What if adding an anti-old-boys-network, corruption-decrying, new-politics woman to the GOP ticket turns out not only to have been a strategic mistake for McCain -- but actually helps keep Washington's quintessential corrupt, old-politics sleazeball in office?

Right after Palin was tapped, some tittered that her selection as McCain's veep could help Alaska Senator Ted Stevens, and now it looks like that's indeed happening. The Seattle Times's excellent Hal Bernton, who co-wrote a fantastic story on Sarah Palin's Wasilla years, reports:

Political observers in Alaska say that Stevens has received a significant boost from an unexpected source — Palin — whose presence on the national ticket appears to be energizing the state's conservative base for a strong showing at the polls in November. ...
Alaska pollster Ivan Moore said he doubts that Stevens will prevail in November if he's found guilty. Other political observers believe Stevens, even if convicted on all seven felony counts, could be pulled along by Palin, and still be re-elected.
"It's one of the fabulous ironies of all this," said Donald Mitchell, an Anchorage attorney and author of two historical books on Alaska. "With Palin on the ticket, I think it will bring out every Republican and every right-of-center independent voter. It's going to be close, but I'm now betting on Ted."

I don't have any fondness for Ted Stevens, but a part of me is rooting for Ted, too, because the irony would be, as Mitchell put it, fabulous. Will Stevens throw Palin a thank-you party?

--Eve Fairbanks