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Palin Power

Well at least the next two months should be interesting.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Sarah Palin proved herself a heckuva speaker. She's homey, feisty, fetching, irreverent, and an adroit peddler of that bracing brand of reverse snobbery that Americans find so charming. I personally found the early focus on her family disconcerting in light of how much we've all been lectured this week about the inappropriateness of focusing on a candidate's family. But hey, it's her family. She can spotlight them however she likes.

Nothing in the substance of Palin's speech struck me as particularly noteworthy. It put a high-powered spin on her exceedingly thin resume and then dished out large chunks of red meat to the faithful. Immediately afterward, the commentators I was listening too were surprised by how harsh Palin had been on Obama. But a VP candidate is supposed to be an attack dog. What, they assumed that because she resembles a grown-up Gidget that she couldn't throw a punch? Talk about a misguided sterotype. If anything, being an attractive woman means that she can be far, far more vicious than her male counterparts without coming across as brutish--and, just as importantly, without having to worry so much about getting slapped back.  

A lot of Dems will go to bed nervous tonight. They should. Palin is still a political lightweight who is in no way qualified to be second in line for the presidency. But she is a charming lightweight. And if George W. Bush taught us anything, it is exactly how far that can take you in American politics.  

--Michelle Cottle

Related: More from TNR on Sarah Palin's Big Convention Speech