Head Winds: Palin a Hit With the Base, but Outside Pressures Leave Clouds Over RNC

One way to measure energy: "Sen. John McCain has taken in $7 million in contributions since announcing Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, a top campaign aide said today," per The Washington Post's Matthew Mosk. "The money bounce may owe to Palin's appeal with conservative donors, many of whom said privately they had planned on sitting out the campaign this year."

We've been here before: Palin's selection "represents a clear attempt to exploit a culture gap in the presidential race -- reviving a tactic that the Bush-Cheney team used to great effect in 2004," per ABC News.

Want proof that even Palin didn't know she was on any short lists? "I'm a mom, and my son is going to get deployed in September, and we better have a real clear plan for this war," Palin told The New Yorker's Philip Gourevitch just weeks ago. "And it better not have to do with oil and dependence on foreign energy."

Want proof that she needs to work on her talking points? "A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made," Palin told Newsmax for the conservative magazine's September issue.

Pat Buchanan remembers her all too well: Palin "was a brigader in 1996 as was her husband . . . they were at a fundraiser for me, she's a terrific gal, she's a rebel reformer," Buchanan told Chris Matthews.

Per ABC's Jake Tapper, the McCain campaign is pushing back. "Governor Palin has never worked for any effort to elect Pat Buchanan -- that assertion is completely false," says McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb.

Will she fly? "The problem is that politics, like all professions, isn't as easy as it looks," Newsweek's Jonathan Alter writes. "Palin's odds of emerging unscathed this fall are slim. In fact, she's been all but set up for failure."

Maureen Dowd: "The movie ends with the former beauty queen shaking out her pinned-up hair, taking off her glasses, slipping on ruby red peep-toe platform heels that reveal a pink French-style pedicure, and facing down Vladimir Putin in an island in the Bering Strait. Putting away her breast pump, she points her rifle and informs him frostily that she has some expertise in Russia because it's close to Alaska."

Unless: "A spectre is haunting the liberal elites of New York and Washington -- the spectre of a young, attractive, unapologetic conservatism, rising out of the American countryside, free of the taint (fair or unfair) of the Bush administration and the recent Republican Congress, able to invigorate a McCain administration and to govern beyond it," Bill Kristol writes in The Weekly Standard.

Not a great comparison: "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin faces a getting-to-know-you process as the Republican vice presidential candidate, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds: Most Americans say they've never heard of her," USA Today's Susan Page writes.

"There is also wide uncertainty about whether she's qualified to be president. In the poll, taken Friday, 39% say she is ready to serve as president if needed, 33% say she isn't and 29% have no opinion. That's the lowest vote of confidence in a running mate since the elder George Bush chose then-Indiana senator Dan Quayle to join his ticket in 1988. In comparison, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden was seen as qualified by 57%-18% after Democrat Barack Obama chose him as a running mate last week."

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