her own party.