Is no one going to say that Sarah Palin rocked the vice presidential debate? Who is so arrogant to think that they could do better with just five weeks’ preparation?

She did a great job. She memorized speeches that she trotted out in good moments. And she had such nerve! Most of us would be too shy to flagrantly disregard the question, but she knew that was her job. She knew her job was to give set up answers and fit them in the best she could, and she did that. She delivered her lines very well. She played to the camera. She was friendly, and charming, and eloquent as long as you didn’t mind that she talked about whatever she wanted.

The thing is that most of politics is not about giving the right answer. It’s about giving any answer the right way. The world is not bashing Kennedy for beating Nixon in the classic debate where Nixon wore all the wrong stuff and the wrong makeup and could have said anything and he still would have lost. No. No one is complaining about Kennedy’s dependence on style in that debate. And we didn’t generally bash Reagan for being a great orator even though we thought he was probably losing his mind even before he got to office. He was still a great orator and could deliver his messages in a mesmerizing way.

So give Sarah some credit. She did a great job. Sure she’s probably not ready to move into the White House. But that doesn’t mean she didn’t do a great job. She can only do her best. And she did. And you have to respect someone who takes a huge risk and does a good job. Look, if you think she’s unqualified, don’t vote for McCain, because he’s the bozo who selected her. But since she’s there, learn something from her. Take advantage of a fun, capable woman who is rising up to the occasion. She’s ignoring the taunts (even I have thrown some) and she has enough of a sense of self that she’s plowing forward.

But really, it’s hard to believe that she will be on the winning ticket. It’s hard to believe that anyone could choose McCain after he has shown such poor judgment. But Palin will land on her feet. She’ll get some TV commentator job, or some interior secretary job, and she’ll learn the ropes, and she’ll succeed.

If you are wondering why your own career is stalled, consider that it’s because you don’t have mentors like her. She is scrappy and she knows how to manage her image. It’s not small peanuts, and it’s hard to find a woman who is as good at it as she is and public about how she’s doing it. Take advantage of the learning opportunity.