Sarah Palin's addition to John McCain's ticket was announced last Friday, and in the meantime we've been treated to one of the more impressive orgies of panicked journalistic feces-throwing I've ever witnessed, and while I haven't been paying attention as long as some, I've seen quite a bit.
By now the "exclamation points" of Palin's background are well-known: hockey mom; rose to her VP candidacy through the PTA, school board, and mayor's and governor's offices; lifetime NRA membership holder; moose hunter; beauty queen; mother of both a four-month-old Down syndrome child and a pregnant teen.
She's also been a ruthless reformer in Alaska, taking on large corporations and entrenched (Republican) party bosses alike, wielding both her veto pen and eBay seller's account with equal aplomb to cut spending and eliminate government waste.
Well, nobody's denying now that Sarah Palin has changed the game. Her speech last night was perfectly delivered, revealing a facility for authenticity, accessibility, humor and openness that we haven't seen behind a podium for a very, very long time. On either side of the Right-Left divide.
Of course, lest anyone think I've gone squishy on my distrust of McCain amid all the hagiography and detailed recountings of his horrific treatment by the North Vietnamese, I haven't forgotten. In fact, I swore I'd never donate to That Man's campaign, but the Palin pick changed my mind, and McCain/Palin received $100 of Amy's and my money on Friday.
Here's why. Longtime readers here know that I've consistently (and only) been excited about true conservatives: Pence, Thompson, Jindal, et al. Redstate.com alerted me to Palin as a possibility for a McCain pick some months ago, and I was enthused at the possibility, seeing as she's One of Us, but Johnny Mac didn't strike me as the sort who had the guts, or the ideological fortitude.
You see, since the 2006 election and especially this year, the mood in Washington and the McCain campaign has been one of Okay. Democrats have won the hearts and minds of the people. We need to cross aisles, go along and get along, make peace with our time in the wilderness and try to compromise our way to what power we can glean. Country-club, domesticated, lap-dog Republicanism--I can't stand it, and neither can voters.
So, real conservatism, in its fruitings in Alaska, Louisiana, Indiana and many other "elsewheres" (Eric Cantor, Jeff Sessions, Jeff Flake, John Shadegg, I'm looking at you), has been shunted to the back of the room, told to sit down and shut up, declared dead and irrelevant, relegated to "annoying pain-in-the-ass who won't leave well enough alone" status.
I'm not privy to the workings of McCain's mind, but whether he picked Palin for her conservative bona fides or as a last-ditch "Hail Mary" to shore up a dangerously unexciting ticket, it scarcely matters now. Because if McCain and Palin win this year, then she's first up for the Presidency in 2012 or 2016, and that opens the door to like-minded conservatives as running mates from the pain-in-the-ass group above. By then, of course, Bobby Jindal will have undone (as much as any one man is likely to) the damage from decades of neglect that Louisiana and the Big Easy have suffered at the hands of Democrats, and be looking for something else to do, and I think we know how I'd like that to turn out.
McCain/Palin - Palin/Jindal - beyond? Could happen, or some other combination. Especially if Obama is the caliber of politician that the Left keeps producing.
Thus, and for very little other reason, I feel compelled to vote McCain/Palin in November, and (hallelujah!) can do so with a smile.