It will take some time to fully research her record to find potential lightning-rod issues, but at the onset it appears as though Sarah Palin is a silver bullet choice as McCain's VP.
Her genuine working class credentials will appeal to the heartland and she's a real conservative who has actually done with Alaska what McCain wants to do for the country.
Obama's convention bump is completely pre-empted. All of the soul-points in the Obama campaign that have been resonating with the people, but which have only been ephemeral vagaries, allusions to what will happen in the future, can now be pointed to as real actions that the McCain is taking to send a message to America that we have changed.
(Although a slight diversion from topic, this also brings to mind the glaring error that was made almost universally about the history being made with Hillary Clinton's candidacy. Did we all forget that Elizabeth Dole (a Republican) placed 3rd in the 2000 Iowa Straw Poll in her run for the presidency? Talk about being dissed! Can Hillary reinvent the wheel and get credit for that too?)
A maverick/maverick ticket is a godsend. The choice to give the nod to a woman shows the country that the GOP is serious about issues and that the Democrats couldn't manage to take action. After all, if you didn't have to consider a civil war breaking out in the White House, Hillary Clinton would have been the best choice to be Obama's running mate.
How many independent female voters are going to swing to McCain/Palin? It's hard to say, but Palin's place on the ballot has the potential to be the deciding factor in a McCain victory. The only way for McCain's campaign to realize that potential is to work diligently and genuinely to reach out to those voters and get out the vote.
No matter what the heartthrob factor may be with Obama, he isn't a woman. Biden has no real appeal with working class women; he is too much of Washington insider/elite. Palin is a working mother who has achieved great things while having five children, one of whom has Down's Syndrome. Palin is the role model for how to do it. Game, set, match, McCain/Palin.
As the governor of Alaska, she can speak the idea of opening ANWR in a way that no one else can. Maybe, if the McCain camp can get that conversation moved to center-stage, the Obama campaign loses their energy advantage. Palin's balancing of Alaska's budget and slashing of bureaucratic waste and perks poses a legitimate counterpoint to Obama's utopian promises of tax-and-spend.
Now, America has a choice between landmark events in our cultural maturation. Do we elect a president of African heritage who has done nothing except run for office, or do we elect a woman to be 2nd in line who has actually has defined an agenda and achieved it
Certainly, there are challenges ahead. This is going to change the entire complexion of the election. Obama/Biden are going to pull off the gloves as their numbers begin to slide; they may even resort to personal attacks against Palin. Let them come. I have faith that the American people will know how to vote when they begin to see the true character of the Democratic candidates and machine.