FiveThirtyEight on Palin

Nate Silver, at FiveThirtyEight, liveblogging from the Republican VP announcement,

Great visual: Palin walking out with her daughter. Not-so-great visual: Palin embracing McCain and looking like his daughter.

I had the same reaction to their age differential, and for all the reasons she might be a good VP choice--how she comes off to people in public appearances may matter more than what the pundits write about her--this is potentially a problem.

More from Silver:

Because it isn't really an argument about experience per se. It's an argument about whether she meets the basic threshold test of voters feeling comfortable with having her as President. Experience is a part of that, but so are essentially the aesthetics of it: picturing a young, attractive, kooky, female governor from Alaska who has an accent straight out of Fargo in the White House is going to be a much bigger leap for many voters than picturing Barack Obama there.

At a minimum, I'm looking forward to seeing how Jon Stewart, Conan O'Brien, and Jay Leno work Palin into their routines.

Based on early polls, it's starting to seem like Palin's selection won't make a difference to any of the entrenched Democratic or Republican voters. But this is before she's made her speech at the RNC. That's going to pull some serious ratings.

If the Republican VP search committee thought through their choice, and I'm sure they did, Palin seems like a choice designed to draw Obama supporters into outrage and ridicule, and so far it's worked (yours truly guilty as anyone).

But the Obama and Clinton reaction to her selection seems the better approach. Don't attack her on experience, or run the equivalent of McCain's "Celebrity" ads, attack her on issues. Leave the ridicule to the late night talk show hosts and comedians, and take the high ground. McCain is the candidate, and he provides enough target area for the Democratic Party to set up an entire firing range, from his houses to his weak grasp of economics to his policy shifts in the last eight years. If Palin is a liability, voters will be able to connect the dots themselves.

It's hard not to stave off a nagging fatalism on many things in life this year. The Cubs are playing well, but that only means we Cubs fans have to lash ourselves a few extra times, like Paul Bettany in The Da Vinci Code. The Cubs rotation might get shut down by Webb, Haren, and the Big Unit. Harden, Zambrano, Wood, and Marmol's arms might fall off. The Cubs might make the World Series and lose to the White Sox. And so on. Obama might lose because the Republicans mobilize their base better. Palin will steal enough independent women voters and evangelicals to push McCain into the lead. Biden didn't sway enough independents to Obama's side. And on and on.

But taken as pure drama, it's all golden. Forget W, I want to see the Paul Thomas Andersen movie about this election season. Who would play Hillary, Bill, Obama, and McCain? Tina Fey may look like Palin, but can she play her? Will Biden or McCain slip up and refer to Palin as a "gorgeous broad" in a Mad Men-esque moment? What if McCain wins and croaks and Palin becomes President? It could be a Hollywood movie come to life, like Dave crossed with Legally Blonde.

In the time of year when nothing good is hitting movie theaters, I'll be cozying up with a bucket of popcorn and watching the Cubs in the playoffs and Obama/McCain in the main event.