The Top Ten Ways Sarah Palin Has Shaken Up the Race
It seems only a few days ago that the Obama camp was secretly pushing the Eagleton storyline: Sarah Palin should get out of the race. The McCain camp, if inclined to respond, would probably say: "in your dreams."
Palin has taken the GOP faithful by storm, captured the attention of the largest audience ever to watch a VP acceptance speech, and potentially created an entirely new presidential race. If the Obama camp seems flummoxed and floundering, alternating between horrid insults and praise for the new Republican VP nominee, it is easy to see why: she has completely shaken up the race.
Only a few days after her landmark speech, we can spot at least ten ways in which she may have altered the political landscape.
First, the Republican base is now energized and enthusiastic like never before in this race. If the Obama team was betting on a "turnout race" and a depressed conservative turnout, they make need to reconsider. She offers the potential to galvanize conservatives to a greater extent than anyone thought possible.
Second, Palin offers some geographic appeal and help in key swing states. If her appearance in Michigan on Friday is any clue, she may be a powerful weapon with blue collar voters there and in Ohio and Pennsylvania, the latter being places where Obama ran so poorly in the Democratic primary.
And Palin may also give her ticket heft in the west. She and McCain now present a pro-gun, pro-property rights, pro-drilling duo of westerners in contrast to the urban duo of Obama-Biden. I don't imagine the Democrats will even try the ritual hunting expedition which has become a mainstay in presidential races. (Better not to compete against a gal who slays moose.)
Third, Palin has helped revived McCain's maverick, outside the Beltway message. Get ready to hear more about her record of taking on GOP corruption and her disdain for the old boy network. McCain's acceptance speech promising to shake up Washington seemed newly credible with the addition of a VP who defeated an incumbent Republican governor hip-deep in cronyism.
Fourth, there are likely to be more attacks from the McCain camp on Obama's own history of accommodation with the Daley machine in Chicago. As detailed in David Freddoso's new book The Case Against Barack Obama, Obama's own record is not one of reform but of complicity in old style Chicago politics. With the appearance of someone who really did take on machine politics, we may see some contrast ads and maybe even some new inquiry from mainstream media outlets.