Matt Yglesias, and the inestimable digby (God love her), however, remind us that panic, at this point, is a bit extreme to say the least.
First, Yglesias in full:
A remarkable number of liberals of my acquaintance seemed ready to move into panic mood after it turns out that Sarah Palin can deliver a competent attack dog speech. I don’t see why. It was competent, but no more than that. And it wasn’t a speech that even tried to do either of things that John McCain’s campaign needs to do — separate McCain from George W. Bush or convince people that McCain can improve the economy. It didn’t even try to address those subjects.
This stops the downward spiral, maybe, until perhaps people focus on the fact that Palin’s signature accomplishment as Governor of Alaska was to oppose a bridge project that she in fact favored, but McCain was losing the race before Palin was ever announced. Stopping the slide doesn’t get you to a win.
But the bottom line is that while she may not sink this ticket (at least immediately) she can't save it either. They'll get out their base, which until now was a questionable proposition. But that won't be enough. Their base has shrunk. They have to win over a chunk of independents and I just don't know if they can successfully separate themselves from the disaster of the past eight years, even if Maverick decides to move the White House to Point Barrow.
In other words, she did nothing more than provide a sandbag in the leaking dyke of McCain's support. Period. Even that will, I bet, end soon enough, because Obama and Biden are lying in wait.
I'm not panicking. I'm confident that the Palin pick for the VP slot seals the Republican's loss. In the long run, as I've said before, McCain is toast.
UPDATE: James Fallows weighs in (please read the whole thing):
[B]oth Reagan in 1964 and Obama in 2004 were effective because, apart from their personal skills, they added something to their party's constituency that had not been there before. Reagan began recruiting the "Reagan Democrats," starting with white Southerners. Obama tried to recruit people tired of divisive partisanship.
Sarah Palin, at least tonight, did not seem interested in bringing anyone new into the fold. A speech that was great in the convention hall. We'll see how it affects the electoral lineup.