The word you're looking for is "stagecraft". While the networks made a big deal out of the impeachment hearings by calling them "stagecraft", I would charge that the selection of Sarah Palin is a more accurate example of the genre.
She's been a governor for only two years. Her sole foreign policy experience is being "near Russia" (because there are no other countries near Alaska). There is this hilarious CNN clip in which a Republican operative dodges every which way to avoid the foreign policy question, which the Republicans hold as all important. Notice how he never, ever answers the question of how Palin could possibly be qualified for this job.
Her teenage daughter is unmarried and pregnant.
On top of all this, she is, in point of fact, a woman.
And that, my friends, was the point of choosing her.
The whole reason John McCain, the guy who calls his wife names and has a horrible appeal to feminine voters, chose Palin is because she is an extremely objectionable female.
What do they want to happen? They want to see the news covered with attacks on her inexperience and her pregnant teenage daughter. They want the world to come crashing down on her. For one, it makes McCain look good, but that's not the real purpose. The real purpose is to have everyone attacking a woman.
This is their last ditch attempt to get all of those disgruntled Hillary voters over to their side. All of those voters who believe that Barack beat Hillary because he's black and she's a woman (not because of actual differences is policy) are up for grabs as far as the Republicans are concerned. If they can somehow convince those bitter voters that Sarah Palin is the political reincarnation of their own Hillary, victim of sexual discrimination, maybe they can squeak out an election victory.