I am now officially over Sarah Palin. Hard to believe, yes, given the odd fascination with her odd-for-a-Republican-VP nominee background, but its over.

More importantly, the Republicans need to start getting over her, or they are in trouble.

Palin has now done what the McCain camp needed her to do. She effectively seized the campaign narrative form Obama and brought it to the Republicans. She did so without involving President Bush. She energized the party base. She gave what everyone is going to say was a good speech last night (though I’ll admit I didn’t really watch it because I was finishing the powerpoint for a talk I’m giving tomorrow in Cleveland).

But her day is done because the real important speech of the RNC is tonight: John McCain, who if you may have forgotten, is the name at the top of the ticket. From here on out, its McCain v Obama, or McCain / Palin v Obama / Biden. Lets not forget: She’s not at the top of the ticket. And, the record shows, people don’t vote for VP, people vote for President.

Even the VP debates aren’t that important. The most memorable VP debate moment was when Lloyd Bentsen told Dan Quayle “you’re no Jack Kennedy.” Quayle was done after that. And yet, Bush / Quayle still won.

With the convention over, McCain will get his post-convention bounce, and we’ll all be reading Nate Silver to see just how big it is. Then the real campaign will start in earnest, Obama v. McCain, and that’s why tonight’s speech is in fact the more important one.

Oh, and if you really want to swing the election, root for Overtime in tonight’s game. That’s right, its the kick-off for the NFL, in prime time on NBC. The key battleground of Northern Virginia, which Obama will be counting on to help him flip the state from red to blue, will all be tuned into the game.

McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker said yesterday the prospect of an extra-long game has caused some concern: “I had talked on background with a Republican convention planner a couple of weeks ago who said, ‘Don’t mention overtime. Overtime is our rain-in-Denver scenario.’ ”

I love the NFL.

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