LIPSTICK SMEARED:

Sarah Palin

likes to describe herself as a pit bull with lipstick. But in St. Paul, that lipstick was used to cover her uneasy rollout. Republicans went from shocked to ebullient to anxious about Palin in the span of a few days. The base loves her, but the professional operatives aren’t so sure.

Matt Dowd

, George W. Bush’s former top strategist, summarized the reaction thus: “Is McCain out of his mind?” Even

Karl Rove

called the selection “not a governing decision but a campaign decision.” Still, despite Palin’s scant foreign policy experience and multiplying scandals, most prominent Republicans did their best to put a positive spin on McCain’s VP pick. Few had met or worked with her before, but those who had offered rousing endorsements. “She will be a great soulmate for John McCain in the stand against all evil in this world,” said Georgia Governor

Sonny Perdue

, who served with Palin in the Republican Governors Association. “I’m concerned about the debate between Senator Biden and Sarah Palin,” Perdue continued. “I’m concerned she’ll knock his lights out.”   ARI BERMAN

RNC REBELS:

The arrests of

Democracy Now!

host

Amy Goodman

and two producers from her show, as well as an Associated Press photographer, on the first day of the Republican convention (along with reports that journalists were pepper-sprayed) highlight the need for host cities to strike a balance between security and liberty. Conventions ought to celebrate democracy. Instead, they have become hyper-controlled events where the First Amendment is caged in a “protest pit” and reporters who speak truth to power get locked up. That’s un-American.   JOHN NICHOLS