John McCain is not likely to be our next president, but he did launch a career in national politics today. Oh, I don't think Governor Sarah Palin will have much of an effect on this year's race - at least, I hope not - but I think the lady has a future. The Palin Launch was something out of a movie script: feisty unknown plucked from obscurity and her husband's fishing boat to astound the world and set up shop a heartbeat away from the most powerful office in the world. In the movie, of course, she'd be a Democrat portrayed by a feisty Julia Roberts or a peppery Geena Davis.
In real life, she's McCain's long bomb downfield, timed to offset Obama's long drive in Denver - a high risk venture that is so neatly the opposite of Barack Obama's safe hand-off to fullback Joe Biden.
You know your opponent is behind when he names the young, untested Governor of Alaska with its three electoral votes. You know he has a very thin bench indeed when he picks a politician with 20 months in the statehouse, representing a state with fewer residents than The Bronx. And you know his party is hurting for talent sans the Y chromosome when its nominee has to turn to the recent mayor of a town of 5,000 souls to balance the ticket.
Nothing against Governor Palin, who seems to be a very appealing character at first blush; and how cool is it that Senator Clinton's drive led the Republican Party to actually name a woman to its ticket (misguided as its attempt to pick off wounded Clinton supporters is)? And the GOP base is certainly fired up by her King Crab Conservatism, blended with a slight bit of reformer's juice and a little of that Charlie Crist-style slight environmentalism. Indeed, I think the knee-jerk attacks on Palin will backfire, reminding many that the left wasn't exactly free of sexism this year - and just plain looking mean. [Somebody has to move Bill Burton to some back office somewhere before he really hurts Obama's chances]. The best move is to ignore her in very polite fashion.
Back to the speech for a moment. You remember, that big thing last night? I'm upgrading my grade based on Obama's ability to entrance the press, the overnight ratings (huge), and the general reaction of his base - the full Democratic Party with the Clinton wing safely aboard - to his populist economic message.
We really did see Obama 2.0 last night. It wasn't his best speech, not even in the top five this year. But it did mark a change to an angrier, more focused, less prosaic, less ethereal Barack Obama. I think he's learning this whole "it's the economy, stupid" thing. And I predict he'll get it down. The man learns quickly. So let's call last night's workmanlike speech a B-plus in the cold light of day. And let's push those economic policies right up to Election Day.
UPDATE: Lance has a good post up on Palin, who he quite rightly points out is an interesting figure: "I mean, look, I'm writing about her! You think I'd have a post up about Romney?" Very true. Oh, and what Liss said. I feel the same way vis a vis Hillary. And Obama.