So THAT’S Why He Picked Her – What a Speaker!

I take back everything I said or hinted or even thought about Sarah Palin being a drag on the ticket.

She did several things she had to do in her speech tonight:

  • She established that her record of actual office-holding achievement compares very favorably with Obama’s. (Obama’s achievement of winning his party’s nomination for president is extraordinary and admirable. But as Palin said tonight, “this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state senate.”)
  • She demonstrated the combination of combativeness and populist appeal that have given her an 80% approval rating from her fellow Alaskans.
  • She showed she was ready — more than ready — to fill the customary VP role of attack dog on the stump. She even claimed the dog imagery for her own. I had already read the line, which she has apparently been saying for years, that the main difference between a Hockey Mom and a pit bull is lipstick. It seemed a little contrived when I was reading it on the screen, but when she said it, she owned it.

She took lots of hard shots at Obama, but by my count only one cheap shot. I wish she had left out the snipe that Obama’s worry about Al Qaeda terrorists is “that someone won’t read them their rights.” I don’t think that’s fair even as an exaggeration of anything I’ve ever heard Obama say.

But I loved the line that “Victory in Iraq is finally in sight … he wants to forfeit.” The “wants to forfeit” part isn’t literally true either, of course — but it’s certainly true that Obama’s pre-surge proposal to retreat-no-matter-what would have forfeited any chance at a positive outcome in Iraq.

My Obama-supporting wife — whom I love with a love that transcends space and time, let alone politics — didn’t like the speech. We both reacted negatively to the cheap shot on Miranda rights. But Nina was clearly pained to hear a man she admires attacked again and again, first by Giuliani and then by Palin. We watched the speech through different filters. Because I want McCain to win, I felt good about the effective, substantive, sarcastic hard punches being thrown at Obama — a man whom, as I’ve written before, in many ways I admire also.

Nina and I have virtually identical views on social issues. We both think the Republicans are on the wrong side of the abortion issue. Even more strongly, we both think they’re on the wrong side of marriage equality for same-sex couples. She was as angered and appalled as I was by the attacks of 9/11, and she knows the danger isn’t over. But we’ve reached opposite conclusions about which candidate to support. We respect each other’s decision, and we respect each other. We have in-depth, substantive discussions on the issues, but we’re careful not to mock each other’s candidate when we talk. That’s the way it should be in a marriage

But that’s not the way it’s going to be on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, negative campaigning works. Because it works, both sides have to do it. I wish it were otherwise — but no candidate has ever won a major election by staying entirely on the high road.

And so to bed.

5 thoughts on “So THAT’S Why He Picked Her – What a Speaker!

  1. Thanks for the kind words, sweetie.

    However, I have to correct you. It wasn’t that I was pained by attacks on Obama – I have every confidence he can stand up for himself.

    What I was last night, was depressed by Palin’s blatant appeal to the conservatism of fear. The message that came across was, “Oh my God, circle the wagons! The terrorists AND the elites AND the liberal media are going to attack us!”

    And oh yeah, that gives us the right to chuck the Geneva Conventions too.

    I agree that Palin hit the ball out of the park last night – given a softball pitch, in front of a wildly partisan audience. I’m curious to see how the High School Mean Girl act comes across for nine weeks on the campaign trail, when she’s going to be asked serious questions about actual policy that sarcasm isn’t going to help her with. McCain’s pit bull could still end up biting HIM.

  2. All fair points, my beloved. “High School Mean Girl” — I can see that. I was too busy being tormented by the Mean Boys to pay much attention to the Mean Girls, but the latter would loom large at your all-girls school. I strongly suspect that Gov. Palin will be far more restrained when answering serious questions about policy.

    After the way she’s been attacked in the past six days, I could argue that she was remarkably restrained last night.

    “The conservatism of fear” is not a term I would use, but I won’t entirely reject it, either. I AM fearful of the terrorists. I don’t fear the elites and the media, but I think some of them are insufficiently “fearful” (I might use the term wary, or watchful) of the threat of Islamic fascism.


  3. I think Palin will stand up fine. After all, this is the woman who stood up to her own party and a group so arrogant and confident that they openly called themselves “the Corrupt Bastards Club” and had hats made up with “CBC” on the front. As petty, deliberate and vicious as much of the press have already proven themselves to be, I think she’ll be fine. Next, I expect MSNBC to dedicate airtime to what the Palin family dog did the neighbor’s garden. Even someone at The Guardian has noticed:

    Besides, I’m not worried about terrorists, the elites, or the liberal media. SUV’s and incandescent light bulbs are gonna destroy the environment first, ya know. 😉

  4. Reading this article this morning (essential paragraphs in italics below) reminded me of what I wrote here on Sept. 4, eight weeks ago:

    “I’m curious to see how the High School Mean Girl act comes across for nine weeks on the campaign trail, when she’s going to be asked serious questions about actual policy that sarcasm isn’t going to help her with. McCain’s pit bull could still end up biting HIM.”

    Um, did I call it, or did I call it? 🙂

    From the article:

    A growing number of voters have concluded that Senator John McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, is not qualified to be vice president, weighing down the Republican ticket in the last days of the campaign, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

    All told, 59 percent of voters surveyed said Ms. Palin was not prepared for the job, up nine percentage points since the beginning of the month. Nearly a third of voters polled said the vice-presidential selection would be a major factor influencing their vote for president, and those voters broadly favor Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee.

  5. Yes Sweetie, you called it.

    I want to point out that while I was impressed by her convention speech, I’m on record from Day One as saying I thought Palin was a bad choice.

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