September 4, 2008

I have to tell you that, unlike most political observers, I think (and especially given the press of the last few days), I had extremely high expectations for Alaska Governor Sarah Palin tonight. I mean, if you don’t think someone is ready for big primetime, then don’t pick them. Therefore, I trusted John McCain to make the right choice, and frankly expected nothing less than a home run in her acceptance speech – my feeling being, if she can’t hit a home run before an enthusiastic, partisan arena she’s not even fit to begin even thinking about being Vice-President.

That being said, I think a star was born tonight.

I’m guessing my brother Dave might know a little bit of inside baseball here, because as a (sorta) Georgia politician who has given many speeches, the fact is, it’s one thing to be able to write a good speech or have a good speech written for you, it’s a whole nutha’ thing totally to be able to deliver a speech, and convincingly so, when you’re talking not just to a room of partisans (no matter how large), but to a huge, diverse television audience as well. All I can say is, Sarah Palin has “the gift” – that is, the ability to not just read a speech, but deliver one, and be photogenic all the while in doing so. Y’know, having done a bit of this kind of thing in the past, they say in acting you can’t teach timing (heck, that’s what made giants like Bob Hope and Jack Benny so great), and Sarah Palin knows timing.

Some other observations:

If I’m a Democrat, I’m a little nervous after tonight. Sarah Palin and Rudy Giuliani exposed Obama’s elitist weaknesses for all the world to see. When someone criticizes you for “writing two memoirs without writing one piece of legislation” (as Palin did with a smile), I’d be taking notice.

I can only imagine what mainstream Democrats must be thinking after tonight: after all, a night like this should have belonged to Hillary Clinton, and a week ago in Denver. Instead, Barack Obama and his leftists and syncophants in the mainstream dino-media stole this moment away from both them and her. Were I a female Democrat, I’d be, frankly, a little pissed right now…

Only the hardest-hearted person out there could not have been moved when Palin talked about her Down’s Syndrome child, and that, were she to be elected, there would be no greater advocate for special needs families. Having an autistic nephew, her statement really hit a nerve with me.

She proved she can deliver very harsh criticism of Barack Obama, yet do it wth a little panache and a little humor. I loved the line about the “styrofoam columns” and how the mayoral experience differs from that of a community activist. Lemme tell you, this woman didn’t get the nickname “Sarah Barracuda” for nothing. I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but I don’t care. Call me the biggest, sexist male chauvinist pig in the world, but I will say this: a woman political candidate walks a fine line between being “feisty”, and a bitch. Sarah Palin was able to walk that line tonight, and while she came close on a couple of occasions, she somehow knew when to draw back and employ the necessary amount of humor and sarcasm. Not an easy thing to do. No question, she delivered some very sharp contrasts (I would argue, the sharpest of the convention thus far) but was able to do it without sounding bitchy. It’s a gift she has that is very hard to define.

Allow me to explain this a bit: I found Mitt Romney’s earlier speech incredibly harsh, vindictive, and strident towards liberals. Look, I’m no fan of the liberal and progressive agenda, but there’s a way to criticize and make your points. Giuliani and Palin did a fine job of it by adding just the right amount of humor and sarcasm. Romney failed miserably, and came off mean. Like I say, the devil is in the delivery…

I really liked McCain coming out and making a brief appearance following her speech. Very touching, and icing on the cake.

What does it portend from here for the Republican ticket? Who knows. Tomorrow night will be a big night for John McCain – let’s see how he does. In the meanwhile, I’ll leave the last word to National Review’s Jim Geraghty, who I think sums up my feelings pretty well:

What did we see tonight?

Tonight, we either saw a watershed in American politics, a tour de force, the most striking and graceful debut in our nation’s political life, and a national introduction that makes Barack Obama’s 2004 convention address look like small potatoes… or we saw what we wanted to see, and the country’s persuadable independents saw something else. I’m afraid to believe. If I’m wrong, I don’t really know what Americans want. I know conservatives are thrilled to pieces, and they ought to be. She knocked it out of the park. I don’t think she could have delivered that speech any better. Even if I hadn’t suggested a line, I would say that the speech hit almost every note just right. (Did the Obama fans feel this way? Is this what their exultation feels like? Wonderful. I’m glad they get to experience it too.)

In the end, people don’t vote for Vice-Presidents, they vote for Presidents. Nevertheless, John McCain has his work cut out for him tomorrow night, and it’ll be uinteresting to see just how he does.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 01:07 | Comment (1)
1 Comment
  1. Round 1 to the GOP and to Gov. Palin.

    If she can pull off the same performance in her Vice-Presidential debate with Biden, this election should effectively be over.

    Comment by Dave Richard — September 4, 2008 @ 12:25 pm

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