We conservatives have had a good time ridiculing the Obama phenomenon, especially its messianic feel — the willingness of its adherents to pour so much hope and belief into such an empty, or at least incomplete, vessel — and its elevation of “narrative” over substance.
It turns out that we were dying to have basically the same experience.
The Right has repeatedly accused Obama of being a blank slate upon which his supporters draw what they want to see. Whatever “hope” and “change” are to them, that’s what Obama supposedly stands for. But my experience at the Republican convention was that Palin plays the exact same role for the GOP. I mentioned this in my video dispatch. If John McCain was too old and stiff, she was the new blood and the energy the ticket needed. If McCain was too moderate, she had the conservative credentials the ticket needed. If McCain was too wishy-washy on abortion, she was the committed pro-lifer the ticket needed. And so on.
The difference is, Obama has spent significant amounts of time defining the change he seeks — just look at the middle 20 minutes of his convention speech from Denver. Palin has never made that effort — she’s only been around a week and has never spoken to the press!