Anchorage Daily News editorial: Hey, you know who's been a pretty darned effective governor?

One of the more effusive back-handed compliments I’ve ever read, from a paper that’s well aware of her political faults. They’re not calling her a lightweight exactly, but it’s clear they think her interest in the nuts and bolts of policy is, let us say, insufficiently nuanced.

Which makes their conclusion that she’d be a dynamite VP all the more surprising.

Gov. Palin is not the kind of leader who gets bogged down in minutia and works 100-hours a week. Instead, she uses her charisma and a simple, clear vision to mobilize mass support for her agenda, then leaves the details and heavy lifting to others…

As governor, she has focused almost exclusively on a handful of high-priority issues — ethics, oil tax reform and state incentives for building a natural gas pipeline. And she has had dramatic success. With Gov. Palin leading the way, the Legislature passed strong legislation on all three fronts. On two of those issues, she had to take on Alaska’s previously all-powerful oil industry. Twice she easily defeated them…

One big surprise about Palin’s term as governor: She has been thoroughly bipartisan. Her most reliable supporters on her big three accomplishments have been Democrats. The partisan side that Palin showed in her acceptance speech Thursday is something Alaskans haven’t seen in her time as governor.

Earlier this year, Palin told a cable news interviewer that somebody is going to have to tell her “what it is exactly that the VP does.” In some ways, the vice president’s job is a perfect fit for her. She wouldn’t have to run the country. She could focus on a handful of high-profile issues, inspire people with her passion and star power, and try to accomplish a few great things.

It’s a perfect fit, that is, so long as she doesn’t actually have to step in for McCain. The left will seize on this and the detail about her “fearless sense of righteousness” to compare her to Bush, but read it yourself and see if it doesn’t call to mind a different “lightweight” Republican president. If she wins — and no matter what Gallup says, given the electoral vote projections, that’s still a mighty shaky if — then Palinmania could be a huge asset in galvanizing popular support for McCain’s energy policy. Maverick’s mama didn’t raise no dummy.

Exit question: Who’ll be feeling more pressure during the ABC interview later this week, Palin or Charlie Gibson? If you thought the left was hard on him and Stephanopoulos for having the stones to ask Obama about William Ayers, wait and see what he gets if she comes through with flying colors.