Okay. I've had time to process this morning's news; I've had time to read a few opinions and mull things over; most importantly, I've had time for plenty of strong black tea.
And none of that reasoned, sober attempt at thoughtful analysis is wiping the stupid grin off of my face.
I think Rod Dreher put it pretty well when he said, "Suddenly, I have a new reason to be interested in this campaign. My Derbyshirian gloom has been ever so slightly ameliorated by a ray of Alaska sunshine." I'd have to agree; up until this morning I didn't think I could vote for McCain at all. Now--it's at least a possibility, and even if I still vote for a third-party candidate over big government/big war concerns, I won't be surprised or disappointed if the McCain/Palin team locks the Texas vote up tighter than a Dan Rather camera head shot back in the day.
I realize that a few concerns about Palin are being raised. One, of course, is her experience level, but in a race where the Democratic opponent is a single-term U.S. Senator who had a single-term in the Illinois Senate prior to that, it's going to be pretty hard to take such concerns all that seriously.
Another thing I've been hearing whispers about is that she might be a bit "soft" on gay issues. But her record of opposition to same-sex marriage seems pretty straightforward, and if "soft" translates to "treating same-sex afflicted people with the human dignity all people deserve," then Catholics are supposed to be equally "soft." The funny thing is that should it transpire that Gov. Palin is actually in favor of some things the Church opposes, like partner benefits, I get the idea that she'd listen to people like me as to why we oppose those things; she comes across as a straight shooter.
Against such things, which haven't even materialized, we see her strong pro-life stance, her beautiful family, her reputation for integrity and effective leadership, her high approval rating among her Alaskan constituents, and her incredible bio, which includes a second place finish in the Miss Alaska contest, a college degree with a major in journalism and a minor in politics, and a stint as a sports reporter at the same time she was working with her husband, her high school sweetheart, in the commercial fishing industry. Her political record is equally impressive, given her commitment to reducing corruption everywhere she's been; and through it all she's been the kind of mom who took her nursing infants to work with her, most especially her two youngest, who have accompanied her to work in the governor's mansion.
Down to earth, genuine, adventurous, with boundless energy and determination, strong values and integrity, a leader who still manages to be there for her five children, Sarah Palin reminds me of lots of women I admire, some of whom are relatives of mine (and I think you know who you are).
And if it was even possible to inject some energy and enthusiasm into what was starting to seem like a moribund and lackluster campaign, the choice of Sarah Palin for vice president seems brilliantly inspired.
The two names most discussed yesterday, Pawlenty and Romney, were safer picks (though some readers have shared good details about Pawlenty). But even if the Pawlenty pick would have been a good thing generally, there's no way it could have compared to the message McCain's pick of Palin sends to social conservatives and to those who care more about reforming corrupt politics on both sides of the aisle than on maintinging one party or the other's status quo. Obama, for instance, has talked quite a bit about reforming Washington, but unlike Palin he is a Washington insider who has never actually reformed government. Palin has an actual record of rooting out corruption, and hasn't been hamstrung by the inside-the-Beltway myopia that soon afflicts the most Mr. Smith-ian of reform congressmen or women.
Can we reform government? Sarah Palin seems to ask. Yes, we can. Only in her case, it's more than words.