★ The Speech - Sarah Palin is the Real Deal

We've heard since the beginning of this campaign how the Democrats have been making history. Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I was privileged to be a part of a different kind of history. I am proud to be able to say that I was there when Sarah Palin changed the world of American politics. But first...

It really struck me how the speakers throughout the night established a narrative that built to Palin's address. First we heard from small businessmen, city council members, state senators, and concerned citizens. Then we were privileged to hear from two successful female business leaders - Meg Whitman of eBay fame, and Carly Fiorina of Hewlett-Packard. The storyline was established: Republicans are the party of average Americans and strong women.

Then the superstars hit. Michael Steele, the former Lieutenant Governor from Maryland and the most prominent African-American in our party gave a speech in which he coined a new catchphrase for proponents of energy independence - "Drill, Baby, Drill." Mitt Romney brought the crowd to its feet with talk about... business? I actually clapped for Mike Huckabee, who was magnificent. And Rudy... well, he was the Rudy of old tonight.

But none was the star of the evening.

Whether John McCain wins or loses this election, the speech that Sarah Palin gave tonight will be long remembered. In a way that no woman - and yes, I am including Hillary Clinton - no woman has ever done, Sarah Palin has fundamentally changed American politics with her address tonight. As she took the stage, the room was euphoric, but the joy was tempered with caution. After all, our only exposure to Palin had been her well-delivered but not outstanding speech last Friday. Could she stand on stage with the big boys?

The question has been answered.

The answer is a resounding yes.

We all held our breath for a minute, but when she leaned into the mic, cracked the first joke, and smiled that beauty queen smile, we all fell in love with her. She grabbed the bull by the horns and never let go. The crowd loved her. The pundits are raving. The critics are silent.

Tomorrow it'll start again in earnest, because the liberals of this country now have no reason to doubt that Sarah Palin is an immediate threat to their left-wing vision of the future. The attacks will get slimier. The reporting will get shoddier. They will do all they can to destroy Sarah Palin and everything she stands for.

And the Governor will smile and America will applaud.

I overheard someone at the Convention say something as he pinned a McCain-Palin button to his shirt. He told his friend, "I'm voting for Palin. I guess I'll take McCain, but I'm voting for Palin."

I think it's safe to say that he's not alone.