Sarah Palin has been the at the centre of the political storm that is the presidential election over the past few days. She used her chance to answer back in her convention speech last night to give her supporters the lift they so desperately wanted, and strike fear into the hearts of opponents who really were hoping that when George Bush leaves office, they'd finally get rid of ardent right-wing hicksters full of personal bigotries and utterly ignorant of the world outside.
Palin delivered a good speech. She's a fighter, and she gave no quarter to Obama and the liberal media. Of course she didn't give adequate answers to some of the charges against her, but that wasn't really the purpose of the speech. She is serving her purpose on the ticket admirably, as the pin-up girl and bright new hope for the Republican party's pharisee wing. Whatever virtue McCain had as a 'maverick' Republican who wasn't like George Bush has been completely wiped out by the knowledge that his VP - the person whose only constitutional role is to step into the shoes of the president when he keels over - is every bit as bad politically as the outgoing president, but a little more dangerously articulate.
The points being made about Palin's limited executive experience are also irrelevant. It isn't her executive experience that's the key. After all, Obama has none, and Bush, as Governor of Texas, hadn't exactly been tested by exercising one of the weakest gubernatorial positions in America. Successful presidents become so not because they've had great experience - nothing can really prepare them for the presidency - but because they have a mind-set ready to take on this unique role. Bush has been a disaster because he never acquired any political maturity as president - he has taken decisions for eight years with the same parochial outlook that he must have exercised as Governor of Texas. Palin would be the same. The point about Obama and Biden is that they have a broader grasp, and a maturer vision, of America's role in the world as well as her domestic needs. They have both sought to look beyond their own personal horizons even while they acknowledge their roots, because they know that as president and vice-president they will be representing a hugely diverse nation, and they will assume global responsibilities that come to no other national leader.
We who are not Americans are rightly nervous about the way in which those who are will exercise their huge responsibility.