My first impression of Sarah Palin, McCain's VP pick, is that she is a sharp, confident woman. On a sense of life level, she looks focused on reality, and that is entirely admirable. She is likable.
She is not an intellectual. This promises that she will be, ultimately, ineffectual. We will get from her just more of the same. Yes, she speaks about reform and cleaning up government, but without ideology, it can't be done. Without a conscious, explicit understanding of the ideal of laissez-faire capitalism, one cannot fight for it. In the end, government will continue to grow under McCain-Palin.
George W. Bush is, like Palin, a nonintellectual -- he has even sneered at all that book larnin'. His Christian altruism led him to be a big government Republican. One question we need to find out is just how serious a Christian she is (I'm assuming she is Christian). The more religious she is, the worse she will turn out to be. As an athlete, sportswoman and political activist, she seems to be more focused on this world than any supernatural realm; let's hope so, anyway.
Since her boss, John McCain is a committed "national greatness" Republican and a thorough statist, Palin will have to go along with his vision. She will make little difference in the next four years.
I don't think she will get any Hillary voters just because she is a woman. They're smarter than that. Hardcore Democrats won't vote for a Republican. This morning I spoke to a staunch Hillary supporter, a woman, about McCain's choice and she had nothing but contempt for Palin. All that blather about breaking glass ceilings and "the first woman vice-president" is meaningless in the end. Palin is a Republican, and that's all that matters to the Democrat base.
2012: Clinton vs. Palin? It certainly could happen.
UPDATE: From Chuck in the comments:
According to Wikipedia, Palin supported teaching creationism is public schools in Alaska. She led her high school basketball team in prayers before every game. She is pro-life. She's an environmentalist, who wants to legislate against industries that contribute to "global warming."
She is supposedly in favor of drilling for oil in ANWR, but as she is an environmentalist, I expect she will inevitably cave in to environmentalists on that issue, as well.
On another note, I can't believe the Obama campaign's first reaction to the Palin pick was to sneer at her for growing up in a small town. Do they want to alienate John Mellencamp, too? The entire Obama campaign is deep, deep in the liberal cocoon. Not a good sign for them.