Dare I Say… Brilliant?

I hesitate to call John McCain–or anything about his campaign–brilliant, but on the day after Sarah Palin’s introduction, his running mate selection is starting to look like exactly that. I don’t know if it was brilliant on purpose or just accidentally, but you can’t argue with the results so far.

First of all, McCain finally did something to acknowledge that there’s actually a right wing of the Republican party, and they can vote! Palin gives conservatives someone they can get excited about voting for. She supports them on all the issues they care about, but without the baggage of a career spent chasing after the approval of liberal politicians and glowing, soft-focus profiles in Vanity Fair.

And speaking of our liberal brethren, with this pick, the McCain campaign is working them so adroitly that I almost can’t believe they’re doing it on purpose. It’s almost too good.

Sarah Palin’s very existence vexes liberals, because she contradicts their whole reason for being. THEY’RE the women’s party; THEY’RE the ones who have spent a lifetime fighting for the rights of the downtrodden vaginal-American community. If a women can succeed and prosper without needing them, their social programs, or their dogma, then what are they good for? When she was just a hick governor above the Arctic Circle or wherever, it didn’t matter. But now she’s in front of the whole world, disrupting their narrative of what women are supposed to be. She’s Clarence Thomas in a skirt. So, she must be destroyed.

On top of her political positions, there are a whole passel of reasons the mainstream media just find Palin icky. Jonathan Last has a good summary here.

It’s almost like the Republicans goaded the press into attacking her. Not only is she a conservative woman (how can that be?), she’s got a whole mess of kids (overpopulation!), one of them has Down Syndrome (should’ve been aborted!!), and her teenage daughter is pregnant (Scandal! Scandal! Scandal!). And the attacks began immediately, as vicious and underhanded as they could possibly be.

But in the face of these attacks, the conservative base, apathetic about McCain up til now, rallied around Palin like she was Jimmy Chitwood at the end of Hoosiers. I have seen more than one commentator–not just casual observers, but jaded, world-weary conservative policy mongers–compare Palin’s acceptance speech to Reagan. Reagan!

Did the McCain campaign foresee this chain of events? The attacks, and then the backlash that’s whipping conservatives into a frenzy? If they’re that smart, then I’m starting to feel better about a McCain presidency.

But one can never underestimate the ham-fisted ignorance of the Democratic party and liberal media. I still think that if the Republicans had to run against sensible people, they’d get crushed. Lucky for them, they only run against Democrats. As the great Mark Steyn says:

I would like to thank the US media for doing such a grand job this last week of lowering expectations by portraying Governor Palin – whoops, I mean Hick-Burg Mayor Palin – as a hillbilly know-nothing permapregnant ditz, half of whose 27 kids are the spawn of a stump-toothed uncle who hasn’t worked since he was an extra in Deliverance.

How’s that narrative holding up, geniuses? Almost as good as your “devoted husband John Edwards” routine?

I trust even now Maureen Dowd is working on a hilarious new column mocking proposed names for the Governor’s first grandchild. Perhaps Richard Cohen can just take the week off and they can rerun his insightful analysis comparing the Palin nomination to Caligula making his horse a consul. Whereas we sophisticates all know that if McCain were as smart as Obama he’d have nominated a dead horse to be his consul. No wait…