As Mike says, the GOP base does seem to be thrilled. What’s more, as Hillary Clinton strategist Ann Lewis told me: “They have served notice they are definitely going to compete for women voters.”
Sarah Palin may turn out to be a brilliant campaigner. But I’m skeptical how well this choice will work in winning over those disaffected Hillary Clinton voters. It overlooks the fact that these grieving Clinton’s supporters believe their candidate was the most qualified person in the race. Their anger is based, in part, on a belief that if Clinton hadn’t been a woman, she would be the nominee.
This feels more like the opposite, a Geraldine Ferraro play if you will. Palin’s resume, while impressive, is brief, and it’s hard to imagine that she would be on the ticket if she weren’t a woman. I was flipping channels on my Frontier Airlines flight back to DC (love those little TVs) and was struck by how, on CNN, Kay Bailey Hutchison pretty much drew a blank on Palin’s qualifications, and finally had to say she didn’t know much about her. On Fox, Carl Cameron referred to her several times as “Susan.”
UPDATE: This won’t help either. Over at Brand X, Karen Breslau reports:
Once onstage, together with Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano, Palin talked about what women expect from women leaders; how she took charge in Alaska during a political scandal that threatened to unseat the state’s entire Republican power structure, and her feelings about Sen. Hillary Clinton. (She said she felt kind of bad she couldn’t support a woman, but she didn’t like Clinton’s “whining.”)
UPDATE2: And as Jake Tapper notes, the surprise choice seemed to have knocked the Obama campaign at least temporarily off balance.