Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin Tonight (revisited)

By Michael J.W. Stickings

(See my pre-speech post here.)

Seriously, this is a joke, right? That's pretty much what I was asking myself and anyone who would listen during pretty much the entirety of Palin's speech.

What a joke.

But, let's give credit where credit is due, Libby nailed it: "Sarah Palin will give a great speech. She will lie her face off." Check and check. Though the "greatness" of the speech needs to be considered relative to the expectations, which were disturbingly low. She gave a great speech from the perspective of the base, the party faithful at whom it was directed, as well as of the theocratic ideologues behind her candidacy.

And she gave a great speech according to the media, or at least according to the anchors and analysts who make up the celebrity TV commentariat. "A star is born," gushed Wolf Blitzer -- and similar sentiments were offered up by the likes of Chris Matthews, David Gregory, and David Gergen, and pretty much everyone else, so swept up were they in the moment, so taken with Palin, so eager to praise her "authenticity," one of the words of the night. Someone else -- it might also have been Blitzer -- concluded that she's hit a home run. Presumably the wind was blowing out, the fences had been moved in, and Palin was hitting off a tee with an aluminum bat.

Seriously, this person -- I'd say "woman," but the Republicans are so quick to throw around the sexism charge -- is on a national ticket and could be the next vice president? Are you kidding me?

I don't care about her "authenticity". What does that even mean? That she's "real"? But shouldn't we expect more of our democratic leaders? Was George Washington a great president because he was "authentic"? It may be the bias of advanced democracies that we expect our leaders to be just like us, but, again, what does that mean? All I saw tonight was a woman who is clearly not prepared for the national and world stage. She and her surrogates, like Giuliani, whose speech just before hers was appallingly awful, are talking up her executive experience, which already separates her from the rest of us, but she came across not as a leader but as the "hockey mom" she wants us to believe she still is. But, seriously, do Americans want a "hockey mom" anywhere near the Oval Office?

And, yes, she lied, and lied, and lied. About herself, about McCain, about Obama. For example, she claimed she was against the "bridge to nowhere" even though she was for it until public opinion turned against it. And, yes, she attacked Obama, digging and digging, making light of his experiences and accomplishments, and it was disgusting. Who is she to attack Obama and Biden? She is a pathetic little tool next to either one of them.

And yet, as expected, the media loved it, and wanted to make sure we knew they loved it. Maybe because they themselves wanted to seem more "authentic," more in touch with "real" Americans. Maybe because she criticized them and they wanted to make amends. Maybe because of those low expectations. Maybe because they wanted to seem "fair" and "balanced." Maybe because many of them are gullible fools. "The war has started," according to Andrea Mitchell, or something like that, yet more idiocy from the fawning media establishment.

What a joke.

I admit, it was not an awful speech, and Palin did not give an awful performance, but neither the speech nor the performance were anywhere near what the media is claiming they were. All she did was deliver without serious blunders a carefully crafted address to over-enthusiastic party loyalists pre-programmed to leap up and applaud, an address that combined her hokey personal story with lies, smears, and McCain worship.

And it was a speech largely without substance. What did she utter in terms of the issues, and in terms of policy, other than shallow regurgitations of Republican talking points? Her main policy focus was on energy, but, even there, all she said was that drilling for more domestic oil is the way to go. She alleged that Obama is against any such drilling, accusing him therefore of being against ending America's dependence on foreign oil, but she made no mention of alternative energy, nor of Obama's substantive energy plan. And what of national security. All we got was the standard lines about 9/11 and al Qaeda, along with the dubious claim that the Iraq War is about to be won. And there was almost nothing on domestic policy -- where she is, if anything, an extremist.

Sure, she reached out to "real" Americans, but she did so not with substantive policy proposals but with her own personal story, a story that, of course, has been thoroughly cleaned up for public consumption.

What a joke.


Her speech is getting a warm reception over at TNR, but I think Stump contributor Eve Fairbanks has the best assessment there:

-- "People have questioned her experience and her background; nobody really questioned whether she could give a good speech, especially after her successful rollout address last Friday. Tonight, diminished expectations combined with Palin's known-to-be-remarkable charisma made for the speech-making equivalent of putting a champ bowler two feet in front of a set of plastic duckpins."

-- "That's the problem with the positive case Palin made for herself, with its emphasis on all that small-town stuff: It convinced me that she makes a good PTA mom, that she may make a fine mayor, that she hasn't totally bombed as the essentially brand-new governor of the third-least-populous state in the Union, even that I might like to have a beer with her, or a glass of fermented whale milk or whatever one drinks with mooseburgers. But just because we're a nation of a hundred thousand Wasillas doesn't mean all those hundred thousand mayors ought to be in the White House. Tonight, she sounded for all the world like an unusually sharp version of those 'regular people' they drag onstage at conventions to tell their stories in the off-primetime hours."

-- "She was likeable enough, to borrow a line of Obama's. Maybe even lovable. But I don't think she neutered the argument that she's not ready, that her reformist record isn't what she claims it is, that she was a cynical pick, or that she -- as a poll released today found that a big majority of likely women voters believe -- undermines McCain's claim to 'experience.' I don’t think she did much more than anybody thought she would do."

(Noam Scheiber's assessment is pretty good, too: "[S]he came off as sort of perky, which is refreshing on some level, but not necessarily vice-presidential. And maybe you don't want to be so lacerating your first time out. Still, she far exceeded expectations, at least if by expectations you mean the cartoonish image conservatives accused the media of creating.")

I didn't find her either likeable or lovable. Instead, I found her clueless yet presumptuous.

And, if you haven't figured it out by now, I think she's a complete and utter joke.

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  • Seriously, this person -- I'd say "woman," but the Republicans are so quick to throw around the sexism charge -- is on a national ticket and could be the next vice president?

    Funny, because I couldn't help but notice her emphatic use of the word "man" rather than "person" in describing John McCain.

    By Blogger lindabeth, at 7:15 PM  

  • International Herald Tribune
    Text: Palin's speech

    Thursday, September 4, 2008

    The following is a text (updated for honesty) of the Republican National Committee of Gov. Sarah Palin's speech as prepared for delivery at the Republican National Convention:

    Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored to be considered for the nomination for Vice President of the United States...

    It's too late now, vetters!... and so I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America.

    The Democrats threw down the gauntlet, and now I'm ready to fight the overconfident opponents in this dangerous (9-ll) time for our country.

    John McCain is the only war hero in this election--so you CAN'T criticize pretty much everything bad you might dig up
    on him--and by extension myself. John McCain is the war and if you oppose John McCain, you spit on all the soldiers fighting for your freedom.

    It was just a year ago that the pollsters who measure public opinion wrote off John McCain, but the people knew better.

    And maybe that's because the people realize there is a time for politics and a time for leadership ... ignoring the first six years of Republican control of Congress under Bush, there is a time to campaign and a time to put our country first. And now that we're campaigning, we'll put country first!

    John McCain supported the surge, and now, with the negotiation with Moktada al-Sadar and the paying off the Sunni guerrillas, victory shines like a light at the end of a tunnel.

    Our family prays, just like you--I mean you all here in this room--not the godless other half of America.

    Here's my family. Just to set the record straight, Trig has special needs--and he's mine, not Paige's!

    To the families of special-needs children all across this country...

    I pledge to you that if a friend and advocate is someone who would cut
    the state's special needs budget by 62%, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.

    Todd is a story all by himself. The liberal National Enquirer was absolutely right about John Edwards, but they are lying about my affair with Todd's business partner.

    But he belongs to a union, and I know how much you all here support unions!

    And even though he takes cares for the children, he's still a man--a world champion snow machine racer, in fact.

    And to all the Eskimo's listening tonight, here's another reason to vote for McCain/Palin--that's right, I'm married to a Yup'ik Eskimo!

    I love my mom and dad, and among the many things I owe them is one simple lesson: that this is America.
    Oh, and, also that every woman can walk through every door of opportunity, especially the opportunity to choose life, even in the case of rape and incest.

    Let me tell you my own creation story. I was grown in a small town, just like Harry Truman--and that means that I'm honest, sincere, and have more dignity than those godless Democrats who are all from big cities. Not the Harry Truman who supported unions and national health insurance, just the one who grew up in a small town. We do all the hard work in America. We are all the farmers, factory workers, and soldiers.

    And we love our country no matter what corruption goes on in Washington for the past 1.7 years under the Democratic Rule.

    To all you former Hillary Supporters--I can wear a pant suit just like Hillary. I was just a hockey mom, and then just a PTA member, until I became just a city council member. And then I became the mayor of Wasilla without the
    need for sophisticated focus groups and voter profiles--because I knew every one of the 616 people who voted for me.

    Before the media elites make fun of me for that, let me explain to them what the job involves.

    I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities-- like voting in the case of a tie. I was also responsible for banning inappropriate books, firing people who opposed
    me, and issuing gag orders.

    I might add that in my small town, when people don't have the appropriate views on religion and guns--they're fired!

    As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes, and whoever is listening, John McCain is the same man.
    He may change is mind on tax cuts, immigration, and climate change, but he is physically the same person no matter where he goes.

    I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment. The GOP establishment helped me get started in Wasilla, but I became my own person by the next election.

    And I've learned quickly, these past few days, that being in the national spotlight is more intense than 6 straight
    months of Wasilla sunshine!

    But as a former weather reporter and basketball star, here's a news flash to the Washington elites up in the booths:

    Like, I don't need you guys! Like, get over yourselves. OK. I don't need to mingle with your clique, I have my own. OK.

    Politics isn't just a game of clashing parties and competing interests--although that is my favorite part.

    The right reason to play politics is to challenge the status quo.

    So if the status quo is abortion rights, I will challenge that, and if there are too many polar
    bears and not enough oil drilling, I will challenge that too!

    I have integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart.

    I pledge to all Americans that I will serve in the same spirit that brought me to the governor's office, when I took on the special interests and the lobbyists, and the good-ol' boys network.

    Now the Democrats are going to point out that I hired Abramoff's lobbyist to win $27 million for Wasilla, and that as governor I sought out $750 million in special ear marks for Alaska.
    But that happened before the pledge I just made, so it doesn't count.

    I asked Congress for a $400 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents--and I said,"Thanks!"
    But when the Left-wing media labeled it "the Bridge to Nowhere," I said, "No Thanks!" And then I accepted the money anyway without a specified earmark.

    But with the support of the citizens of Alaska, we shook things up--and we shook things down. In fact, we shook down Congress like a pitbull in a small town back alley!

    While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for.

    That $2.7 million luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay. Now there was only one bidder and that fell through, but I was still able to get $2.1 million for it! And this is how I will balance the Federal Budget!

    So now I am like the rest of you small town folks--I gave up flying to work, and my family no longer has a personal chef for all our meals.

    Our state budget is under control.

    We have a surplus. Not to take all the credit, but we have a surplus because of the taxes on oil revenue and rising gas prices--all of which I accomplished as a state executive!

    The stakes for our nation could not be higher.

    We consume more energy per capita than any other nation, so the solution is not to conserve, but to focus solely on supply.

    In case you didn't know this, We are too dependent on foreign sources of oil.

    And now let me share with my command of foreign policy.

    Russia is next door to Alaska, and it wants to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon. Now normally, we shouldn't care about the price of oil in Paris, but in this case it affects the price of energy in America as well.

    Since we can't rely on our oil-supplying enemies or even friends, we need to be self-reliant.

    Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines ... build more nuclear plants ... create jobs with clean coal ... and to appease the environmentalists, let's just say, we'll "move forward" on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.

    I've noticed a pattern with our opponent.

    Maybe you have, too.

    We've all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers.

    And there is much to like and admire about our opponent.

    But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate.

    Obama did not sponsor the Lugar-Obama Bill to Keep Weapons Out of Terrorists' Hands passed on December 11, 2006!
    Nor did he sponsor the Lobbying-Ethics Bill signed by George Bush on September 15, 2007! These bills do not exist, and so we can't legally intercept terrorists' weapons, and you all can go to those lobby-sponsored parties during this convention.

    Now Obama is so arrogant that he won't concede to our changing definition of "victory" in Iraq. When Obama's cloud of rhetoric has passed, hopefully my own will take its place. Let me scare all the evangelicals out there by reminding you that Obama is the false messiah who will raise taxes by 5%--compared to only 3% under our plan.

    He will actually dare to give orders from Washington, which we will never do! Instead, I will continue to give orders from Juneau.

    Did I mention 9-11?

    Government is too big ...

    Congress spends too much ... and this has nothing to do with the six years of Republican-controlled House and Senate and a Republican Administration, and is entirely the fault of big-spending Democrats.

    Taxes are too high ... he wants to raise them more than we do. Both of our tax increases are the fine print in our economic plans, and let me be specific.

    Under Obama's plan,

    The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise the sort of income taxes that most of Americans (earning over $250,000) will pay by hundreds of billions of dollars. Even if most lower and middle class Americans receive a tax savings, how are the rest of us going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy?

    Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election.

    In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers--kind of like what I'm doing right now.

    And then there are those, like John McCain, who "borrow" the theme "change" to promote their conventions.

    Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speechmaking, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things. And there is the rough and tumble of pit-bull VP speeches, which elevate the art of mud-slinging.

    Senator McCain's record of actual achievement and reform helps explain why so many special interests, lobbyists, and comfortable committee chairmen in Congress have fought the prospect of a McCain presidency.
    That's why McCain has only accepted $400,000 from lobbyists, in the telephone utility and telecom service industries, among others.

    Our nominee doesn't run with the Washington herd. He shuffles, and slow dances with them.

    My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of "personal discovery." It's supposed to be a journey from Wasilla, I mean from the Panama Canal, to Washington.

    John McCain was a POW. He suffered horribly while fighting for you. He almost died for you--so don't be ungrateful!

    Remember Compassion Conservativism? Well, John McCain will show compassion--as he did for his wife when he divorced her after a disfiguring car accident, but he showed compassion by agreeing to pay all her medical bills.

    Also, in case I didn't mention it previously, remember that John McCain was a POW.

    For tonight, a gifted reader can appeal to the base with borrowed words, if not deeds.

    I'm not sure what our own themes are, but if the Democrats are running on character and hope and change, join our cause.

    Because I'm a woman and we're so much better than them--but remember, "Country First!"

    Thank you all, and may God bless most of America.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:33 PM  

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