While NYC liberals scratch their heads over McCain's choice of Sarah Palin-- or rub their hands with glee, since she is someone they would never vote for, I am blown away by the absolute brilliance of his choice. (From a strategic POV, anyway.)
The GOP had two possible plans of attack: (1) play up Obama's lack of experience or (2) play up his alleged elitism. Clearly, with the choice of Palin, they have chosen to go with the latter.
You could not find a better candidate for this strategy than Sarah Palin. She is Wal-Mart America come to life. 44 years old (younger than both Obamas), she already has five children. The youngest has Down's Syndrome. The oldest is in the military-- not college. And since her oldest is 19, that means she had him when she was 25. (Michelle was 36, by contrast, when her first child was born, putting her very out of step with the blue collar demo.)
Palin is from Alaska, that most blue collar of states. She was a small city mayor and former beauty pageant contestant. A graduate of the University of Idaho-- not Princeton, Columbia & Harvard Law School.
I mean her kids even have the sort of names -- Trig, Willow, Track-- that are regularly pilloried on upscale East Coast mommy boards like Urban Baby and YouBe Mom as (I kid you not) "WalMart names."
Blue collar women in swing states will look at her and likely see themselves. The GOP can use her to paint the Obamas as the sort of Whole Foods-shopping, arugula-eating, Ivy League education-spouting liberals who are completely out of touch with mainstream America, who have no idea how to relate to the common folk: the 2008 version of Adlai Stevenson.
Now mind you, I'm not saying that any of this is true, or claiming that the Obamas are the least bit elitist: I'm just laying out the probable tactic and noting how well the choice of Palin fits into it. How it all plays out is still anyone's guess.