Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sarah Palin's speech

Word of the day: tendentious. I've come across this word more than once the past couple of days, and it applies.

And yes, this blog is tendentious, and its impossible for me to write about Sarah Palin in an objective way probably for a while... I'm really trying to be fair with her, but it's so hard: read too much from an Obama blogger and you get spun up too far ranting and raving about Palin the lunatic; so I read a conservative blogger and a little balance is splashed in my face, and I question my original assumptions. I'm still not totally sure who is right. There's just still too much unknown about how this will play out politically. I'm pretty sure as a ticket built to actually govern America, the McCain/Palin is a complete disaster, maybe even a worse disaster than Bush/Cheney. But politically, a least so far (and it is way too early to tell), it looks like McCain hit it out of the park.

But I don't really trust myself on any of this, so at least for now, take this for what its worth:

Wow, All I can say is wow.

I was stunned by the pick because, who again is Sarah Palin? I guess I have gotten my first real glimpse of her last night.

I compared her in this post to Obama in purely superficial, symbolic ways. But the comparisons continue to deepen in very unexpected ways. There's still a long way to go, and she's only been at this national politics thing for a few short days, but last night was the first step to showing, that like Obama, she's a serious player on the big stage.

The speech was all show with very little substance (much like some of Obama's speeches) and her style was very different than Obama's, but just like Obama, she was charismatic, full of energy, and stole the show. Strange to say, but I think this is the first time in my memory that the VP candidate looks stronger than the presidential candidate.

Now, don't get me wrong, I hated the speech. I hated the speech for all the reasons I love Obama's speeches. Where Obama's speeches inspire, and at least for me, make me want to do more, become more, get involved, Palin's speech and style was all pit-bull. There was not an ounce of grace or generosity toward the Democrats. Palin's symbolic political power seems to come from this inner drive to shake things up, to take a stand against evil and corruption, and for now at least, the source of evil and corruption for her lies with the Democratic party, with Obama at its head, aided by his accomplices, the evil, elite media. And this kind of over-energy to battle is great when your actually confronted with something that needs to be battled (e.g. an over-the-top corrupt Alaska Republican leadership), but is downright scary when its used against someone who is not but perceived to be, (e.g. allegedly she had a librarian fired for failing to remove books Palin viewed as inappropriate from the library).

Yes, Palin is the rising star of the AM talk radio circuit. I have heard it said that you could change Palin's gender and ugly her up a bit and at least for the second half of her speech, it could have been delivered by Rush Limbaugh himself up there.

This is the type of person missing when the Republican presidential candidates were running last year. Based solely on the speech last night, Palin would have won the Republican nomination (not without a fight of course). Again, based only on what I saw last night, Palin has effectively hijacked the ticket.

Truly, is anyone even interested in hearing McCain's speech tonight? No, this convention began last night and ended last night.

I'm not sure this is how Obama wants it to go (I'm not sure this is how McCain really wants it to go). Again, based only on this one speech, Palin would be a tough person to beat. Obama's tactic it seems is going to try to turn attention back on McCain. I'm just not sure the media will let him. Palin has stolen the show.

It was interesting that I remember only two policy statements in her speech last night, and both of those (drilling in Alaska for oil, and the criticism of Obama for wanting to grant habeus corpus to Guantanomo Bay detainees) are issues where McCain has made strong statements squarely on the side of the Democrats.

And the Republican base could not be happier. They never really wanted McCain as their nominee. Believe me, I heard all about it on the AM talk radio circuit. Many of those folks were touting Romney, but Romney was a week candidate, and really there wasn't much else to choose from.

But Palin, they are excited about. Because the Republican base hates liberals, and they see Obama as the epitome of liberalism. Palin is their new hope. A red-meat conservative with a ton of bite, ready to keep this country and this government fighting the cultural wars in America for another generation.

Palin impresses me, but she also scares the living hell out of me...

I'm guessing in the end it won't work. This is still a Obama/Biden's race to lose.

While Palin is the next, new thing, the person destined to steal the headlines throughout September... Luckily, there's still an October, and it will be in October not September that Obama and Biden will have to win this election.


Davey said...

I read the New York Post a lot, because it's a dollar cheaper than the Times (which I read online anyway) and because I can finish the whole thing in one round trip train ride to Manhattan. But I also read it because it is owned by Rupert Murdoch and thus is wildly conservative. I realized that after reading so much of the liberal viewpoint I began to think of many conservatives and their positions and completely crazy. This flies in the face of my long held assertion that people are generally and typically rational if only I can understand their rationale I can disagree with and respect people at the same time. I read the Post because I found myself losing respect for conservatives. Admittedly the Post hasn't helped much lately. Much of their editorial work as been vitriolic against some phantom nemesis that's not quite real enough to cite in the specific but can generally be referred to as "liberals" or the synonyms "elites" and "snooty jerks named Reginold with butlers named Jeeves".

Anyway, I really do try to understand the position of conservatives because I won't except that they really are ignorant or crazy. But this Palin thing has got me. As near as I can tell Palin is being defended as a psychological game being played on the conservative base. If we convince them that hunting and (and I swear this is true) proximity to Russia are good qualifications for President then they'll forget that McCain is not a winner. I mean they just have to know right? Palin was a Governor she is not ready to be President or Vice President. Down home earthiness is not a good measure of competence.

I'm going off on a rant here, so I'll stop. Really I'm just trying to wrap my head around why she's getting all this praise. You should have soon the Post today, they wanted to marry Palin and have her illegitimate children. I swear to you, she could do no wrong. I'll think about it some more and see what I come up with.

Davey said...

No lie Scott, I had nightmares about Palin last night. I'm going to make Davey find me something good to read about her. I can't take this.

tempe turley said...

Rachel, I've been getting most of my information from the Atlantic website. They have about 6 full time bloggers, half of which are on Obama's side, the other half on McCain's.

And they are all smart, so it really helps to balance the news out...

My personal take is that McCain really screwed this pick up, and I'm just about ready to call the election over now.

I can't imagine how a ticket as disfunctional as his is has any shot at all.

Palin, though, I still feel is a rising star, it's just a matter of whether she can weather the scrutiny. McCain is trying to shield her.

It would have been much better for Palin if she would have been allowed to enter the national scene on her own terms rather than as part of a McCain desperation move.

We'll see how it goes... Now, for me the only thing left to see is whether Palin will be a political casualty or not...

Time will tell.

tempe turley said...

Regarding my rising star comment on Palin, I'm equally as ready to say she's a complete hack job and a fraud.

It all depends on how everything plays out...

I'm not sure yet.