I visited four state delegations on Sunday in search of delegates and I couldn’t find anyone who wasn’t completely thrilled with John McCain’s pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for his running mate.
Now, I have seen some political spin in my day, so I know that some of it is that, just as the Democrats all got in line and said how much they liked Joe Biden (though there were some Hillary delegates who said she would have been a better choice.)
But what struck me about the Palin choice were the stories that came from back home, of phones ringing off the hook and people wanting to get involved in the campaign.
That noise was the sound of some members of the Conservative Base of the GOP getting off the couch and deciding to get involved in this election.
And that could well be a critical happening for McCain in November.
While Democrats were ready to heap criticism on the Palin choice with operations here in Minnesota, those have now been shelved because of the focus on Gustav.
As I wrote in one of my other blogs today, oddly enough, all these different happenings with Gustav might just give Palin some room to breathe, and prevent the creation of a Dan Quayle style media uproar.
But at the Four Points Sheraton, the Radisson, the Marriott Minneapolis Airport and other delegate hotels, there was this odd sense that Palin’s choice was not a Hail Mary, that it was not desperation, that it was not a gamble.
Instead, it was something that ginned up excitement among Republicans, some of whom had been as interested in a McCain candidacy as going to the dentist for a root canal.
Yeah, Palin could still be a disaster, or someone who doesn’t really help the ticket. But if she can motivate evangelicals and other more Conservative voters to back John McCain, then his chances to win do improve.
Don’t write this one off too quickly. I think this is a classic Red vs Blue kind of argument. The Wal Mart voters versus the Neiman Marcus crowd back East. Inside the Beltway versus Outside the Beltway. Country Rube versus City Slicker.