Jennifer Rubin asks, “what are they thinking?” “They” is “a certain set of Republican punditsâ€“-e.g., George Will-â€“which was highly critical of the Sarah Palin pick” because it struck them as an overly opportunistic instance of identity politics. “What must they be thinking now,” Jennifer wonders, “as the tidal wave of Palinism has swept through the Xcel Center?”
I don’t know what they are thinking. As one who voiced these concerns when “Palinism” was beginning to sweep through the Xcel Center, here’s what I’m thinking:
I’m thinking that if this turns out to be the one vice presidential pick in (what?) 50 that wins an election for a party, then McCain’s selection of Palin will have been vindicated. If Palin turns out to be the one vice presidential nominee in (what?) two whose running mate wins, and does so without relying on his vice presidential nominee, then the selection of Palin, who will be a heartbeat from the presidency, will remain a questionable one.
And the fact that “Palinism” “swept through the Xcel Center” in early September will have been meaningless.
UPDATE: Two points of clarification. First, the odds that Palin’s selection will be outcome-determinative in a victory for her party are greater than the “historical” odds — this is not your average pick — though not as great as the odds that it won’t be. Second, Palinism is by no means confined to the Xcel Center.
JOHN adds: Paul has been a bit skeptical of the convention from time to time, but he’ll cheer up when he learns that Joe Gibbs will be one of the speakers tonight.
PAUL adds: I feel better already, though I’ll probably be watching the Redskins vs. the Giants when Coach Gibbs is on.
UPDATE: David Frum belongs to the “pundit set” Jennifer is curious about. Here is what he is thinking.