There's such an explosion of punditry about the Palin pick it seems silly to add more, but what the heck. I keep thinking of things to like about it.
1. Despite the brevity of her career, Palin has already stood up to special interests and Big Oil. I hope she tells more of the story at the convention. "Special interests." Kerry, for example, kept saying he was against 'special interests' -- "we're coming, you're going, and don't let the door hit you on the way out," I believe was the line -- solely because he couldn't talk about the issues since his real views were unpopular (maybe the same reason Obama's talking about "hope" and "change"). Maverick is unusual in that he really has been a pugnacious fighter of special interests and pork-barrel spending. Now, here comes Palin, who "as governor... stood up to the old politics as usual, to the special interests, to the lobbyists, the big oil companies, and the good-old- boy network," as she put it, and I think it's true; I've read a lot of outside sources saying the same thing, some before the pick. And she nixed the Bridge to Nowhere, which Congress failed to do! McCain needs to make it clear that that's why he picked her, and not just because she's a woman. Which I think is actually true.
2. Hillary was a woman candidate but also a dynasty candidate. Some women might have been proud of having a woman rise so far, but ultimately it was on the coat-tails of Bill, the cheating husband that she didn't leave for political reasons. That sort of undermines the look-what-women-can-do message. Palin made it on her own. But, more than that, she did it while raising a family. By now, I think a lot of women feel like they can rise high if they're willing to sacrifice family to do it. The message of the Palin pick is that a women can reach the top of her profession and be a super-mom. And I wonder if that's driving some of the resentment you hear from women who call C-SPAN angry at McCain for thinking he could buy their votes with the Palin pick. A lot of "successful" women, in the worldly sense, look down on those who married their high school sweethearts and put family first, while maybe envying them in a way, too. Now Palin gets to have her cake and eat it too. No fair!
3. This is like the surge: McCain is making a bold move, rooted in its principles and instinct, defying the conventional wisdom. Obama says he was against the Iraq war because it "would probably lead to a lengthy occupation, with uncertain cost and uncertain consequences." No risk-taker, this guy: he wants to be sure of the consequences before he acts, which, one surmises, is why he's done so little in life other than float up the curses honorum. McCain could probably have picked Romney and gotten to the White House on "experience." Boring. Instead, McCain takes the fight to Obama's turf. We could have followed the Iraq Study Group's advice and pulled out of Iraq and it would still have been a 3/4 win. McCain wanted not just to beat Saddam, but to establish a stable democracy-- to get an outcome that could be characterized no way but "victory." With the Palin pick, he says he intends to win this election not just on "experience," which was a given, but on "change," too.
4. Isn't democracy amazing? In most societies it would take bloody revolution, or at best a sordid palace intrigue, for a small-town mom to rise to #2 in the country. America, where commoners can turn into kings. It doesn't happen often. But still.
UPDATE: In case I didn't adequately justify my alliterative title. So far, despite McCain's heavyweight political persona, his platform lacked a cohesive narrative. The Palin pick has to signal and symbolize a new focus, if it is to work at all: McCain the maverick, the reformer, the Teddy Roosevelt figure, the insider-outsider with an outback-outsider sidekick, out to fix Washingon. Frank Capra's "Mr Smith Goes to Washington" come to life.
Hopefully he blends the reform message with a pinch of ideological small-government seasoning.