Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin Speech: Convention Reax Day Three

Okay, leading up to the BIG SPEECH, my thoughts:

1. Seems like McCain is running the Kerry campaign from 2004. I expect to see McCain bound up on the stage tomorrow and say, "John McCain, reporting for duty!"

2. Mike Huckabee delivers confused speech. Says we should cut government and the public loves FDR. Huh? He'd make a great spokesperson for Subway, though.

3. Romney actually seems like the only guy campaigning out in reality, rather than inside the right-wing bubble (didn't see the actual speech - Andrew Sullivan called it "moronic" - but saw him giving good interview). After seeing Romney, Lieberman, and Palin: I think Romney is the one who would have won the election for McCain. That is if you think this election should be fought over the middle. Obviously, McCain doesn't: he thinks it's about ginning up his base. Guess we'll see.

4. Giuliani delivers the red meat speech to rally up the crowd. Yeah! Too bad that "Drill Baby Drill" could be the chant that sinks the election for the Republicans. Did they totally forget 1992? With this being the night of runner-up Miss Alaska, that chant seemed more than just a tad creepy. More like a drunken frat party. Palin and Giuliani Speeches: A-. Crowd: C+

And Palin?

Well - what were people expecting, that she'd come out drooling, sporting fangs, fall off the stage? She's a good speaker. They were smart to cast her as a "hockey mom" and go after the rural vote with her. I think she read the speech on the teleprompter well and connected emotionally with the wounded Republicans looking for some way to shed their angst over Bush. The far right will love her for being fresh and forceful (no need to connect to the blogs, I'm sure they're gushing).

This was why McCain picked her. It marks a drastic change of campaign tactics - to essentially try to usurp the enthusiasm and youth of Obama, and give up on campaigning as the voice of experience. That is, the one thing they knew about her was she could read a good speech and excite the base. And in a sense, I think it could work. Bully for them - the Republicans need a national politician who can speak born-again soccer mom. For some reason they decided Mike Huckabee was too scary, so they brought in the sexy librarian. But she's no Obama - she didn't write that speech. And that speech had no vision for America. The other problem: more people were curious to see Palin speak than will care about McCain tomorrow.

Obama is popular not because he's popular. He's popular for having a forward-looking vision. So far, Republicans haven't shown that they're for anything, except vilifying 50% of Americans.

And Palin? She's still, basically, a cipher, and this introduction will probably give McCain the three point bounce in the polls by Saturday that he'll need to say that there's any real contest to be run here.

As for the content of the speech - well, it has nothing to do with Palin since it was obviously written by party operatives for her. But if you want a point-by-point breakdown on all the misrepresentations and slander, here's a good one. And here's a nice short one. Not that it much matters: the point of these speeches isn't to be truthful. It's too see how much bullshit they can get the American public to swallow. The bullshit factor here was substantially higher than Biden's (if his speech was manuer spread across a lovely spring meadow, this would be a hog farm); but what will swing voters ultimately believe? I think the fact-checking on this will get enough play in the coming weeks to pop the bounce.

The one thing that struck me most about Palin's speech? She actually said something like this: "I'm not bitter about guns and God - I love guns and God!" I thought I was writing a parody!

It's obvious they're going to run a hard-right, Rovian, divide-the-electorate campaign from here on out. She may bring out rural, conservative Christians in Portsmouth, Ohio and Tallahassee, Florida who would have otherwise stayed home and will celebrate her feisty folksiness. But she'll equally turn off suburban moms in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and Grosse Point, Michigan with her school-marmy ungraciousness. Guess we'll have to wait and see which of those constituencies become the more important swing voters.

Oh, and, after the speech, I've updated what are now the Top Ten Sarah Palin Scandals.

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