It could be brilliant, says CBS News political consultant Joe Trippi.
"What they're going to do is they're going to use her to take on Obama and challenge him to take on the corruption in his own party," says Trippi, who notes that Palin has earned a reputation for fighting Republican corruption in Alaska. "They've got these two mavericks now. They can say, 'he talks about changing politics, but he's never taken on the corruption in the Democratic Party like we have in our party. We'll take it on."
"It goes to the instinct everybody has to hate Washington," he adds. "This is potentially a real winner because of the way it appeals to women but also how they can rail against Washington."
The appeal of picking a woman has risks, however, "if it seems an affirmative-action pick," says CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield.
If people believe the only reason Palin, a first term governor with little experience, was picked is that she's a woman, "that might not sit well with working class guys," he says.
CBS News political analyst Dan Bartlett points out that the Palin pick signals that the McCain camp sees an opportunity to make headway with Hillary Clinton supporters who have not come over to Obama. "The problem she has is a lot of those women who rallied around Hillary Clinton are pro-choice, and she's pro-life," Trippi notes. "To defect, they'd be voting for a pro-life ticket."
And then there is the question of whether Palin is ready to be president – a charge that Republicans have repeatedly lobbied at Obama. (McCain, as Democrats are sure to point out, turns 72 today.)
"The argument is Obama is not ready for 3 am phone call about crises in central Europe or one of the -stans, so what about Palin?," says Greenfield. "There's no reason to think there's anything in her record that says she's ready. It really undercuts the argument against Obama."