Larison analyzes the new excitement in the Republican base:

...the enthusiasm derives from the feeling that conservatives compelled McCain to back down from picking Lieberman and choose “one of us” instead.

Enthusiasm for Palin is as great as it is because it is the sort of thing that many conservatives assumed McCain would never do, and it is as powerful as it has been because the contempt for McCain among many movement conservatives runs so deep.  In yielding to movement demands, McCain submitted himself to people whom he has made a career of spurning.  While it is commonplace to say that the Palin choice reinforced his “maverick” and “gambler” reputation, which is still partly true insofar as the choice is politically risky in the general election, the choice really represented a moment when McCain surrendered to what he considered to be political necessity.   

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