You know, there is actually a scenario where she does drop out. If she were to drop out before the GOP convention, McCain would nominate someone else and off they go. On Sunday, she could say upon further examination of the time requirements of campaigning, she decided she needed to put her family first. The net result would be that Obama's big media day was thrown off track. It would be quite the political maneuver.
The Obama campaign is obviously trying to get its message about Palin into the media narrative, but the choice for VP is not likely to be a big factor in the end. In the mean time, we keep running against McCain.
Obama's speech was excellent on the substance, the delivery, the emotion, and the connection with ordinary Americans. As political theater, however, it's something that has never been seen before.
Howard Fineman was saying that the GOP will have a low-key convention, especiallly since it will coincide with a major hurricane hitting the U.S. In terms of theater, I'm reminded of the California recall election. Jon Stewart did a really funny piece where he showed Arnold with his booming voice, Twisted Sister playing their anthem, a car being blown up, etc. Then he showed a Gray Davis rally with polite applause. Steward said, "Gray Davis' confetti machine must have been in the shop." That piece made it painfully clear that Gray Davis was totally screwed. The imagery said "only losers vote for Davis". The issues didn't even matter anymore.
We happen to have the issues on our side, but it almost doesn't matter. You have an eloquent young speaker with a compelling life story giving an amazing speech in front of 80,000 people. On the other hand, you have... John McCain. I'm really, really glad I'm not a Republican right now.
...will the Republicans be able to connect with American voters like Obama did?
...will they be able to get away with it after Obama called them out on not running a serious campaign?
...will anyone even be watching their convention?
We won't know for another week and a half, but I think the GOP has just been dealt a mortal wound.
Nevada and New Mexico are pleasant surprises at least. We'll know after the GOP convention how things are shaping up for November. Obama's vastly superior organization and greater voter enthusiasm is probably good for 1-2 point overperformance relative to the pollsters' likely voter models.