24

The Palin speech


 

Yesterday, Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin delivered what has been called by most of the political observers a “home run, out of the park” speech. She was forceful, articulate and she delivered a well structured speech. It had a family touch, it said the right things about the nominee and she was able to brand herself in a way that corresponds with the new positioning of the McCain campaign. The McCain-Palin ticket is now the maverick, outside Washington, and reform alternative to the Obama-Biden campaign of change. To be fair, Palin energized the room and surpassed expectations.

In recent days, there has been much controversy about her selection and much of it has been directed to the vetting process and the judgment of John McCain. Prior to asking her to join the ticket, there was only one meeting of record between the two and we are finding out in a piecemeal fashion more and more about who she is and what she stands for. As a result, there has been speculation among bloggers and some pundits that her choice would be short-lived. Some compared her to Thomas Eagleton in 1972 when he had to leave the McGovern ticket shortly after his nomination. Or, some claimed she was the reincarnation of Dan Quayle, untested and unprepared. Yesterday’s speech was successful but it is still just a speech.

We now find out that much of the speech was authored by speech writers associated with George W. Bush. So much for distancing oneself from the Bush administration. Outside the content dealing with her family, not much came from her, according to some reports. This means that the real test is yet to come. Press conferences, Sunday morning talk-show interviews, and the daily regimen of news stories will contrast greatly from a hall of sympathetic Republicans waiting and hoping to be energized.

What was disturbing in this speech had nothing to do with her delivery or even with her content. The problem was the tone. There was sarcasm and there was self-righteousness. That Sarah Palin has a good story to tell is one thing, but do you need to attack and bring down your opponent’s life story? You can disagree with Obama on taxes, universal healthcare, the war in Iraq, and the fight against terrorism. But when you minimize the fact that this young African American who was raised by a single mother, who lived for a time on food stamps, who depended on scholarships to be educated, and who chose to work among the poor and disadvantaged on the South side of Chicago, you have to wonder where is the generosity of spirit and the values she so proudly holds to. I know this is an election, and attacking your opponent is part of the game. However, wasn’t John McCain suppose to be a different kind of Republican? The election is not over and Americans may decide that Obama is not ready to lead, but most Americans would agree that he has a compelling life story and is a model for today’s youth. Obama could have been a successful and affluent corporate lawyer but chose to serve the public. Yesterday, Palin energized the Republican base and hoped to attract Hillary Clinton’s supporters. But she is not Hillary Clinton and in so doing she may have energized another base. And that one may not ultimately vote for McCain-Palin.


 

The Palin speech

  1. well said, i totally agree that was too much to belittle somebody. I’m tired of the POW card that the republicans are playing. good post

  2. Now they have the Mom card too that they’re already playing plenty. But I don’t understand why Palin would give press conferences or appear on sunday talk shows. Wouldn’t she follow Bush’s moel of appearing only before enthusiastic Republicans in order to show the viewing public what a popular and respected leader she is?

  3. John,

    I completely agree with you. I felt a certain unease when I heard her mock Barack’s background.

    Excellent post.

  4. Good post. I’d like to have had links, however, to read for myself the reports as outlined in this passage:

    We now find out that much of the speech was authored by speech writers associated with George W. Bush. So much for distancing oneself from the Bush administration. Outside the content dealing with her family, not much came from her, according to some reports.

    Can you update with the links?

  5. Matthew Scully wrote it…all you have to do is Google him and you’ll have more news reports about it than you’ll know what to do with.

  6. While we may find this sort of speech distasteful and unsettling, I suspect that it is the speech that many in America have been waiting for. There are a lot of people who don’t like what Obama stands for (single mother, food stamps, community organiser, lawyer etc.) who will relish her attack.

    Half of politics is about bashing the opposition and she looks to be pretty good at it.

  7. John Parisella You are shameless, you really are. I don’t know how you can write this stuff and take yourself seriously.

    I just re-read your post on Obama’s speech and there was no mention of Jon Favreau so I am not sure why Palin’s speech writer is an issue for you but Jon isn’t.

    And if you took a moment or two, you might notice that Obama campaign and their surrogates in the media have been belittling Palin since Friday and so she fought back last night. It’s too bad that you come across as a man who prefers women to be seen but not heard.

  8. “We now find out that much of the speech was authored by speech writers associated with George W. Bush.”

    Wow. I was sure they would be Democrats. I’m SHOCKED.

  9. No jwl, you are shameless.

    On another note. I told my wife that by the end of the campaign I was probably going to really deslike Palin. My first impressions of her were favorable, seemed well poised and intelligent (though I disagreed with her views). I just didn’t realize it would only take one speech. It was smug and ugly. And yes I know she wasn’t counting on my vote. Palin just pissed of 18 million Obama supporters who love sending him cash. Well done.

  10. jwl writes: I just re-read your post on Obama’s speech and there was no mention of Jon Favreau so I am not sure why Palin’s speech writer is an issue for you but Jon isn’t.

    Well, I’m no Einstein, but I presume his point was that, given that their was no mention of GW Bush in ANY of last night’s speeches, one might conclude that the Republican Party is now trying to distance itslf from his record of the past eight years.

    Hence, his statement “So much for distancing oneself from the Bush administration”.

    In the Obama example you cite, the parallel would have been if Obama was downplaying the Clinton years while his speech writer also wrote for Clinton.

    Does that help with your uncertainty?

  11. @Blues Clair

    Money doesn’t buy elections – ask Hillary who had a massive funding advantage until Obama started winning. Sarah Palin’s speech has attracted publicity you can’t buy.

    The fact is that while I admire her fighting spirit, I abhor her moral crusades. Her experience is not her stumbling block – she could be 20 years in the Senate and a three term governor but she has an intolerant streak unworthy of a diverse nation.

  12. Evening Blues Clair

    Palin might have pissed off 18 million Obama supporters but so what? I think that was exactly her intention, so job well done. The best coverage I saw last night was MSNBC and all the hosts looked like someone just ran over their dog right after her speech ended.

    Palin came out swinging and did it with a smile. Happy warriors are quite popular and she will be darling of Republican party for quite some time to come.

    I think Obama comes across as one of the most smug, self satisfied people I have seen in politics but obviously our mileage varies on what constitutes smugness.

  13. Sure Mark, money doesn’t by elections. But it helps and so does getting your base excited one way or another. Ask Harper.

    jwl, indeed, good evening. Surprised you would be commending a speech that was all overblown rhetoric. I thought that was Obama’s expertise?

    The Grand Old Party, 2008 Washington outsiders, rebels if you will.

    cheers

  14. Dot

    No, it doesn’t, because you have conveniently left out the very next sentence. The only reason people are trying to raise Bush speech writer issue is because she’s a formidable opponent and they are incapable of attacking her ideas so they go after the presenter.

    And it’s almost beyond parody that Obama supporters are getting all-uppity about someone who can give a good speech.

  15. Well, I’ll be damned. They are calling Palin, Obama’s official fundraiser.

    “Obama’s coffers have been filling since Sarah Palin attacked him repeatedly in St. Paul last night. An Obama aide confirms Drudge’s report that Obama has raised about $8 million from more than 130,000 donors and is on pace to raise $10 million by the time McCain reaches the stage tonight.”

    – Politco
    September 04, 2008

  16. Blues Clair

    You are correct when you say I don’t like overblown rhetoric but I don’t think there was any of that in her speech.

    Her quips had nice balance of truth and condescension and that’s why all of Barry’s supporters are running around with their knickers in a twist today. My absolute fav was saying one thing in scranton and another in san fran. I think we will be hearing much, much more about Obama’s belief that people cling to guns and god.

  17. Jwl, I don’t think you understand what a blog is. It’s not meant to be objective. It’s an opinion. John clearly is a fan of Obama. I wouldn’t expect him to praise Palin’s speech. In fact, I’m impressed he even conceded that they are now the maverick team. With that I disagree. Palin had a lot to prove, and she proved it. She’s an ultra-conservative who will do or say anything to gain power, even if that means sacrificing the privacy of teen daughter during a most difficult time, or delivering a rather crude and often inaccurate speech. ( and who exactly will be taking care of Mrs.Family Value’s down syndrome son when she’s vice-president?) I agree that Obama may come across as arrogant and but last night, Palin proved that he isn’t the only one who can make themselves out to be a hero for having a living a pretty common life. ( 2 memoirs- really Obama?) I don’t want to diminish either’s accomplishments but being poor born and being raised by a single mom does not make you a hero. It’s the life that millions upon millions lead. It’s the life I have lead. And being a member of the PTA and a hockey mom also doesn’t make you a hero. I am also both these things. And I don’t see them as accomplishments, just as my lot in life. These two need to be seen for what they are- two intelligent and hardworking people with lots of charisma and a little bit of luck. As far as I’m concerned, neither have earned my vote yet.

  18. jwl says: The only reason people are trying to raise Bush speech writer issue is because she’s a formidable opponent and they are incapable of attacking her ideas so they go after the presenter.

    Well, speaking as an equal opportunity cynic, I have made similar claims about both Palin and Michelle Obama’s speech that everyone was going gaga about at the time.

    As I have said elsewhere, this is all about selling different brands of soap flakes.

    Palin is Arctic Power, Obama is All Temperature Cheer. McCain is Tide while Joe Biden is Arm and Hammer

    I’m just surprised how people like you get all caught up in the marketing minutiae.

  19. Dot it’s because I’m bored and unemployed. But I’m working on getting a job now so I’m going to stop doing this real soon. Honest.

  20. Well, at least you’re honest.

    Btw, you in Mom’s basement? :)

  21. No I moved out some 20 years ago. I’m in my own basement (at least it’s paid for).

  22. Joe Biden is the real Eagleton. He even looks a little like Eagleton…

Sign in to comment.