McCain campaign aides have a set of arguments and data points that amount to a political case -- an answer of sorts to those who believe that McCain fundamentally erred in picking the governor of Alaska.
Palin is directly responsible for doubling the size of the campaign's field operation, according to a senior campaign official, as she's been a huge fundraising draw, bringing in, according one reliable estimate, more than $30 million for the RNC and its joint accounts. In the 12 hours after the announcement, she raised $4.4 million for the campaign.
She is directly responsible for luring more than 100,000 people to McCain-Palin events -- and that's on the low end of a guesstimate.
She has helped the campaign recruit thousands of additional volunteers. In the last two weeks, for the first time this year, the campaign has recorded more volunteer door knocks and phone calls than the same weeks 4 years ago.
"Given that 2004 is the measuring stick, we're proud of that," a campaign official says. "We were nowhere close to 2004 stats until about 3 weeks ago."
Her choice has gotten some of the louder social conservative voices to shut the heck up and stop complaining about McCain. The money and people that she has brought has been put towards opening at least 100 new field offices over the past two weeks alone.
Had McCain not found a way to gin up enthusiasm for his ticket, his get-out-the-vote machine would likely be half its size.
The thinking in Arlington (most of it, anyway) is that if Palin escapes relatively unscathed Thursday, she will simply cease to be an election issue.