AS SOON as Sarah Palin stepped onto the stage, I thought: Stunning jacket, girl, but would you please get a grown woman s hairdo?
The governor of Alaska gave quite a performance during her address to accept the Republican nomination for vice president.
She had Republican National Convention delegates eating out of her hand and on their feet during a call-and-response speech that will force historians to describe that night of the GOP quadrennium as simply rousing.
The Alaskan governor has stirred working moms, moms of children with special needs, women in politics, and little girls who thought life was over when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton didn t clinch the Democratic nomination.
Though I had to fight to stay awake since Rudy Giuliani was so electrified with himself that he didn t quit yammering when he should have, Mrs. Palin was captivating.
I loved her one liners, which will be repeated, especially the one about the only difference between hockey moms and pit bulls is lipstick. The breed just can t get respect.
And speaking of respect, anyone who knows of the valuable work done by community organizers didn t appreciate her swipe at Senator Obama s community service or their profession.
Her remark that being a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities, didn t go down well with nonprofit or for-profit organizations.
Besides, just how does Governor Palin think she got where she is, were it not for the women s suffrage and civil rights movements community organizers who had actual responsibilities?
That makes me wonder how she could possibly serve every American.
Oh, she talked about terrorism and the war. But she didn t talk about the economy or health care, which suggests she s not in tune with an electorate saddled by an unfriendly economy and weighted down with health care concerns.
Mrs. Palin is admirable, though.
I told a colleague she s making it tough for bone-weary working moms. Fire the gubernatorial chauffeur and cook to save taxpayer money? She likes driving herself to work, but do you realize how much work can get done in a commute? And house guests once had dinner ready when I got home; that was wonderful.
I couldn t help but wonder whether that chauffeur and cook got another job.
It s a pity that after all these years we re still talking about whether women can do it all.
Mrs. Palin is doing her thing, although some question her ability to manage a national campaign with an infant with Down syndrome and an unwed pregnant teenage daughter.
There would be no debate if she were a male candidate. Governor Palin does what millions of other mothers and fathers do and get little or no recognition for their loyalty to work and family.
So qualified for the presidency or not, she certainly seems capable of adding to her list the duty of being the GOP pit bull with lipstick.
One difference for the governor may be that she can afford paid help. And she had older children, including a cute 7-year-old daughter named Piper who showed the nation she can handle her four-month-old brother Trig who has Down syndrome.
Also, the governor s husband Todd plays a significant role nurturing their five children, from 4 months old to 18-year-old Track who s on his way to the military.
On another note, though, the GOP convention left this observer wondering how they will represent our ever-browning nation when so few delegates were minority.
More than a quarter of the population is black and Hispanic, but you couldn t tell from this convention, where 36 out of 2,380 delegates were black.
While 25 percent of the delegates at the Democrats convention were black, the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies said there were 167 black GOP delegates four years ago. Guess the Republicans have abandoned trying to bring African-Americans on board.
Something else has bugged me since Wednesday.
The whole world certainly knows by now that Governor Palin s 17-year-old daughter Bristol is five months pregnant. Her daughter s baby s father, Levi Johnston, 18, who plans to marry the mother of his unborn child, was with the Palin family during the Republican candidate s speech and was on stage with Sen. John McCain afterwards.
He got that honor though they are not married. So does he have a say in Palin family decisions too?
Let me make clear that Bristol Palin should keep her child. It is the right thing to do.
But it s certainly a sad day when a Republican vice presidential candidate s unwed pregnant teen daughter s unborn baby s unwed teen father is brought into the inner circle of the GOP s campaign to stay in the White House and gets to sit with the families in the national spotlight.
Until early this week when the GOP machine got wind, the hockey star had a page on MySpace that didn t seem to represent conservative values.
In a page now made private, he said he was in a relationship but that he doesn t want kids. Oops. Too late.
He also uses an adjective to explain what type of self-described redneck he is and he uses other language to discuss his hobbies that are inappropriate for a family newspaper.
And if anybody messes with him, he wrote, he ll kick them and he didn t say derriere.
That s the new GOP image. And some white conservatives are fretting about Barack Obama in the White House.
Let s be real, people: If one of the Obama daughters were old enough to be unwed and pregnant, the debate would not be about how wonderful it is that she s keeping her child.
More likely, conservatives would be wagging their heads about what a disgrace it is and tsk, tsk, tsking the problem of teenage pregnancy in the black community.
And Lord have mercy had the Obamas traipsed out an unwed father who flings around four-letter words and describes himself in race-hating terms onto the national front lines in Denver.
You know I m right.