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Posts Tagged ‘sarah palin’

In my humble opinion, Governor Palin gave one of the more remarkable political addresses of my life. Some thoughts on the evening:

  • Republicans were reminded tonight what it sounds like when a principled leader fights on their behalf.  After years of half-hearted defenses and ill-conceived agendas, Sarah Palin presented one of the most full-throated statements of American conservatism since Ronald Reagan.  She didn’t hesitate to take on the Democrats who had beaten down President Bush and other Republican “leaders” for the past eight years.  She didn’t couch her party’s low-tax, small-government message — she embraced it, explained it, and dared the Democrats to oppose it.  The Governor expressed pride in her country, not despair; she effused warmth toward her family and its principles, not embarrassment; she stood strong beside her running mate, didn’t strike poses and elide nuance.  THIS is a conservative.  Has any woman been more forthright in her defense of freedom as a candidate for office since Margaret Thatcher?
  • Governor Palin has burst through the Obama bubble.  If the Republicans were looking for someone who can strike back at Barack Obama, they have found her.
  • A friend who is a dedicated Obama supporter started the evening hitting Palin on the personal stuff — that she can’t be an effective mother of an infant with Down syndrome and still be VP; that she had fired too many people as mayor; etc.  By the end of the evening, between congratulations of her skill as a speechmaker, he was talking about her support of earmarks as Mayor of Wasilla.  Has her speech finally moved us past the personal silliness and, at least, to discussions of policy?  I’m hopeful, but not expectant.
  • Another good friend, who is a reasonable independent woman, was turned off by Palin’s willingness to attack Obama.  She considered her “bad mouthing and personal attacks” as unattractive, particularly for “a woman,” saying that “as a woman” she could say that.  She went on to say that, by making such attacks, she had become one of “them,” the “men who had been running the country for years.”  I don’t doubt that for some voters (including some women), Palin’s willingness to draw distinctions with Obama will be a turn-off.  But is it true that, by raising distinctions between the candidates, a woman can forfeit her femininity and become a good ol’ boy?  Especially one who has made her political career going after good ol’ boy politics?  I honestly solicit opinions here, because I am frankly surprised that a woman candidate can be disparaged for doing what other candidates must do to win any election.
  • As we have found out with Senator Obama, we won’t know how Governor Palin will wear until she faces unexpected questions.  Senator McCain, please put your honorable running mate in front of the press, again and again, well before the VP debate.  She will benefit from it, and the media will get it out of their system (somewhat).  Trust me – if the woman I saw tonight shows up for the presser, the upside is tremendous.
  • Governor Palin’s geopolitical discussion of energy was one of the most effortlessly comprehensive I’ve heard.  Her statement, in a few sentences, cast itself across the gas fields of the North Slope to the refugees of Georgia to the nuclear pretenses of Iran to the mother filling her gas tank in Omaha.  Her self-confidence (here and elsewhere) spoke volumes.  Democrats will tread lightly before challenging her on energy in the debate.
  • Thanks to Brit Hume for ending the pundits’ mentioning of the fact that a “speechwriter” gave her these words.  We never heard this for Hillary, or Obama, or Biden, or McCain, or Romney, or Huckabee, or….  As Fred Barnes said on Fox, she’s a natural.  Let her own it.  She earned it.
  • Wow.
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Notes on the Palin pick, in no particular order:

  • McCain closed the deal with me (and likely millions of conservatives) with this pick. Not that we were planning on voting for Obama, but we were the Fred Thompson voters, the Mitt Romney voters, even some Mike Huckabee voters. We were deeply worried that the man who seemed to take pleasure in voting against Republican measures during his time in the Senate was now that party’s leader. But we’d moved his way as we grew horrified by the thought of an Obama presidency. We started getting comfortable as he spoke our language at Saddleback. And by picking Palin, McCain told us that he doesn’t just tolerate conservatives, he admires them; he doesn’t just want us to vote for him, he wants us to help him govern. I’m in.

 

  • Women won’t be the only mass demographic to move with the Palin pick. Watch how Western states start shifting in McCain’s direction now. One of the more overlooked dynamics in politics is the fact that Western states, Western politicians, and Western values are largely absent from national politics. And they don’t appreciate it – much like ESPN is always lambasted for its East Coast Bias, Westerners assume that Washington is looking out for the 13 original colonies. Even though McCain is an Arizona senator, his years in Washington, his age, and his wealth distance him from Westerners. Palin, by contrast, oozes Western living. Her husband is a fisherman in the offseason and rides snowmobiles in competition. She shoots guns for sport, owns a float plane, and has a large family. She’s run a town of 9,000 people that’s 18 hours and a trip through Canada away from the state capital. Her parents cancelled today’s caribou hunt to watch their daughter accept the nomination for Vice President. These simple facts will connect Palin to voters in North Dakota, New Mexico, and Nevada in a way that no political ad could. And the contrast will be stark when the Senator from the First State faces off against the Governor of the Last Frontier.

 

  • Todd Palin is a member of the United Steelworkers’ Union. He’s proud of being the “First Dude” of Alaska. He worked in the oil fields of Alaska’s North Slope. To my knowledge, no union household has ever occupied the White House or the Naval Observatory. Can all the union endorsements of Barack Obama possibly overcome that? WIll Palin’s Local petition the Steelworkers to rescind its endorsement of Obama?

 

  • The Obama campaign struggled today with how to deal with the Palin announcement. The campaign was in full attack mode at first, calling her unqualified and unprepared to be President. Later, Obama and Biden congratulated her, and Obama chided his campaign for developing a “hair-trigger.” Don’t expect this internal debate to end today — the currents and countercurrents at work here, particularly for gender-obsessed Democrats, are myriad. A moment I desperately want to see: Palin turning to Biden during the debate and asking, “Senator, why are you going so easy on me? Don’t you worry, I can take it.”

 

  • There’s something different about a mom, rather than a dad, who’s willing to put her son in harm’s way. I can’t put my finger on it, but there just is. Track Palin, the Governor’s oldest son, enlisted in the Army on September 11, 2007 — the first anniversary of that fateful day when he could join the armed forces. He will deploy to Iraq with his unit this year. Has any pair of national leaders been more prepared to judge whether it is worthwhile to put soldiers in harm’s way to protect America than John McCain and Sarah Palin?

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