One of McCain’s recurring jokes is that in the Senate he’s not known as Miss Congeniality. Well, it turns out that back in her beauty pageant days, Palin actually was Miss Congeniality.
Which is not to say Sarah Barracuda is soft. (Man, I hope they use that Heart song “Barracuda” as her intro music on the campaign trail — it’s appropriate in so many ways.) While I was familiar with her political accomplishments and a few personal details, until I read that piece in the Alaska Daily News linked above, I had no idea how compelling her biography is. Her credentials as a committed wife and mother on top of her political success are excellent and I suspect they will appeal to soccer moms and — dare I say it — those with a feminist streak. As for men, she’s a hunter and a former championship basketball player and sportscaster. She clearly knows how to connect with the overwhelmingly male electorate in her state. Also, her husband, who Palin calls “the First Dude”, is an oil worker, fisherman and three time winner of the 2,000 mile Iron Dog snowmobile race, who sounds like the kind of manly hombre NASCAR dads will appreciate.
Obviously, Palin is something of a risk. But aside from the fact she’s a woman, when it comes to selecting a G.O.P. candidate with authenticity and working class cred, Palin would be hard to beat. (Remember how giddy people were over the fact that Hillary did a beer and a shot on the trail? I suspect Palin could down a whole bottle of Wild Turkey and still hit six more campaign stops that day.) This is an admittedly informal indicator, but based on the way my inbox is filling up and my phone is ringing, nothing the McCain campaign has done to date comes close to generating the enthusiasm of the Palin pick.