Thursday, September 04, 2008

Que Sarah, Sarah

So, everyone seems to love Sarah Palin today, and I can see why. Overall, I thought she did a good job last night...although I am not sure I agree with the overwhelming raves that she got. To be fair, I thought the same of Bill Clinton and Joe Biden last week, so maybe the coverage is just nice this year...I dunno.

I felt like she started very slowly...she spent too much time introducing her kids (although the little girl waving and fixing her baby brother's hair was priceless.) I also felt like she spent virtually no time talking about why she was the right person for the job she is up for. Obviously, the standard for the VP on policy outlines is a lot lower, but I would have liked to hear a little bit more about her view of the world. We got some very small snippets, but not much. Again, I am not sure it was much more of less than Biden gave last week, but I would have liked to see a little more.

I thought her defense of McCain was very good. Clearly, there is a concerted effort from the GOP to focus the discussion on "character", which is a category that McCain scores very well in. It also has the advantage of being is hard to attack him on that front and not look stupid and petty.

The strongest part of the speech was the attack portion. The Vice President is traditionally there to be on the attack, and she showed that she is ready for that job. And the whole thing was classic Republican...witty, sarcastic, belittling. I wrote earlier this year that Obama would have to be ready for a MUCH higher degree of criticism when the general election came about, and that is clearly here. Every plays a little bit nice during the primaries, but the gloves come off after Labor Day.

The worst thing Obama can do is get into a pissing match with her about who's experience is the thinnest. She belittled his work as a "community organizer", and he is probably tempted to say something like "I have seen Boys Clubs with more people than Wasilla, AK." But all that does is draw attention to his weakness, and cede the "readiness" argument to McCain. He has to let it go...don't mention her age or experience and attack her on the issues.

I thought her best line was "Our opponent has written two memoirs but no legislation..." That is so fantastically biting on at least two points out that he has no accomplishments as a Senator (this is one of the reasons Senators so rarely win the Presidency...NONE of them have any tangible accomplishments to single out) and implies that he has a massive opinion of himself, without saying it explicitly.

So, what is the upshot? I thought her primary task was just to demonstrate that she belongs on this stage. And she seems to have passed that test...she seemed pretty comfortable and she was clearly not shy about picking a fight. At this point, it looks like she is not Dan Quayle.

Was it a rousing, "speech-of-a-generation"? Nah...not quite. She did well, she showed that she is gonna be in this fight and will be a good candidate, and she did what she needed to do to energize the Republicans for this election. If we are going to compare...I thought she was better than Biden was last week.

As for McCain...well, we shall see. He is not a terribly dynamic speaker, although he can be very eloquent at times. My guess is that he will not be received nearly as well as Obama was last week, but that a reading of the text of the speech will be just as inspiring.

His problem...who (besides dorks like me) ever reads the text of speeches?


Me said...

You are spot on.

If she weren't Republican, I would actually like her. Saw a nice piece with Biden who was asked if she can "handle it" being the mother of 5...he was all "Well, millions of American women can handle it, so I don't see why the media makes this so relevant". Loved that.

GMan said...

I agree with you. I thought she did a good job on stage. She made her points and obviously that crowd loved it. But what about all the other people out there? How can anyone (Palin or Obama) call out someone else on experience if they don't have any either? It is going to be an interesting 2 months.

Ally said...

Definitely liked the line about the memoirs. There's always something a bit weird about younger people writing those to begin with.

And I agree that the Dems don't need to be sidetracked by responding to some of her points. I think that would be playing right in the Republicans' hands.

Ally said...

p.s. I've read the text of Obama's speeches:) And others for that matter. I even had my reading students read a few too.

allbilly said...

anyone can read a well written speech from a tele-prompter....the test of all 4 folks you mentioned will be the scripted as they may be...on RARE occassion, they might have to think on their feet.

Accidentally Me said...

Billy - You are familiar with George Bush, no? Of the four, Biden is probably the best debater (I have no idea about Palin, but Senators are good at is all they do.) Neither McCain or Obama is real good in the forum. McCain because he is too measured and sleepy, and Obama because he tries to sound too smart and stumbles on his words.

allbilly said...

BECAUSE of W...(i constantly laugh at all the idiots who still have the "W. The President" stickers on their SUV's) I think the populace is paying a bit more attention.

My guess is that GrandPaw and the Cougar with the uber-fertile kids will not be able to beat Barack O'Charmer and worn out Joe.'s just my guess.

MariaG097 said...

She certainly had me engrossed...I am totally for the person that can keep me focused on what they are saying...Her and Hillary are should team up! =)

laurwilk said...

Gosh, I hate the love her! I can't help it. The baby, the prego daughter and the country in her just make me love her. I was impressed, very impressed. She spoke well and seemed so genuine.

But, she's only VP.

(I read the speeches too because I am so influenced by the presentation that I often miss the message.)