John McCain Should Let Palin Be Palin

By putting her in a medialite cocoon, the McCain campaign is undermining her appeal.

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John McCain's campaign may think it is doing itself and Sarah Palin a favor by keeping her under such tight wraps. They would do better to unleash her.

Let her fly. Think of what makes Palin so appealing—it's her freshness, her pluck, her twang, her sly, wry appeal before the camera. She's fascinating. She's new.

She's Everygal.

And like SNL said, she's...well, this is a PG-rated blog, and I can't tell you what SNL said, except to say, they know their audience.

In the end, maybe Barack Obama put it best: Sarah Palin is certified media catnip.

But it's now three weeks since her debut. Palin's scripted appearances are getting repetitious and stale.

The protective shield that McCain has installed around Palin is prompting media-savvy Americans to ask: What is he so afraid she'll say? Just how callow is she?

Meanwhile, the focus of the election is shifting from Anchorage to Wall Street. Issues have made their way back into the campaign. And issues are not what McCain wants this election to turn on. Especially economic issues.

Sure, the conventional political wisdom says, "Control the message."

But McCain's whole message is built on personality. And if he believed that conventional tactics would win this thing, he would have selected Mitt Romney.

Besides, is McCain (Qué es el nombre del Primer Ministro de Espana?) doing any better?

Palin is no media neophyte: She has been working on sets and stages her whole life, since her days in beauty pageants and her stint as a local TV sportscaster, 20 years ago.

So, she'll make a few mistakes. Maybe she'll have to admit to some smirking, condescending anchorman that she doesn't know the name of the prime minister of Bulgaria. All right, already: She's running for vice-president. Americans have shown they are willing to cut her some slack. Does Bulgaria even have a prime minister? She can meet him at a funeral.

The worst thing the McCain folks could do is wreck Palin's confidence. She needs to be herself—and on her game—in the upcoming vice-presidential debate, not cowed and uncertain and brutalized by weeks of cramming and prep sessions.

Conservatives: Send McCain a message.

Let Sarah be Sarah.