Sarah Palin was a good choice. Why?
The voters have made it clear that they do not care about experience this year. If they did, then the election would be between Richardson (governor, former cabinet secretary) and Romney (former governor, businessman and olympic organizer). Nor do they care about ideology, if they cared about that, the campaign would be between Fred Thompson (remember him), the closest follower of Reagan running in 2008, and Clinton, who basically (along with Bill) defined the modern Democratic party.
Instead it’s a contest of tribes.
The Republicans quickly split off into the evangelicals (with Huckabee as their champion) vs Everybody Else (featuring St John of Arizona).
The Democrats presented a more interesting conflict. They split off into the Black vote, the white working class vote, the over 35 woman vote, the progressive (aka elitist) vote, with a little “Return to Normalcy” tribe (sort of like the Druse or Mormons) sprinkled in.
The Black and Progressive tribes roped in the Return to Normalcy tribe and triumphed over the over 35 woman and white working class tribes, and annointed their chosen one. (On a side note, isn’t tribal warfare in America better than in other countries?)
McCain accurately saw the rules of the game as they are currently defined and saw a chance to pick off the dead enders in the WWC and over 35 woman tribes, and took it. I still think Obama is going to win in November, but it’s going to be much closer than it would be if he nominated, say, Romney or Ridge.