Like most of the four hundred or so other conservatives who watched last night's debate at the Patriot Debate Party at Trocaderos in downtown Minneapolis, I was quite relieved with Sarah Palin's performance and thought she more than exceeded expectations (however low they may have recently become). While some are put off by her folksy demeanor,I think that it has appeal for a good part of the country, especially since it appears to be quite authentic. Giving a shout out during a debate may have made some pundits cringe, but I think ordinary Americans can relate to her genuine excitement at simply having the opportunity.
She definitely had the crowd at Trocaderos revved up and once again she's been able to inject some energy into the recently moribund McCain campaign. By the way, if you weren't able to make it last night you really should try to attend the next free Patriot debate party at the same location on Wednesday, October 15th (you can RSVP and get more details here). Don't be put off by the fact that Trocaderos is in downtown Minneapolis or worry about parking. The club is in the Warehouse District and extremely easy to get to. On street parking in the area is ample and free (yes, I'm looking at you Saint Paul). Bartenders and waitresses were plentiful and easy to access. Judging by the fact that Mitch and Ed made multiple trips through the free appetizer line (budding to the front every time and asking "Do you know who I am?" if anyone dared question their privilege), the food must have tasty too.
The problem for McCain is that while Palin's performance can temporarily help recharge the base, it's going to be up to him to build on that momentum and carry it up until Election Day. So far, his campaign hasn't proven up to the task in that regard. Palin won't lose the election for him, but she can't win it either. Some of the themes that she touched on last night hold the promise for potentially reversing the rising Obama tide, but in order to take advantage of the opportunity McCain's going to have get outside his comfort zone and his campaign is going to have show far more focus and discipline than they have up to this point. More on exactly what McCain must do to avoid a defeat that looks more and more likely on Monday.