As Neil Oxman, political consultant at The Campaign Group, put it to me: For half the country, “Sarah Palin is Roseanne from the ‘Roseanne’ show. ‘Roseanne’ was the No. 1 comedy five years in a row and seven out of nine in the top 10.” She is connecting at a gut level. So does McCain — and, therefore, they don’t need to give their constituents many details.
This race has a long way to go. It is still Obama’s election to lose. But Obama got where he is today by defining himself as the agent of change and by defining change as the issue in this election. McCain, with Palin’s help, has once again not only made Obama’s experience an issue, but has now moved in on Obama’s strength and tried to define the G.O.P. ticket as the party of “change.”
How, you ask, can two people running with the exact same policies as the party that has been in power for eight years, claim to be the agents of “change?” That’s politics. There’s no shame. But what this has done is to make the word “change” as a campaign slogan meaningless. Obama will need to find another way to connect his ideas — clearly, crisply and passionately.