Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty may have made more sense from a strategic point of view. Palin was such an unexpected and historic choice that it totally big foots the media train around Obama's nomination train. No one is talking about Obama's speech and nomination. It's as if last night didn't happen.
Palin has strong social conservative credentials, is the darling of the evangelical and pro-life movement, and, is a woman. That is much more than enough to re-energize the right-wing, bring out the Republican faithful, and, wedge more than a few votes. Palin is also being re-packaged as a moderate environmentalist and "smart" on oil and energy. Nothing that laugh at when the price of gas is going up and the country is facing choices on drilling.
Palin's resume is paper-thin but she doesn't undermine McCain's experience argument. She neutralizes it. Bay Buchanan and Amy Holmes are already on CNN promoting Palin as "a new Republican" for independent women.
Palin should be handled with respect. If Democrats mock the experience of the Republican's first female vice presidential nominee—the day after McCain placed an ad to congratulate Obama?—it becomes "fairytale" part deux. Many women will probably become just as uncomfortable seeing Palin's qualifications debated as many blacks were uncomfortable when Obama's experience was knocked. Republicans and conservative puindits are already accusing the Democrats of sexism and connecting this to the horrible, sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton. It's a smart move because Clinton attracted many Republican women in the primaries.
Sarah Palin has just as much "experience" as Virginia's gay-baiting first term Gov. Tim Kaine or the clueless Republican lite first term Sen. Claire McCaskill. Both were promoted as serious vice presidential options by the Obama campaign and the media. Oh, and championed by numerous "progressives" and readers of this blog. (Check comments.) If you want to criticize the Republican vice presidential nominee, go after her wingnut positions or her this-close relationship with the evangelicals and social conservatives. Criticizing Sarah Palin's perceived lack of experience will not be a winning argument.