Monday evening

The buzz around the Xcel Energy Center was all about Sarah Palin’s daughter — and whether it is fair game, or even an issue.

Most people I talk to don’t believe that it will hurt the ticket, but that it may only be a preview to come of what happens when such an untested — and perhaps unvetted — candidate enters the political arena. It is all the more likely that information about Sarah Palin will come out in dribs and drabs in the coming weeks, with each new detail provoking another round of stories on whether it is a non issue. Therein lies the risk for McCain in making this pick, as time that he could be devoting to the economy or the war in Iraq may instead be spent on what could easily unfold like a soap opera.

As for whether her daughter’s out-of-wedlock pregnancy is an issue, a case has been made by plenty of bloggers that it should be, as her mother opposes sex education and the campaign itself has pointed out Sarah Palin’s decision to have a child with Down’s syndrome. I personally think that the argument is flimsy at best, and that it’s a stretch to say how this is an indicator of Sarah Palin’s qualifications. But it is definitely interesting to watch the drama played out in a party that has embraced such traditional notions of a nuclear family. In other words, it’s a shock to the system.

Trooper-gate, by contrast, is undoubtedly fair game.