Sarah Palin showed last night that she is an excellent political talent with a bright future in the Republican Party. She also showed that it made sense to feature her as a prime-time speaker at the convention.

What she didn’t prove, however, was that she is worthy of giving the vice presidential nominee acceptance speech, and by extension, the nomination itself (the two are stubbornly attached). Making Sarah Palin the keynote speaker of the convention would have been a sagacious decision by the McCain campaign and a gift to her future career (it worked for Barack Obama). On the other hand, actually selecting Sarah Palin as the vice president nominee seems like a foolhardy mistake (thank goodness the nomination and the office itself aren’t so stubbornly attached).

Sarah Palin’s introduction into the national political scene last night was a breath of fresh air, but she has clearly not demonstrated she has a grasp of the breadth of challenges facing the presidency (even from a heartbeat away). Admittedly, the evaluations of her nomination on the Web and in the media have been thin on genuine intellectual analysis and have swayed more toward trivial personal rubbish. Part of this extends from the nature of modern presidential politics, but is five days really enough time for even a cursory examination of her record and beliefs? Does anyone know what she thinks should be done about inflationary threats to the economy, or how to handle the remaining prisoners at Guantanamo? The off-camera remarks from Mike Murphy and Peggy Noonan yesterday hint at the broad skepticism of this pick and were reminiscent of Noonan's own column on the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet Myers. If John McCain wants to put country first, he could start by letting Sarah Palin answer a few of these questions, quickly.