More to Sarah Palin Than Meets the Eye

I guess in all that "scrambling," the Obama campaign forgot their problem with denigrating small towns:

You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

The McCain campaign gleefully pounced in their response:

It is pretty audacious for the Obama campaign to say that Governor Palin is not qualified to be Vice President. She has a record of accomplishment that Senator Obama simply cannot match. Governor Palin has spent her time in office shaking up government in Alaska and actually achieving results -- whether it's taking on corruption, passing ethics reform or stopping wasteful spending and the "bridge to nowhere." Senator Obama has spent his time in office running for President.

Jennifer Rubin quips, "There are a lot of towns of 9,000 and it seems awfully mean spirited to bring that up as a dig. She of course is a governor now but to bring up her small town roots as a slam seems, well, stupid."

"Stupid" as in something the media will jump on?

Republicans say it's noteworthy that, on the week commemorating the 88th anniversary of women getting the right to vote -- with McCain, making a groundbreaking VP pick -- the Obama campaign's first response was to attack, not congratulate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, or acknowledge the historic nature of her selection.

It was just yesterday that McCain ran a TV ad congratulating Obama on his historic achievement.

Upon further reflection, Sens. Obama and Biden issued a more carefully considered response.

Sorry, Senator. No mulligans in politics.

First impressions from the Democrats seem to tend toward bemusement. There also appears to be a high level of confidence that the six-term senator from Delaware will make mincemeat of the little lady from Alaska when they debate in a few weeks.

If I were a Democrat, I would not be so sanguine in my appraisal of the relative strengths of Mr. Biden vs. Mrs. Palin. This is one tough lady. She took on the party establishment, including the state chairman, when she ramrodded an ethics probe against the GOP chief. And she went after the Republican attorney general, joining with a Democrat to file an ethics complaint against him. Party insiders hated her, but the rank and file loved her feisty independence. She entered the gubernatorial primary, running against Republican incumbent and former senator Frank Murkowski, and won going away.

Defeating an incumbent governor in a party primary after angering most of the party elite is no small accomplishment -- in Alaska or anywhere else. And her tough, no nonsense approach to governance has also rubbed some bureaucrats the wrong way.

It is not for nothing that she earned the nickname "Sarah Barracuda" as a star high school basketball player -- a nickname that was revived during her stint as Mayor of Wasilla when she also fought with her party and the bureaucrats. If Joe Biden is seen as being condescending in the slightest toward Palin during that debate, he is likely to get clipped.

The contrast between the two running mates is striking. One is a six-term U.S. senator who has run for president twice with decades of experience in debating foreign policy and defense issues and a "Hail fellow well met" personality and a glib tongue; a man familiar to the political class thanks to his frequent appearances on the Sunday morning talk show circuit.

The other is a former beauty queen, a governor of a small state not yet two years into her first term, who doesn't have much national exposure and is about to be thrust into the biggest pressure cooker of them all: a rock 'em, sock 'em presidential campaign that is already proving to be a combination mud wrestling match and heavyweight title bout.

Can she stand the gaff? As the TV show says, they grow them "Tough in Alaska."