First off, I note that this is how you evaluate a political opponent. He has taken careful inventory of everything she brings to the table and is looking at her the way, say, an undecided voter would. He isn't looking to criticize her but to defeat her, which is something different than having the right policies.
The Democrats are in trouble. Sarah Palin has totally changed the dynamics of this campaign.
Palin's speech to the GOP National Convention on Wednesday has set it up so that the Republicans are now on offense and Democrats are on defense. And we don't do well on defense.
Suddenly, Palin and John McCain are the mavericks and Barack Obama and Joe Biden are the status quo, in a year when you don't want to be seen as defending the status quo.
From taxes to oil drilling, Democrats are now going to have to start explaining their positions.
Whenever you start having to explain things, you're on defense.
I actually went back and watched Palin's speech a second time. I didn't go to sleep until 1:30 a.m. I had to make sure I got the lines right.
Her timing was exquisite. She didn't linger with applause, but instead launched into line after line of attack, slipping the knives in with every smile and joke.
And she delivered it like she was just BS-ing on the street with the meter maid.
She didn't have to prove she was "of the people." She really is the people.
There is one thing she should have done: announced when her 17-year-old daughter and the teenage father of the girl's unborn child are getting married and invited all of us to the wedding. It should be like Sunday at church.
As for Palin herself, she is going to be very, very effective on the campaign trail, especially if McCain's people can figure out how to gently keep her from getting into confrontations with the press.
If she can answer questions like she handled herself at the convention, Palin will turn out to be the most interesting person in all of politics, and the press will treat her like they treated Obama when he was first discovered.
And remember, the Palin bandwagon needs to roll for only two months.
Palin floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee
The next point is what he starts the commentary with - that this is trouble for the Democrats. He can say this because he has evaluated what is in front of him the way a voter would, and then stepped back to put that into the context of Democratic strategy.
Why is this trouble? Because Democrats are on the defensive. The Republican ticket has made a bold move because that is their only strategy for winning, and it looks like it paid off. The boldness is not just picking this VP, but in grabbing away the Democratic messages and forcing the Dems to have to explain what their change is, why they are hope, just how they're going to deal with the energy crisis, etc.
Willie Brown said something I've been thinking the last few days, that Palin is like nothing so much as Obama himself at this time last year, a fresh new face that the press finds endlessly fascinating. Unlike Obama, she only has to keep that presentation going for nine more weeks and one debate where Biden is already hamstrung due to the rabid response of the Obamacans.
This is one of the reasons why I think any state that is tepidly blue is in danger of flipping. Palin doesn't have to be a great or even decent VP; she only has to be an effective campaigner from now through election day.