Sarah was terrific, especially in the second half. But I confess: I worry about the first half.
I almost turned the TV off in disgust 15 minutes in, when she blamed the credit crisis on predatory lenders — nothing about irresponsible borrowers, nothing about the Carter/Clinton Community Reinvestment Act, and, most of all, nothing about Fannie/Freddie and Dem bigwigs whose pattern of fraud and kickbacks would make Enron execs blush. And her ode to diplomacy with Iran — which Biden jumped on in one of his stronger points of the night — was disheartening.
The thing to bear in mind, and for the McCain campaign especially to bear in mind, is that Palin is weakest where she is shackled to McCain. Loyalty is big in my book, and Sarah is duly mindful of the opportunity McCain has given her — she’s loyal. But when it comes to the base McCain must galvanize — the base that loves her and is suspicious of him — she’s more valuable to McCain when she doesn’t sound like she’s reading his script.
Palin makes a big deal about not being on the same page as McCain on ANWR. But that tells people she has leeway to part company with him on other issues if she disagrees. Therefore, when she doesn’t part company, one assumes she must agree. Now obviously, that’s not how it works in the real world — veeps can only disagree with their principals on so many things before the arrangement becomes counterproductive. Still, I can’t help thinking what a lights-out star Palin would be if she didn’t need to conform to McCain’s idiosyncrasies. It’s going to inhibit her and annoy us.