You're up against a charismatic opponent whose greatest weakness is his relative lack of experience: 47 years old, in his freshman Senate term (although from a big, complex state), before that many years in the state legislature. You've been making some headway in the polls banging on the "not ready" drum. You have enough years, both of life and in the Senate, to make the case with some credibility. But you're also 72 years old, you've had a bout with cancer, and you don't always look that healthy on stage. You must know voters are thinking, "This guy may not make it a full term—there's a good chance that whoever he picks as VP will become president in the next few years." So you pick...who? A 44-year-old who's been governor of one of our smallest states for a year-and-a-half. Whose only prior political experience was as mayor of a town of 8,000-and-some people. A bedroom community for Anchorage. By almost any measure, the least experienced candidate on the presidential ticket in the history of American elections. Whatever other virtues she may bring to the campaign, her selection has instantly thrown your most effective weapon out the window.
There's either a master plan here so devilish that it will leave us shaking our heads in awe for years. Or McCain has just jumped into the toaster.