"A little fear can often be a healthy thing."
Some friends say the expression is a metaphor for an essential tension that runs through Mr. McCain's life.
If you keep flicking it on and off it will eventually blow.
"There was no downside -- until the bottom fell out."
She thought she could do it.
"Enough about clothes and hairdos and high heels," Ms. Palin said. "I want to talk about the important things."
But something essential is missing.
"The emptiness got to me very quickly," he said.
And there's certainly something to that.
The problem is now that none of that's left.
"It basically comes down to sucking it up," she said.
How much, no one knows.