On-target as usual, the inimitable Peggy Noonan [emphasis added]:
The Sarah Palin choice is really going to work, or really not going to work. It’s not going to be a little successful or a little not; it’s not going to be a wash. She is either going to be magic or one of history’s accidents. She is either going to be brilliant and groundbreaking, or will soon be the target of unattributed quotes by bitter staffers shifting blame…
Because she jumbles up so many cultural categories, because she is a feminist not in the Yale Gender Studies sense but the How Do I Reload This Thang way, because she is a woman who in style, history, moxie and femininity is exactly like a normal American feminist and not an Abstract Theory feminist; because she wears makeup and heels and eats mooseburgers and is Alaska Tough, as Time magazine put it; because she is conservative, and pro-2nd Amendment and pro-life; and because conservatives can smell this sort of thing — who is really one of them and who is not — and will fight to the death for one of their beleaguered own; because of all of this she is a real and present danger to the American left, and to the Obama candidacy.
She could become a transformative political presence. So they are going to have to kill her, and kill her quick.
As I wrote yesterday (before reading Noonan’s column, which came out today):
…the very fact of [Palin's] being the GOP VP nominee ‘breaks’ the primary narrative (outdated caricature, really) on which the media, the Democrat party and the left in general have come to rely — a narrative based, quite ironically, on the worst kind of group stereotyping… It takes years to change such a broad narrative in any meaningful way. Thus, their only option is to destroy Palin before she can build up a more meaningful, nuanced, national reputation.
One of the questions Noonan asks, further down in the piece linked above, is whether Palin can ‘take it’– that is, the attempts to personally destroy and to metaphorically kill her. (God forbid someone with a really bad BDS hangover tries the actual, physical version, but it’s always possible. Some on the left would like to paint the current climate as somehow equivalent to the late 1960s and we all know how that ended up.)
I strongly suspect that she can, that she will (be tough and ‘take it’, that is) and that she will not go about doing so in a rope-a-dope, loss-minimizing kind of way. As a mentor of mine liked to say: you don’t score points on defense. She is no shrinking violet, that much seems clear.
I suspect McCain saw in her some quality — some deep, optimistic but realistic toughness that he may not have needed to put into words or explain to his staffers. Something which resonated deep in his bones. He saw a bit of whatever it was that saw him through long bleak nights on cold floors, jungle rot and mosquitoes, Viet Cong beatings and head-games, lice-filled mattresses and maggot-infested food for seven long years. Something he knows was not there in those who lost hope and gave up and were dumped in the jungle somewhere.
Call it faith. Call it toughness. Call it resilience. I suspect it’s some combination of all of those.
One related point… Something that’s gotten short-shrift in the debate about her experience (because many people don’t understand the distinction) is the kind of experience she has, how that differs from Obama’s or Biden’s and how it increases her likelihood of success and effectiveness in the campaign and in office.
To be precise: she has been an executive – a role that includes, but does not end with the kind of resilience I’ve just described. As Rudy Giuliani put it last night: “When you’re President of the United States, you can’t just vote ‘present. You must make decisions.” He should know. He might have added: with inadequate information, without precedent, under intense pressure, with no one to hide behind or blame if you’re wrong. You don’t get that in one term as a legislator. It’s telling that Obama feels compelled to compare his experience to hers. She might be president if something happens to McCain. Obama will be president four and a half short months unless something happens to McCain. Something like Sarah Palin.