There is a lot of inherent drama to Sarah Palin's address before the Republican Convention tonight, do mainly to the fact that there has been an exceptional amount of media scrutiny devoted to everything from her family to her politics.
But the fact remains, some of most seasoned political observers note, that the stars are aligned for Palin to receive an absolute hero's welcome tonight.
"I think it's just stage one," Tom Brokaw declared on MSNBC. "They understand that. We introduced this program by saying the controversial choice, Sarah Palin. She's not controversial in the hall. I expect she's going to light the place up. She's a perfect match for these delegates on the floor, in terms of traditional values, social values, where she comes from, the idea that she was a surprise choice, that, in effect by picking her, John McCain was making a statement against the punditry class and against his own party establishment."
Indeed, if ever there was a national launching pad tailor made for Palin's candidacy it will be the throngs of Republicans in Minneapolis. The Governor has been under siege the past few days as Democratic opponents and members of the press have uncovered a series of politically problematic material on her resume. Instead of facing questions from the fourth estate, Palin is expected to bash the media. Rather than appear before Democrats and Republicans she will be addressing an enthusiastic and entirely sympathetic crowd
"I've been saying it and others I've talked to have been saying it," emailed Stu Rothenberg, editor of the Rothenberg Political Report. "Tonight is the easy part. The hard part comes later -- when she has to do interviews with journalists, each one wanting to be the person who stumps/exposes/'gets' her. I expect an incredible welcome from the convention. And I am expecting her to do very well. Tonight, that is. We'll see how she does when she is in a more neutral or adversarial setting."
And yet, whether tonight's speech is a gimme or a challenge of Sisyphean proportions is not an open-and-shut debate. Democrats, who have some interest in keeping the bar raised high, are welcoming the Alaska Governor to the national stage with elevated expectations.
"Governor Palin is now on the biggest stage of American politics," said Simon Rosenberg, head of the progressive group NDN. "She has do more than charm her base and meet the very low expectations set for her tonight. With the McCain-Palin ticket trailing Obama Biden, she needs to help them make up lost ground tonight, and to do that she has to show that she is a serious candidate for the 2nd most powerful position in the most powerful country in the world. That requires more than being able to field dress a moose."