What an incredible night of political drama! I love a good story, and what’s happening to Sarah Palin is an amazing story.
Literally one week ago – last Wednesday – Mrs. Palin flew to Arizona and met with John McCain’s top advisers. For a job interview. The next day, McCain offered her the gig.
And tonight she stood before a revved-up Republican National Convention. She gave a speech watched by millions, perhaps tens of millions... a performance no doubt scrutinized by the whole of America’s governing class.
(The only campaign speech this year where the stakes were higher was Barack Obama’s race speech in March.)
Sarah Palin nailed it. “A star was born tonight,” said Chris Wallace of Fox News. “She’s a natural,” declared Fred Barnes.
“She is a torpedo aimed directly at the ship of Barack and Michelle Obama, that’s what she is,” said MSNBC’s Chris Matthews.
And according to a jubilant Pat Buchanan: “The Republicans have their own Obama!” Which means, ummm... you know... a celebrity.
Ain’t it funny how the game can change? I thought youthful, rock-star candidates running on their personal narratives were supposed to be ridiculed!
Nothing I saw tonight helps me get my head around the notion of Sarah Palin as a possible POTUS. But she didn’t vomit onstage or bust out crying in relief after the speech was over.
Indeed, to borrow another metaphor from St. Patrick of Buchananomics, “She pitched a shutout in the first game of the World Series!”
I was gonna refer to Gov. Palin as the “Belle of the Ball” tonight, but funk dat. This woman is loaded for moose! (Peep the caribou in that photo above. Sarah Palin killed that thing. Real photo, not a fake.)
But here’s the rub-a-dub: Now that Sarah Palin is a bona fide celebrity, the national media – from the New York Times to the National Enquirer, from talk radio to political blogs to opinion journals... heck, even fashion magazines – they are all gonna want some. Their appetite will be enormous.
Because the American public, for the foreseeable future, will want to read everything it can grab about this intriguing new character... and to hear any tidbit of information, whether substantive or salacious.
The media monster cannot be tamed or managed. Not by John McCain or anybody else. And that’s the risk he took.
McCain’s political future might very well be in the hands of a reporter who’s now in a rented car, MapQuesting his or her way toward Wasilla, Alaska.
UPDATE (09/04/08): So what’s being said about Sarah Palin on talk radio? I’m streaming 4½ minutes of yesterday’s “John and Ken Show” on my Vox blog.
John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou are the afternoon drive team at KFI, a big talk station in Los Angeles. They are hugely successful. They’re credited with leading the recall campaign that took down Democratic Gov. Gray Davis.
John and Ken aren’t partisan Republicans or doctrinaire right-wingers, but they are rabble-rousing populists. And as of yesterday, they weren’t buying the GOP hype about Palin.
Click here to listen.