Pundits all across the country are buzzing about Sarah Palin and the impact she’s having on the Obama-McCain matchup. This represents typical inside-the-box thinking. I think it’s also out of step with a new matchup that’s taking center stage: the Palin-Obama matchup.

People across America still understand that the presidential matchup is still McCain-Obama but they’re starting to notice that, when it comes to reform, it’s really a Palin-Obama matchup.

Prior to Gov. Palin’s entry into the mix, people generally thought of Sen. Obama as a change agent, a reformer. Now that people are finding out how Sarah Palin took on the powers-that-be within the Republican Party of Alaska and how she ran out the Republican Attorney General before thrashing the sitting Republican governor in a GOP primary, people are taking a second look at Sen. Obama’s reformer’s credentials.

The closer the scrutiny, I predict, the less impressed voters will be with Sen. Obama. The reason for that is because his reformer’s credentials are largely nonexistent. While he made his way up the food chain in Chicago’s crony-laden political system, Sen. Obama didn’t utter a peep about the corruption that dotted Chicago’s political landscape.

Instead, he picked friends like Jeremiah Wright, a racist, and William Ayers, a terrorist. While those relationships with radicals prove that Obama isn’t an inside-the-box politician, those relationships don’t prove that he’s got an ambition to change the status quo when the status quo is corrupt.

In fact, what it really proves is that, putting it charitably, Sen. Obama’s judgment on personal matters is suspect. It also calls into question Sen. Obama’s priorities. Based on this information, it’s difficult to prove that reforming Washington is a priority.

This brings me to another important point. Changing Washington isn’t the same as reforming Washington. In fact, changing Washington might mean he’s intent on using the legal system or the weight of the federal government to silence his critics. His campaign certainly didn’t hesitate in attempting to silence researcher Stanley Kurtz. His campaign went so far as to call Mr. Kurtz a “right-wing hatchet man.” Here’s a portion of the text of the email his campaign sent out:

In the next few hours, we have a crucial opportunity to fight one of the most cynical and offensive smears ever launched against Barack.

Tonight, WGN radio is giving right-wing hatchet man Stanley Kurtz a forum to air his baseless, fear-mongering terrorist smears. He’s currently scheduled to spend a solid two-hour block from 9:00 to 11:00 p.m. pushing lies, distortions, and manipulations about Barack and University of Illinois professor William Ayers.

Tell WGN that by providing Kurtz with airtime, they are legitimizing baseless attacks from a smear-merchant and lowering the standards of political discourse.

Call into the “Extension 720” show with Milt Rosenberg at (312) 591-7200

(Show airs from 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. tonight)

Then report back on your call at http://my.barackobama.com/WGNstandards

Kurtz has been using his absurd TV appearances in an awkward and dishonest attempt to play the terrorism card. His current ploy is to embellish the relationship between Barack and Ayers.

Team Obama’s intent is clear. They wanted to intimidate and silence a critic. There’s a word for that and that word is censorship. The question we have to ask is simple: If Sen. Obama is prepared to go to these lengths to silence a critic during a campaign, what would he do with the vast resources of the federal government behind him?

People know that they’ll never have to ask that question of Sarah Palin. They’re starting to understand that she’s better at doing the things that Sen. Obama just talks about. She’s a reformer with results. Her straightforward approach is a refreshing blast that Washington needs badly.

The more she talks up her reform accomplishments, the more people will agree with her and like her.

Meanwhile, Sen. McCain can just take a step back and say “If I’m elected, I’m going to unleash Hurricane Sarah on K Street corruption.” People will know that there’s only one reform ticket on the ballot this fall.

The bad news for Team Obama is that they’ll know that it isn’t the Obama-Biden ticket.

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Cross-posted at California Conservative

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