Now it can be told.
Palin is likeable, charming even. She is a naturally gifted campaigner, a thing of wonder to anyone who has experience in retail politics. Even her talent for evasion when necessary is a gift in the world of politics.
Palin is personally admirable in many ways. The attacks on her that have come from Obamaphiles have been wrongheaded and unduly nasty. The fascination with her is near-universal. Got to any political blog with comboxes. The number of comments on Palin articles is much higher than on most other subjects.
The criticism based on inexperience is also overstated. As others have observed, Sen. Obama is not much more experienced than she, and the experience of a Biden, being wrong for 35 years and proud of it, has little to recommend it. Dick Cheney took office as one of the most experienced Vice Presidents ever, but for those who dislike what he has done, his experience may be a negative, because without it, his bureaucratic maneuvers might have failed more often.
Where the inexperience issue is most concerning is in foreign affairs, which to a governor have little importance, the narrowness of the Bering Strait notwithstanding. To a President, on the other hand, world affairs are critical. Although I dislike the fact and would change it in important respects if I could, we are up to our neck in foreign political entanglements, and the economy and ecosystem are globalized. Here, she’s a tyro. This gap can be bridged in a few years; one does learn something being briefed for the ceremonial duties of a Vice President and participating in the councils of government. The rub is that the gap is being bridged by the crazy neocons, whose madness appears to have no antidote in Palin’s universe. Lacking such an antidote, she will be infected with the bellicosity of John McCain, which could become ingrained, rather than an aspect of the unconditional loyalty Vice Presidents owe to their Chief.
In short, the problem is John McCain, and what the GOP has become. The choice of Palin does not change the game, even if it makes the play more entertaining.