Hugh Hewitt

Conservatives are thrilled with the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain's running-mate. Scroll through the postings at, or listen to the hosts and callers on any of the talk shows today.

There are six reasons, all of them huge and enduring.

First, over the past month we have gone from hoping Senator McCain would win to thinking he might actually be able to win. With the selection of Governor Palin most of us are convinced he will win. Which means the country will be well led on the war for at least another four crucial years. The reason behind this new confidence leads us to the second factor.

Sarah Palin is a real deal conservative, down the line, on all of the issues. This has the immediate effect of energizing the base to battle to keep the White House and to close the gap in or take back the House of Representatives. It is especially important that she is ardently pro-life, and the story of her family is certain to resonate with those values voters who prize faith and family as the center of life.

Third, the Palin pick guarantees that the party will remain a conservative party long-term. If Senator McCain had picked a pro-choice Republican or had asked his friend and great American Joe Lieberman to run with him, the party would truly have been split. That didn't happen, and Matt Cunningham summarizes the response among conservatives party activists:

McCain took a major step forward in exciting the GOP's conservative base at Rick Warren's forum. For example, I spoke with a prominent local conservative activist who was so enthused by McCain's performance who bought a plane ticket for Minneapolis the next.

The Palin choice boosts and accelerates that process. Like me, Palin is 44 years old. She came of age politically during the Age of Ronald Reagan. To a conservative movement that has grown tired and enervated, she has demonstrated you can run, win and successfully govern on conservative principles in the face of the government-accommodating Republicanism that has infected so much of the party.

Fourth, the GOP already owned the energy issue and and the energy issue dominates and will continue to dominate the next 60 days. Even if Sarah Palin doesn't persuade John McCain to come out for exploring ANWR now, a vigorous exploration/conservation strategy has an ideal spokesperson in Palin.

Fifth, she is not a Beltway Republican. The modern GOP is the party of Reagan and Bush --both westerners, and very outside-the-Beltway. Neither ever succumbed to the Beltway's many poisons.

Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt is host of a nationally syndicated radio talk show. Hugh Hewitt's new book is The War On The West.