Count me as one of the people who was deeply underwhelmed by Obama’s speech last night, and underwhelmed as well by the entire convention. McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin (assuming it’s confirmed) is a brilliant first counter-stroke. She helps the ticket on so many different fronts: she gives women who are angry about Hillary being passed over another reason to vote McCain; she gives fence-sitting whites who feel they “ought” to vote for Obama because of the historic nature of his candidacy an excuse to find history on the other side; she burnishes McCain’s credentials as an independent, reform candidate; she restores McCain’s credibility on energy and environmental issues, where Obama personally feels most comfortable going on the attack; she will generate enthusiasm among evangelicals among whom Obama was hoping to make inroads; she absolutely locks down the gun-rights vote (where McCain needed to play a bit of defense against Barr); she helps McCain in the Mountain West (Colorado and Montana) where he cannot afford to lose any states (except New Mexico); she neutralizes Biden in the debates (if he comes out zinging, he’ll seem ungentlemanly); and, most important, she makes McCain seem bold, future-oriented, and in control of his Administration, where Obama has seemed timid, defensive and unable to control his own party.
From the beginning, this has been the Democrats’ election to lose. For the first time, I feel like they might actually lose it.