I’ve now read two separate posts about Sarah Palin by colleagues whose friendship I value and whose opinions I respect. Both question various aspects of Sarah Palin’s fitness to not only function as John McCain’s running mate, but also to serve as America’s vice president. While they clearly have a right to their questions, concerns and opinions about John McCain’s vice presidential pick, they have missed the boat about Alaska’s current governor.

Gov. Palin, in spite of her political beliefs, is the second woman to serve on a presidential ticket. That, in and of itself, is historic. Nowhere is it written that only a pro-choice, Democrat woman could serve on a presidential ticket. Second, her character, warmth and charm have resonated with the American voter – except for those die-hard Obama fanatics. Living in California, we are in a bubble and view the world differently than the overwhelming majority of the United States – a blessing in some circumstances and a curse in others.

The Obama campaign’s initial instinct – to attack Sarah Palin for being mayor of a small town even prior to her formal introduction – coupled with Senator Obama’s juicy comments about small town folks “clinging to guns and religion” (comments made in San Francisco, by the way) unknowingly played right into the McCain campaign’s hand. Hilary hit Obama hard on the rural, small town voter issue. Clearly, these folks had and still have serious questions and doubts about Barack Obama.

And, in spite of a steady drone of criticism by the elite, liberal news media, Gov. Palin has fundamentally changed the 2008 Presidential race. For example, prior to the Democrat convention, women voters favored Obama by eight points. They now favor the McCain-Palin ticket by 12 points. That’s a 20-point swing. The same can be held for Catholic voters.

So, while some on the coasts may not like Sarah Palin’s politics and may hate the prospect of a socially conservative Republican woman assuming the vice presidency, at least as of today, an overwhelming majority of the American public likes Sarah Palin, and her candidacy has breathed vigor and excitement into the McCain-Palin ticket.

What did Senator Obama’s supporters think? That he is the “second coming” and the world’s most powerful office would be handed to him because of his charisma? The junior senator from Illinois, whose experience is very limited and judgment is highly suspect, has proven that he is really good at reading a speech from a teleprompter; however, he if the 2008 elections have shown anything, they have highlighted Barack’s inability to “close the deal.”

Barack fell into the Democrat Party nomination…buoyed by a horrible primary election campaign run by Hilary Clinton…who still almost prevailed. Equally relevant, Obama’s choice of Joe Biden for vice president was less than inspiring. Nobody reeks of Washington establishment like Delaware Joe. Had Obama demonstrated the courage to select Mrs. Clinton, he would have instantly captured her supporters and this race would have been over. Thankfully, he did not.

So, where are we today? Well, for my colleagues who have written about Gov. Palin, smile. Ample opportunities remain for her to “step in it.” She still has to debate Delaware Joe and the mainstream, liberal media has its fangs sharpened for her. She will take her lumps, for sure, but how she responds will be critical.

For my Republican friends, the post-convention bounce has been fantastic. The base is energized (finally) and Independents are now looking seriously at the GOP ticket. But, the McCain campaign needs to keep the pressure on and relentlessly push toward the finish line. Victory is within our grasp…

I’m psyched for the next 55-plus days!