My oh my, what a difference a week makes. This time last Friday the media was still basking in the afterglow of Senator Barack Obamas acceptance speech of the Democratic presidential nomination at Invesco Field in Denver. Epitomized by Keith Olbermanns proverbial post-coitus bedazzled sigh of fulfillment, little time was left to focus on who John McCain might be announcing as his running mate at noon. Beyond Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Governor-cum-McCain rival Mitt Romney, the media was too busy drinking the dregs of the Obama Kool-Aid to give serious consideration to any other potential contenders for the second slot on the Republican ticket. What difference would it make any way? Having chosen the Delaware Destroyer as his running mate, Obama had guaranteed McCains selection would be little more than a sacrificial lamb before the unrelenting and legendary onslaught of Democratic street brawler Joe Biden. For all intents and purposes, the race was over. It was merely a matter of going through the motions; running out the clock till November 4th and picking carpet and drapery swatches for Michelle to choose from. And then at noon in Dayton, Ohio, everything changed. John McCain introduced Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. In doing so, not only did he usher Palin into the history books as the Republican Partys first female vice presidential nominee, but he also changed the electoral game. How? With one decision McCain put the Republicans back in the game. Senator Obama and the Democrats had scored a series of home runs at their convention last week and had been pitching a shutout; till noon last Friday, that is. A mere week since its announcement, McCains choice of Palin is increasingly coming to be seen as a strategic masterstroke. In one fell swoop, McCain solidified the Republican base and reestablished his bona fides as an independent-minded maverick. Having unified the conservative base with her selection, Palin then proceeded to electrify it with her magnetic personality; brilliant smile and gleeful combativeness. Pouncing on confirmation of the pregnancy of Palins unwed 17 year-old daughter, Bristol, the media and liberal bloggers believed they had found a weapon with which to assault the neophyte to the national scene. Instead of wounding the photogenic former beauty queen, her detractors saw their attacks blow up in their face as they rallied the Republican faithful to her side and engendered cries of hypocrisy and sexism from Middle American. In the process, the media managed to create such a buzz around Palin that more viewers watched her address to the Republican National Convention than did the 38+ million that watched Obamas historic acceptance address the previous Thursday. Having surpassed Obama with her 40+ million viewers, she easily left his running mate Joe Biden in the dust with a comparatively meager 24 million tuning in to watch his acceptance address the night before Obamas. Admittedly some of Palins stellar ratings are attributable to old-fashioned curiosity about an unknown commodity. However, in their rush to burn her at the stake, her opponents created a sympathetic backlash; a spirited and impassioned defense by the Republican base and an irresistible interest in the American public to see who this woman that had created the political equivalent of a tactical nuclear detonation in the presidential race. With her ratings eclipsing viewership of the Academy Awards, the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics and the finals of American Idol, it is clear McCains running mate has revived interest in what was heretofore a lackluster, sleep-inducing campaign. Though many in the media and the Democratic Party dismiss both Palins selection and its potential impact, there are mounting indicators that in addition to electrifying the Republican base it has also inspired fear in many; including high profile Obama supporter Oprah Winfrey. Following in the wake of Palins introduction and magnetic performance Wednesday evening, the Obama campaign announced it had collected $10 million in campaign contributions in the days following McCains announcement. Clearly Palins addition to the McCain ticket has created a disturbance in the Force in the minds of Obama supporters. For confirmation, one need look no further than reports of a rift within Oprah Winfreys production staff over whether or not to invite Governor Palin to appear on the media moguls show. With Winfrey being both a public and ardent supporter of the Democratic presidential nominee, she and key members of her staff are hesitant to do anything that could potentially hinder his pursuit of the Oval Office. Clearly what Winfrey and her staff fears is the hockey mom of five-cum-political phenom connecting with her audience of millions that she had hoped to shepherd to the ballot box for Senator Obama. With her website being deluged by requests for a Palin appearance and a proported leak of the internal strife surfacing at The Drudge Report, Oprah has issued a denial in which she states, ".....I made the decision not to use my show as a platform for any of the candidates. I agree that Sarah Palin would be a fantastic interview, and I would love to have her on after the campaign is over." While Palins selection is the political equivalent of raising Lazarus from the dead and is a masterstroke for the McCain campaign, as her star continues its brilliant ascent it leaves many bedazzled observers asking, McWho? Perhaps Robert Palmer summed it up best, faithful readers. Shes simply irresistible. Stay tuned for further updates as events warrant and the Republican faithful begin singing Addicted To Love.