From First Read (NBC):
[T]he Palin pick may signal that the McCain folks have concluded that "experience" as a message isn't a winning one, even though they spent the entire summer developing that argument. So they are hoping Palin helps redefine GOP ticket as change ....
The biggest negative about the pick is that on its face, it looks like a political gimmick, a political calculation. And McCain's supposed to be anything but a calculating or gimmicky pol. Indeed, as the Los Angeles Times wonders, isn’t McCain supposed to be the guy putting “country first” and not playing politics? The fact that McCain doesn't know Palin and spent all but a couple of hours getting to know her before making his pick is going to invite A LOT of judgment criticism. The perception is going to be that McCain panicked and wanted to do something radical to shake up the race. Well, he may have shaken up the race, but at the cost of undermining his best asset: that he was ready to lead. This decision doesn't look like it was well thought out, even as Palin has made a tremendous first impression.
Just how well was she vetted? There's going to be a race to define Palin, and while the McCain has bought time by shocking the world with the pick, there's going to be a lot of interest by the press to dig around in Alaska. And this “Troopergate” story is perhaps just the beginning. What's more, since she isn't well know, any little thing could get blown up pretty quickly.
Did anyone notice that there were more mentions of McCain's age yesterday than we've seen in months? Sure, yesterday was his birthday, and the VP pick was always going to serve as a reminder that McCain was seeking to become the oldest first-term president in history. But McCain's age has been an under-the-radar negative for him for some time (just check out any recent poll on the topic). Palin -- being an absolute unknown -- is going to get put through the "is she ready to be commander in chief?" test a little bit more than your average VP pick, simply because of McCain's age. And the more focus there is on McCain's age, the more political danger the campaign faces.