from the daily kos:
I know I harp on this a lot, but it's an important teaching moment -- when Palin was picked, she debuted to sterling approval numbers. Her speech at the RNC was a big hit. She was beloved, and McCain's numbers skyrocketed as a result. This site and others went on the attack. Republicans were busy trying to build a great story about Palin -- hockey mom, "real", ate mooseburgers, reformer, blah blah blah. We fought back discussing her record, her corruption, her lack of experience, and the results of her brand of "family values".
Too many counseled that we should lay off her. It's the curse of the Democrats -- instead of trying to move public opinion, we're constantly trying to "shift the debate to more favorable terrain". That's what happened when Democrats sold out our troops and voted for Bush's war in Iraq. Supposedly, that would shift the terms of the debate from Iraq and terrorism, to more favorable domestic issues. Of course, that didn't happen. We lost big in November 2002.
Then in 2004, we once again tried to move the debate from national security (Bush is too popular there!), which would be accomplished by nominating a war hero, taking that issue "off the table". Well, Republicans, masters at this business, went straight after Kerry's strongest attribute -- his military service -- and destroyed it via the Swiftboat stuff.
They even tried it this year, going after Obama's strength -- the passion of his supporters -- by trying to brand him a "celebrity" on par with Paris Hilton. It wasn't a bad line of attack until they undermined it with the selection of Palin, their very own "celebebrity".
This is all stuff out of Crashing the Gate and Taking on the System -- our fear of targeting our opponents' strongest points. Yet that's how you win elections. So excuse me if I belabor the point, because it's an important one.
People criticized us for taking on Palin, saying that we were ignoring McCain. But she was his biggest strength, and as such, it would be tough to knock McCain down if she wasn't knocked down first.
Ultimately, we were successful beyond our wildest dreams -- the McCain campaign has been forced to stash away Palin in Cheney's undisclosed location, and even needs McCain to chaperone her during media interviews.
This has forced McCain to shoulder a greater load of the campaign, deprived of a top-level surrogate. This was glaringly obvious during the first presidential debate, when Biden was all over the networks spreading the good Democratic cheer, while they stashed Palin in a Philly bar. And even there, she was unable to stay out of trouble, answering a shouted question by some random dude with an endorsement of Obama's plan to take out Osama Bin Laden even if found hiding in Pakistan.
So I hope this serves a lesson to the likes of Paul Begala, in the party establishment, and way too many bloggers outside it, who thought focusing on Palin was harmful to our efforts. It wasn't. A popular Palin would've given us far less favorable dynamics in this race. Thankfully, that isn't something we have to worry about.