I thought Palin’s selection was the worst idea McCain ever had. It seemed like political suicide to attach yourself to such a trainwreck of drama, extremism, and inexperience.
But the fanatical Republican base doesn’t care. They’re mostly single-issue-focused extremists who ignore anything outside of their single issue. No abortion! No gay marriage! Cut my taxes! Let me own a lot of guns and acquire them without much hassle! Give them one of these, and they’ll ignore everything else about you that they disagree with. It’s a culture of fanaticism, bigotry, hate, pride in ignorance, and intense denial. Palin appeals to them perfectly.
Additionally, her selection tremendously succeeded in a way that I hadn’t anticipated: it has completely distracted the media and many voters from any substantive issues for weeks. Ever since her selection, nobody has mentioned McCain. The election has become a sad, gossipy mess of pandering, ignorance, and mudslinging — and nobody’s asking McCain any questions anymore, which is good, because he wasn’t very good at answering them.
The Palin distraction is a huge success, and it very well might give the Republicans enough of a boost that they can cheat and steal away the remaining loss margin.