There's talk on the street; it sounds so familiar
Great expectations, everybody's watching you
People you meet, they all seem to know you
Even your old friends treat you like you're something new

Remember that fellow Barack Obama? He was the young man with the winning smile who could do no wrong. The nice boy who was all the rage for a while. What ever happened to him?

Seriously, when the McCain campaign called Obama the "biggest celebrity in the world," they had it exactly right. The assertion: the Obama boom has had much more in common with the career arc of Britney Spears than Abraham Lincoln. The mainstream prObama press, so desperate for McCain to go negative, pounced on the fairly innocuous but absolutely penetrating assessment with enthusiasm. Team McCain was right to suspect that the hubris of the Obama campaign (movement) would not brook such blasphemous drivel. The Obama nation took the bait with gusto. Dirty campaigning! Karl Rove! Lee Atwater! Alex Castellanos! How dare you compare our Redeemer to a Messiah! How dare you compare our Deliverer to a cinematic Moses! And, for the first time in this campaign, the McCain needle moved a bit. The truth (albeit said in jest--but finally said) resonated.

Next Phase: how do you combat the star power of Paris Hilton? Invite Lindsey Lohan and her lesbian girlfriend to your party.

What is the genius of the Sarah Palin pick?

1. She is a new even more outlandish storyline for the celebrity-driven mainstream media. Somebody told me that Barack Obama made a speech a while back and drew a pretty good crowd. I vaguely remember that--but last Thursday seems like a month ago. Did you know that Sarah Palin earned her nickname, "Baracuda," as the point guard for her state championship high school girls basketball team? Was that before or after she was a runner up in the Miss Alaska pageant? Her husband seems dreamy. I wonder what he is really like?

You're walking away and they're talking behind you
They will never forget you 'til somebody new comes along

Advantage McCain. Of course, a big difference in Obama and Palin is that the mainstream prObama press will not be nearly as friendly to this new star bursting onto the scene. Sarah Palin will need to watch her back and carefully think out every move she makes. One misstep and this campaign is over. Talk about pressure. If she can walk this tightrope, she is more than up to handling the pressure of executive responsibility. However, as long as it lasts, Obama's star is diminished somewhat.

2. McCain has tricked the Obama boosters into making experience the central issue of this campaign. This woman, Sarah Palin, is not ready to lead on day one. Hmmm. This woman, Sarah Palin, is not ready for a three a.m. phone call. Really? The attack on the inexperienced veep candidate from the inexperienced presidential campaign seems tantamount to sacrificing your queen for the other fellow's bishop.

Message to Democrats: she's rubber and you're glue. Anything you say bounces off her and sticks to you.

3. She has a chance to become America's sweetheart. I said earlier she is Mrs. Smith Goes to Washington, but she may also be Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm--Mary Pickford. The righteous woman gone to Babylon, taking on the powerful and the underhanded and the dastardly, and finding a way to triumph in the end. It's a compelling narrative. Will it take hold? Hard to say. To repeat, she is not going to have a friendly mainstream media to "boom" her story--but, if all the stars align just right, it might just catch on anyhow.

But, until a negative consensus actually forms in the mind of the American people organically, the Palin persecutors snipe at her at their own peril. There is bound to be a lot of ugliness directed her way. How cruel it is, and how well she handles it (she needs to be tough but not shrill to be truly sympathetic), will go a long way in determining who we decide she really is.