If I had to pick an image, though, I'd say she has become something of a vortex in this campaign. There is incredible energy, both personal and the kind that her opponents project on her, at the center. It is the swirling kind that either draws people in through attraction or transforms them when they attack.
The day after she was introduced to the public, Barack Obama was reaching for words. Joe Biden said she was good looking. And even once the pair found words to attack the McCain-Palin team, the ones that got the most coverage were "lipstick on a pig" and, um, that bit about Biden saying Hillary Clinton might have been a better vice presidential pick than he is. A member of Tennessee's congressional delegation is now taking more time than he would have ever imagined explaining what he meant when he referred to Jesus and Pontius Pilate. And a South Carolina Democratic official is drawing fire for saying Palin was picked because she hadn't had an abortion.
Without uttering a word--except what she has said in those repetitive campaign speeches--Sarah Palin has drawn them all in and made them say or seem to say things that are leaving many observers scratching their heads.
Meanwhile, it is only today that her first real interview since the convention is being aired. To put it charitably, her answers on foreign policy are unimpressive. She didn't know what the Bush doctrine is. But even ABC got drawn into the Palin Vortex. Here's how they paraphrase the exchange on their own site:
Palin agreed in principle to the "Bush doctrine," the idea that the United States has the right to preemptively strike those another country the U.S. think will attack first.
"Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend."
That's one of the most generous paraphrases I've ever read.
I can't think of any policy area where I would agree with Sarah Palin, but I'm now having trouble imagining how Obama-Biden can get anywhere by attacking her without getting drawn into the vortex.
Fortunately, it's not up to my imagination and they've still got time. But I'd love to see a clash of ideas that isn't blurred by mythology.