September 4, 2008

I had a chance to watch once again Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech from last night. I wanted to see it removed from “the moment” and all the accolades it had received just afterwards. I think my original impressions were validated – this was a very fine speech; but watching it again I was amazed at just how political a speech it was, and how cutting her remarks about Barack Obama were. If Rudy Giuliani’s keynote speech had softened up the beast, Palin’s speech carved it up like a Thanksgiving Day turkey, leaving nothing more than the skin and bones. This wasn’t just fine theater, it was fine political theater, and from someone few people knew anything about. Somethink akin to David being called out of the Israeli dugout to slay Goliath.

And her marks cut, just like an uppercut out of nowhere. You know what I thought while watching her speech a second time? I thought of that marvelous scene in “Rocky”, where Apollo Creed and his advisors are all gathered around a table yucking it up while his trainer watches warily a clip of Rocky Balboa fighting on the television. His suggestion to Creed that he ought to come join him and look at what he’s seeing is met with deaf ears, and you can see the cause for concern on the trainer’s face. I could imagine Obama’s people doing the same thing as they watched Palin’s speech as perhaps their candidate yakked happily away on the phone or tinkered on his Blackberry. But back to the damage Palin’s speech did – you could tell the Obama people were caught off-guard by her remarks in the fact that their immediate response was not to criticize the content of her remarks (they finally got around to doing that today), but pointing out her speech was written by a (gasp!) professional speechwriter (as if Obama doesn’t employ his own!) Heh. Good comeback there.

But back to Palin’s speech. You know, there’s a fine line between sarcasm and snarkiness when you’re ridiculing someone, and on second hearing I thought at first she might have crossed the line a couple of times. But then I started thinking: who, in fact was she ridiculing to begin with? If it had been, say, a sitting President running for re-election, the tone of her remarks would most definitely not have worked or been appropriate. But she wasn’t talking about a sitting President, only one who thinks he already is, it’s just that the ballots haven’t been counted yet. Think about it: when you add up all of the Obama campaign’s actions since he went over the top in committed delegates, you see a campaign (one undoubtedly reflecting the person at the top) full of… er, hubris. (I was going to use another word.) The issue with the faux Presidential seal, his cause celebre tour of Europe culminating with that speech in Germany, the absurd (at least in my view) choice of setting and stage for his acceptance speech. All of which designed to show Obama – not America – as that shining city on a hill, drawing all his disciples from far and near.

But like a shining city glittering on an ocean coastline, Hurricane Sarah showed up and, like a storm pounding and thrusting against the shoreline, exposed its underlying weakness and left it damaged, if not in tattered ruins. You can’t blame Palin for this – these weaknesses (and she didn’t even get into the William Ayers connection!) could – indeed, should – have been exposed by a curious media doing its job instead of carrying his water throughout the Democratic primaries and after. Hillary Clinton laid the groundwork on several occasions, but the arrogance of the Obama campaign and his syncophants in both the mainstream dino-media and the progressive/liberal blogoshere helped dilute the effect, leaving Obama exposed to the haymakers thrown by Giuliani and Palin that hit and drew blood.

Of course, whether the damage caused to the Democrats by Palin and her now-rocketing popularity has any lasting effect is anyone’s guess. But we know she’s made an immediate impact when it comes to independent voters and the McCain campaign’s coffers – two areas not to be taken lightly. And today she’s stayed on the attack, just so everyone knows she’s no flash in the pan, someone to be pushed back into the shadows on the periphery of the campaign.

Where the Presidential campaign of 2008 goes from here is anyone’s guess. But you have to hand it to John McCain for finally figuring out a way to do something no one has been able to do since those heady “Obamamania” days of winter – that is, grab the headlines from the Obama campaign and put it off its stride. The Obama campaign now knows it can’t take Sarah Palin or the McCain campaign lightly anymore. And in this game of chess, the next move is theirs.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 10:08 | Comments (0)
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