September 5, 2008


Sarah Palin's real soul mate: McCain's veep choice is the reincarnation of George W. Bush, as channeled by Karl Rove. (Jeff Yang, Sep. 05, 2008, Salon)

[L]ast night's official unveiling of Sarah Palin as their presumptive veep proved that the only change they're offering is savvier packaging. In Gov. Palin, the GOP has its new Bush, same as the old Bush, but more polished, more presentable, more user-friendly than the original ever was...

And the unpolished, unpresentable, unfriendly one carried two presidential and three congressional elections.

A Voice for America? (Jan Crawford Greenburg, September 04, 2008 , ABC News: Legalities)

“They love their country, in good times and bad,” said this small-town gal from Wasilla. “And they’re always proud of America.”

That was the best moment of her compelling speech last night, and it captured the message John McCain has consistently failed to deliver in this campaign. So far, it’s been a campaign about change, and we’ve seen this narrative emerge and almost become conventional wisdom: America overstepped its bounds, disgraced itself on the world stage and must repent for its ills.

But that’s not a narrative a large swath of this country believes or accepts. Go to a place like rural Alabama, where I grew up. Or, I suspect, many small towns in Ohio and Michigan and Pennsylvania and Florida. There are a lot of Americans who don’t particularly care what the New York Times thinks, much less the Europeans.

Yet McCain, inexplicably in this campaign, has never stirringly delivered a Reagan-esque defense of America as a shining city upon the hill, with lights blazing as brightly as ever. That may be because McCain, after all those years in Washington, doesn’t get it. He wasn’t raised a common man, but an officer’s son, and he’s been a US Senator for 20 years now.

But he’s got a running mate, we saw last night, who can say “hell yeah” and “yee haw” with the best of them. (I’d love to ask McCain if he’d ever heard “Redneck Woman,” made wildly popular by the singer, Gretchen Wilson, who was on the stage after Palin last night.) He’s got a running mate who proudly clings to her guns and her religion---and can disparage Barack Obama for “talking about us one way in Scranton and another in way San Francisco.”

Palin showed last night she can talk to all those people who want to believe in their country’s greatness as they struggle to pay their bills. They may not like George Bush--but they want to believe America is the best country in the world, and they want to sing Toby Keith loud and proud.

Why Palin’s Speech Worked (A former vice-presidential speechwriter breaks it down. (Lisa Schiffren, 4 September 2008, City Journal)
Consider that the man who wrote Palin’s speech, Matthew Scully, also wrote speeches for Vice President Dan Quayle (as did I), Vice President Dick Cheney, and President George W. Bush. Scully has produced many excellent speeches over the years. Yet despite their various virtues, none of those men ever electrified a room the way Palin did last night. They had the words, but not the music—and absent compelling delivery, words are easily ignored in our media age. Dramatic delivery is a critical political skill that few Republican leaders have had since Ronald Reagan.

In a nutshell, Palin did the four things that she had to do. She offered repeated endorsements of John McCain and a comprehensive rationale for supporting him. She provided sharp criticism of the Democratic presidential candidate. As a newcomer, she demonstrated intelligence, ease with substantive matters, humor, and natural talent sufficient to explain why McCain chose her as his running mate. And she introduced herself and her family on her terms.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 5, 2008 6:14 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus