Who is running at the top of the GOP presidential ticket? The stories are squarely focused on vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. Palin is parodied on Saturday night live. Eyeglasses sell because of Palin. Montana gubernatorial candidate Roy Brown is praising Palin. Who needs John McCain, anyway? Not the crowds at his stump speeches.
While picking the Alaska governor as his running mate has certainly fired up the GOP base, it has also shown that few of them were ever really that interested in the senior senator from Arizona. In Ohio, “A slow but steady trickle of supporters began to file out after Palin’s speech introducing McCain.” In Michigan, one supporter quipped, “Here’s to Sarah Palin and the old guy.”
The benefits outweigh the costs of the Palin pick. And she may well tip competitive states, such as Montana and Colorado, in the GOP’s favor. The fervent support resembles that for Barack Obama when he peaked, before his promises of change grew a bit stale and before, as they say, he was “fully vetted.”
But Palin is certainly being asked to shoulder a heavy burden. Republican incumbents and challengers on several levels are pinning their hopes of victory on her popularity. Brown, who has an uphill battle in the governor’s race, said Palin appeals to Montana because “she talks like us, she sounds like us and she does things like us.”
I’m not sure that’s the best argument for her candidacy. Nonetheless, Brown is asking McCain, or Palin, or both to visit the Big Sky State. But, like his peers in the Republican Party, it’s not hard to figure who he would prefer.
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