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Thursday, September 4, 2008
Sarah Barracuda

Thoughts on Governor Sarah Palin's convention speech. My favorite lines. Selected good readings.

Sarah Palin did a nice job in last evening's speech. Well, maybe nice is the wrong word. I'm sure the Obama campaign and his groupies are feeling sliced up a little, and doubly grumpy because the knife was wielded by a pretty girl from -- get this -- Alaska. They may be aware that our largest, northernmost state is not a foreign country, but it has to feel somewhat foreign to them. It's on the other side of Canada, for heaven's sake! Women hunt moose there and marry Eskimos!

I'm not making up the foreign country thing. Some decades ago, when my mother was on her way to Europe on a Fulbright scholarship, she ran into some New Yorkers who actually thought her home state, Idaho, was a foreign country. Sarah Palin was born and attended university in Idaho, by the way.

Back to my point. It was an excellent speech, well delivered.

My own frustration with the many interruptions for applause is bipartisan, to be sure: It bugs me no matter who is speaking, Republican or Democrat. You can watch the speech if you want -- I watched it to try to get a sense of who she is -- but reading it is faster.

Here are some of my favorite lines:

Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening. . . .

I've learned quickly, these past few days, that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people. Politics isn't just a game of clashing parties and competing interests. The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it. No one expects us to agree on everything. But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart. . . .

There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate. This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. . . .

Though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, "fighting for you," let us face the matter squarely. There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you ... in places where winning means survival and defeat means death. . . .

Good Readings

Here's a small selection of good columns I've read lately, some about Sarah Palin and some about other topics related to the election. The Palin pieces are all favorable, for two reasons. First, there's a lot of negative stuff out there about her, too, and you won't have any trouble finding it without my help, if you want to. Second, the essential political question here is not, Will her natural enemies like her? They won't. They have to try to destroy her. The question is, How will her natural friends respond? Will she energize Republicans in particular?

About Palin:

Not about Palin:

Finally, again about Palin, John Dickerson's "A Pit Bull with Lipstick," from which an excerpt:

Drill, baby, drill. Sarah Palin was relentless in her speech Wednesday night. She drilled Barack Obama, elites, San Francisco, the press, and civil libertarians. She even went after Michelle Obama. And she did it all with a smile and a little mischief. Republicans have been flummoxed because Obama seems untouchable, but Palin may have found an effective way to criticize him -- while becoming an elusive target in her own right. Want to call her shrill? Go ahead. There are a lot of women like her who vote and who might be listening.

John McCain has a tough act to follow tonight. He's still not my favorite guy, but he's the best horse left in the race, so I wish him well.

David Kirk comments (9/5/08):

Your blog states, "Second, she has genuine conservative credentials, to complement McCain's, which are seriously in doubt" -- which is my #1 reason I will be voting McCain this fall, where before Palin came along I wasn't sure what I was going to do. Oh, I would never vote for Obama, trust me, but McCain does not excite me, his history in the senate bothers me, and I don't consider him a true conservative. Palin comes out of nowhere and electrifies the campaign, and her speech last night was flawless, and delivered with great poise. I honestly wish it was Palin/McCain instead of McCain/Palin.

The personal attacks on her are amazing, the left is sooooo hypocritical. I suppose if the young girl opted for an abortion, the left would fawn over the girl's exercise of her "reproductive rights." The left disgusts me.

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