Here's what local and elite opinion thinks of Republican presidential candidate John McCain's choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate:
"If she's only on the ticket to try to get disaffected Clinton supporters to cross over, it's a bad choice. Joe Biden may already be practicing his drop-dead line for the vice-presidential debate: "I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine, and governor, you're no Hillary Clinton."
"[It's] about McCain getting elected – not what Palin would actually bring to the job of Vice President of the United States. She is no Gore or Cheney; she is not being expected to play a significant role in a McCain White House, the way Biden surely would for Obama. But that doesn't matter unless you win ... with her selection, he has served notice that Obamamania or no, McCain will continue to be a formidable candidate right through November."
"This was, for McCain, a major decision. And we can learn from it. And here's what even his supporters must admit: Country did not come first. Polls did. Today, McCain chose his campaign over his presidency. Over our presidency. Palin seems like a promising young politician, but McCain increasingly seems like a desperate one."
"Think about the fact that the most McCain could say about his potential war-time vice-president in foreign affairs and national security when selecting her is that she commanded Alaska's National Guard as governor and has a son in the military. Think about the men and women serving this country who have every right to trust that their potential commander-in-chief, whatever their party, would have some record of even interest in foreign policy before assuming office."
"Certainly she has negatives. But then I looked around at the rest of the field that McCain could have chosen from, and there are a lot of negatives out there. Honestly, it's not like he had a lot to work with. Really, I don't think this was the worst pick his doomed campaign could have made. I admit that I would want somebody more experienced debating Joe Biden, if I were making the choice, but VP debates don't decide Presidential elections."
"It is hard to imagine a more compelling choice for this election. She brings sizzle and energy that the GOP ticket would have lacked with another white guy."
"Say what you want about Palin, but she made her political career what it is by actively campaigning against a corrupt good old boys network so repulsive that most Republicans outside Alaska would just as soon see Don Young and Ted Stevens retired forthwith. One doesn't run – and win – against said good old boys network, against party bosses, and against established incumbents unless one has confidence, tenacity, and real political talent."
"But question: If it were your decision, and you were putting your country first, would you put an untested small-town mayor a heartbeat away from the presidency?"