Say what you will about Sarah Palin (and a lot of us have said a lot): When crunch time came at the Republican National Convention Wednesday night, the self-professed hockey mom seized the moment and stole the show.
GOP Presidential nominee John McCain might have trouble living up to the performance his vice presidential pick delivered.
Palin wowed the convention audience of Republican faithful and also the vast majority of pundits and observers: Blunt, forceful, funny, sarcastic and searing, she stayed on point and message. She calls herself a "gal" but proved she can play with the big boys on the political stage.
Impressed? Yes, I was. The Sarah Palin that strode confidently onto the stage in the Twin Cities was a far cry from the image created by the left-wing blogosphere and Democratic attack squads. It’s easy to see why she is a rising star in Alaskan political circles and now the national Republican scene.
Serious questions still remain on the true character of Palin, just as they do about Barack Obama. Both remain relative unknowns on the national stage. But anyone who thought Joe Biden would send her weeping from the stage at the upcoming Vice Presidential debate is living in a delusional world. Biden will have his hands full.
Like Biden, Palin will serve as her party’s attack dog. She went after Obama like a wolf hound on a rampage. Unlike Biden, she is not a politician of the past but something the Republican Party has lacked for years: A fresh, young face that could rally first time voters to the GOP side of the fence.
Still, Palin will have trouble delivering the disenchanted throngs of Hillary Clinton supporters who swear they will never, ever vote for Obama. She’s pro-life and as extreme on the right as Biden is on the left. Palin supporters like to call her a "maverick," but – in the end – she is still a rabid right wing fanatic who spouts the ultra-conservative Republican Party line.
Democrats who left Denver thinking this election will be a cake walk for the party of the jackass now realize that Campaign ’08 will, in all likelihood, be another down to the wire election where a sharply-divided electorate rallies behind party lines.
With two months to go, anything can happen but Palin looks more and more like a smart choice for John McCain. She is youth that an aging candidate needs. She is passionate where McCain is dour. She is energy where he is tired.
Fasten your seat belts. This is going to be one hell of a ride.