Well, you could make a ton of money shorting my prognostications -- Joe the Plumber wasn't on Saturday Night Live with Sarah Palin last night, as I predicted on Friday. Oh well.
But give me credit for repeatedly telling you that Palin's appeal is to men rather than women. The New York Times discusses that today, noting that about two-thirds of the people in her crowds are guys:
It is not unusual for fans of Sarah Palin to shout out to the Alaska governor in the midst of her stump speeches. It is noteworthy, however, that the crowds are heavily male....
"I feel like I'm at home," Ms. Palin said, looking out at a boisterous crowd of about 6,000. "I see the Carhartts and the steel-toed boots," she said, the first reference being to a clothing brand favored by construction workers and the burly types who make up much of the "Sarah Dude" population. "You guys are great," she said while signing autographs.
... Ms. Palin's stoutest defenders are often the Joe Sixpacks in her crowds, who shrug off her critics, ridiculers and perceived adversaries in the news media. They say they appreciate Ms. Palin for, above all else, how "real" and "like us" she is....
... Ms. Palin tells 'em, peppering her rallies with references to guy-themed stuff -- hunting, fishing, hockey....
When these guys say she's "like us," do they mean she's blue collar -- or do they mean she's sort of like a guy?
What I'm getting at is something you see in a lot of different cultural subgroups -- guys with guy obsessions wishing they could find a woman who shares those obsessions.
In the same way that record-collector or sci-fi or obscure-film geeks often wish they could find a female pop-culture soul mate, someone just as obsessed with mid-sixties garage-rock rarities on vinyl or obscure Hong Kong martial-arts films on pirated DVDs, these guys want a woman who doesn't think they're excessively obsessed with hunting or fishing or tinkering with old cars. And Palin gives 'em just what they want.
Palin is like the chick sidekick on a guy-oriented morning radio show who laughs at the masturbation jokes and the gags based on race stereotypes, the one who thinks it's funny rather than infantile. If this politics thing doesn't pan out, radio sidekick is definitely a possible second career for Palin.
Will these guys even vote? I'm not sure. But if so, I think they would have voted GOP anyway.
(Maybe Steve Schmidt is hoping the women will go for Joe the Plumber?)
And meanwhile, Barack Obama has just been endorsed by Colin Powell -- who, however flawed his judgment was in the run-up to the Iraq War, is, I think, a somewhat more impressive figure to people of both genders that Joe or Sarah.
(Wonder how Fox and the other bottom-feeders of the right are going to trash Powell in the next 48 hours.)
UPDATE: Part of my Colin Powell