The New York Times' analysis points out that McCain "spent the summer arguing that a 40-something candidate with four years in major office and no significant foreign policy experience was not ready to be president. And then on Friday he picked as his running mate a 40-something candidate with two years in major office and no significant foreign policy experience."
"'The question is,' [GOP lobbyist Ed] Rogers continued, 'what does it do to the argument that Obama's not ready?' The question is particularly acute for Mr. McCain, who turned 72 on Friday and would be the oldest person elected to a first term as president if he won in November. His campaign now needs to convince the public that it can imagine in the Oval Office a candidate who has spent just two years as governor of a state with a quarter of the population of Brooklyn."
The LA Times: "Though John McCain clearly concluded that Palin could attract female voters and grab his campaign some Barack Obama-style media buzz, he also is taking a risk that in elevating a largely unknown figure, he undermines the central theme of his candidacy that he puts 'country first,' above political calculations."
"For a candidate known to possess a quick temper and an unpredictable political streak, the decision raises questions about how McCain would lead -- whether his decisions would flow from careful deliberations or gut checks in which short-term considerations or feelings outweigh the long view."
The Boston Globe: "Palin is an unorthodox selection, but could help McCain reach out to women, especially disaffected Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton. But she could be vulnerable to Democratic criticism that she is not ready to be president, a particular concern when McCain turns 72 today and would be the oldest person elected to a first term as president."
The Washington Post's Dan Balz: "John McCain's advisers predicted weeks ago that the presumptive Republican nominee would use his national convention week to try to recapture his image as a maverick reformer and shake up the presidential race. He did just that Friday with his surprise choice of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate."
"McCain's selection of the nationally untested Palin is the most unlikely choice of a running mate since George H.W. Bush tapped then-Sen. Dan Quayle in 1988, a move as risky as it was bold. The decision brings the senator from Arizona immediate dividends with his base and eventually, perhaps, with swing voters. But it comes at potentially significant cost to his effort to discredit Democratic nominee Barack Obama as unprepared for the presidency."
"For all the enthusiasm Palin's selection generated among conservative constituencies, many GOP strategists were privately bewildered by McCain's decision. One Republican strategist, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer a candid view, said in an e-mail, 'I would rather be arguing with conservatives about abortion than with the Democrats about a lack of experience on our own ticket.'"
"'She really destroys the "not ready" mantra,' another strategist noted."
Per the New York Daily News: "'I want to believe this is a game-changer, but when I close my eyes I see New Orleans in 1988,' said a dumbstruck Republican operative, recalling the convention where Vice President George H.W. Bush tapped Dan Quayle. "Democrats will have a field day typecasting her as Quayle in a pantsuit.'"
Gail Collins writes sarcastically: "McCain does not believe in pandering to identity politics. He was looking for someone who was well prepared to fight against international Islamic extremism, the transcendent issue of our time. And in the end he decided that in good conscience, he was not going to settle for anyone who had not been commander of a state national guard for at least a year and a half. He put down his foot! The obvious choice was Palin, the governor of Alaska, whose guard stands as our last best defense against possible attack by the resurgent Russian menace across the Bering Strait."
More seriously, she adds: "The idea that women are going to race off to vote for any candidate with the same internal plumbing is both offensive and historically wrong. When the sexes have parted company in modern elections, it's generally been because women are more likely to be Democrats, and more concerned about protecting the social safety net."
The Globe's Venocchi makes a similar point. "Choosing her is an obvious effort to attract disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters. But it is so gimmicky that it stands to insult the very women it is aimed at attracting. McCain is treating women voters as if all they care about is gender. Views and experience don't matter." … "[G]iven his age, voters need a special comfort level with McCain's running mate. If McCain wins, the next vice president would be a heartbeat away from a man in his seventies. The VP doesn't matter in the voting, until it does."