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Reacting to Palin

5

My gut reaction to John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate?

I love it.

Oh, I have no idea if I’ll like Palin as a candidate. I know she is socially conservative, which isn’t my thing. And I know she’s a reformer, which is very much my thing. So I’ll give her a fair shake.

But I love the selection because it’s bold. Risky too. I don’t think Tim Pawlenty or Mitt Romney would have changed the game at all. In fact, I think they would have calcified the Republican ticket and the election would have become a battle of margins and small maneuvers. Now? Now it’s an election. Even us political junkies don’t know an awful lot about Palin, other than what we’ve read. We’ve certainly had almost no chance to see her in action.

Can she be the kind of independent woman who attracts oh, I don’t know, Hillary Clinton supporters? Will she bomb like Dan Quayle? Did McCain find a smart, tough running mate or did he overreach and pick a lightweight? We don’t know. We’ll have to wait.

But what we do know is this: McCain is sending a signal that, despite the pandering he’s done in recent years, he doesn’t want to be a stay-the-course president. He wants to shake things up in Washington. Even if Palin were a man, the selection would still be a clear sign that McCain doesn’t plan to shelve his maverick, reform-minded attitudes.

But, of course, Palin is not a man. Which makes McCain’s choice even bolder. And historic. No matter how this election turns out, the winning ticket will make significant American history. Significant.

This election just got a lot more exciting.