He's the shortest — at 5' 7" — Presidential candidate since Alfred E. Smith in 1928. He's the oldest Presidential candidate EVER. She's young (44), fit (a marathon runner), babelicious and bristling with ambition.
With her power stumping and and ability to deliver a stirring speech, even when she's supposed to be debating, Palin is singlehandedly keeping the Republicans afloat in the Presidential race, despite the devastating economic news. John McCain can't muster the charisma to look or sound like he's got the strength to pull the country back from the precipice. Palin has no such problem.
The hockey mom of five is the Republican party's Eva Peron, believes Carol Kauffman, a psychologist and assistant professor at Harvard. "She emanates, 'I'm so fabulous, I NEED to lead the country.'"
I think New York Times columnist Frank Rich was on to something big when he wrote on October 5 that he wouldn't rule out the Republicans pulling one more mavericky stunt and flipping the ticket, to replace McCain with Palin in the Presidential spot.
I say watch your back Mac — you're in the 2009 version of All About Eve. But in this case, your younger protege isn't distracted by your mate, she's focused totally on your role.
She's gotten a heady taste of national power and it's clear that she likes it. Her rival Joe Biden barely made contact with the American people during their debate. She was compellingly comfortable looking directly at viewers and establishing a personal connection. Like most celebrities she thrives by feeding off the energy of her audiences and with her packed schedule of campaign appearances, she's getting supersized ego meals.
John: I betcha she's convinced she could be successful as president. More successful than you!
She doesn't even try to hide her ambition, according to some. "Palin isn't deferential to McCain when they appear together," points out body language expert, Patti Wood. "She doesn't look down when he talks to her. When he introduced her at the Republican convention, she didn't go right up to him. She took her time." She doesn't even like him, believes Wood. "She's stiff when he hugs her and when she talks about him, the nuances of her voice don't show pride."
Realistically, Republican political operatives are high on savvy and low on principle. And apparently Palin is now surrounded by Team George Bush. They all know their Presidential candidate is wobbly. They also know that the "Wasilla warrior bitch" — as one of her local Alaska fans described her on "The Daily Show" — can pull off ballsiness that would seem like bad taste in others, simply because she is beautiful. Americans love a ballsy woman as long as she's Annie Oakley cute. That's why she can accuse Obama of having terrorist ties, without pundits pointing out that she's nasty or — God forbid for a woman — strident.
You can bet they're thinking about how only a Presidential (not Vice) pitbull with lipstick carry off a win over Obama at this point.
And doggone it, my guess is that she thinks it too. "This has to be a time when she says to herself that there are a lot of Americans who share her vision of herself as a leader," observes psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow, author of Living the Truth. "When you get confirmation for yourself as a leader, it makes your highest ambitions seem reasonable."
Now if the Republicans don't flip the ticket and they lose the election, there is no way that Palin is going to quietly cool her pumps back in Juneau. "I'll bet my boots, she'll be in the primaries in 2012," says media consultant Richard Valeriani.
On the other hand if a McCain-Palin ticket succeeds against long odds in winning the race I still wouldn't feel too secure John. Let's just say a taste-tester in the White House, wouldn't be a bad idea...just (half) kidding!
Follow Bonnie Fuller on Twitter: www.twitter.com/bonniefuller