Conservative spirits soared like roman candles three times in my life:
- Ronald Reagan's emergence in 1980
- Newt Gingrich's Contract with America in 1994
- Sarah Palin's selection as McCain's vice president in 2008
Besides the math (each event exactly 14 years apart), Palin's selection could change the face of politics in America for a long time.
Yesterday, I hurriedly outlined some of the instant wins from McCain's brilliant move. With 24 hours of reflection, this game-changing decision produces even more positives.
Changing the 2008 Election
For this year's election, adding Palin was like the Colorado Avalanche adding Ray Bourque in 2001. With this move, McCain scored a hat-trick of priceless political goals:
- Solidified all aspects of the right: evangelicals, 10th Amendment philosophers, family-first pragmatists, 2nd Amendment patriots, economic conservatives
- Opened the wallets of Americans who had been hedging their bets
- Wiped the DNC Convention off of the news instantly and forever
Such an inspired political move deserves praise and academic celebration. This one will be examined in college political science studies for decades.
Wowing the Press
This move said you don't have to be anti-American to be young, energetic, intelligent, and political. Since the fall of 2007, the media have been telling young people and political neophytes respond only to young, ultra-liberal, America bashing rabble rousers.
Palin is Reagan conservative who pulls the young because she exudes youthfulness, energy, and independence. Like Reagan, she bucks the Republican party's idiotic tendency to crawl back to its Eastern Seaboard Country Club past. She's not a Rockefeller, thank God: she's one of us.
I've been watching conventions and their aftermath since the 1976 election cycle. I figured out some time ago that it's not what the party or candidate says at the convention, it's what the media say about them that causes bounces. Even though Obama's speech was one of the worst in history, the media--almost all Obama donors--fawned over the speech as the new Gettysburg Address.
Palin made those reporters drop their Obama stories and start digging on her. What they found shocked them. Even the New York Times online front page is wholly positive:
- Choice of Palin Bold Move with Risks [link]
- Palin, an Outsider who Charms [link]
- Defining Sarah Palin [link]
The entire page above the fold is devoid of Obama's name, probably for the first time in a year.
Defining the Future
McCain may have permanently altered the course of the conservative movement in America, the way Ronald Reagan's speech at the 1976 RNC convention did. Palin, known only to conservative wonks and Alaskans before Friday, jumped to mega-star status by Friday night. Her actions are quickly becoming legendary, particularly among women.
- She stayed on the dais to participate in an energy meeting for 30 minutes after he water broke in April 2008
- She won the state high school basketball championship playing point guard with a broken ankle
- She is an expert rifle shot and hunter
- She defeated an incumbent Republican governor
- She told Congress to get lost when it tried stick a bridge to nowhere in her state
- She manhandled oil executives
- She went to Iraq when it wasn't safe to visit her Guardsmen, not to politic
Avoiding major errors, Palin has skyrocketed ahead of Bobby Jindal of Louisiana as the Next Big Thing from the right. Even if McCain loses (which is increasing unlikely), Palin is here to stay unless she stumbles badly.
My guess is that she'll wipe the floor with Biden, if Biden even debates her. Her quick, sharp jabs will wear him down while he tries desperately to land a knock-out blow. The Barracuda, though, is young and energetic. Biden could be her lunch.
Taking well-calculated risk, McCain has changed the course of politics in America for at least 14 years.
Ed Morrissey finds a Democrat who agrees that the Palin selection is massive strategic windfall for McCain.
Did McCain set Obama up to fall into this trap? If so, then perhaps that more than anything demonstrates how poor a candidate Obama is and how much more masterful McCain can be. Would you rather have the man who set the trap dealing with our enemies abroad, or the man who fell into it?