Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Sarah Palin Files, Pt. 21

The Hot Rod has been silent on the Sarah Palin speech all day!

Did Palin answer her critics?

Did Sarah Barracuda intimidate the Hot Rod with her tough talk and shots at Obama?


Last night, the Hot Rod was having beers with Conway Bangs and Jackie the Nose. The closest we came to watching Sarah Palin speak was joking about how putting on the RNC would "really get the party started" at the bar.

SO, I missed the speech. But with the help of the internets, I did start watching it today. I'm almost, but not quite finished. I think I've seen most of the highlights.

My initial reaction - from what I've seen so far - is I don't get the Sarah Palin phenomenon. Now, taking off my partisan hat, I make this observation: the reactions one has to Palin's speech is almost certainly directly proportional to how ideologically aligned you are with her. And I suspect that the same can be said about Obama. But I don't think she particularly hit it out of the park. I thought it was average to above average. At points it was good, but it was well short of being a "great speech."

To me, Sarah Palin sounds like she is still auditioning for the local PTA. She can clearly hurl the red meat to the rabid dogs (and her facial expression even crunches up in a way that makes her look like she is growling). But to me, what is missing is that "ready for prime time" factor. Part of it is that, to date, she has said nothing about national domestic policy or foreign policy. She has not demonstrated that she has any comprehension of the national economy (its problems, what affects it, etc., and ideas for improvements). She has demonstrated a decent knowledge of Alaska's unique and idiosyncratic economy (which is swimming in money since its revenues derive principally from oil, which as we all know, is at record high prices). But that knowledge doesn't translate and scream "national figure" to me.

Other than that, I think that the speech has further reinforced for me that Sarah Palin has a serious problem with the truth. In the first post in the Sarah Palin Files series, I showed how her statement in her big reveal that,

"I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' on the Bridge to Nowhere. If we wanted a bridge we'd build it ourselves..."

...was a flat-out, bald-faced lie. There's not a whole lot of debate about it. Blame the Washington DC establishment or the liberal media all you want. The facts don't go away. At the end of the day, she lied to the nation last Friday.

So, imagine my surprise when last night, she repeated the lie. The one thing that the McCain / Palin's non-stop chastizing of the media has done was that, for one night at least, they handled Palin with kid gloves on, and apparently no one really called her on it. I'm having "WMD's / ties to Al-Queda / Yellow Cake Uranium from Niger" flashbacks here - as in the Dubya Bush doctrine of politics: "Lie. Lie. Lie. And repeat, until everyone believes it is true."

The Bridge to Nowhere issue was the most glaring and obvious lie she threw out, but there were more. Luckily, Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings has published a complete fact-check of the speech. if you have any interest whatsoever in making your electoral decisions based on facts rather than lies, I strongly encourage you to read it.

And one last point: Palin portrays herself as an outsider vis-a-vis Washington D.C. Geographically, that holds up well. And let me preface my point with 3 items...

1. As the VP, she is supposed to be, in part, an attack dog. If she doesn't live up to this role, she is John Edwards, and by that I mean, totally fucking worthless. I know this.

2. As a speaker at the RNC with the Republican brand tarnished and the candidate running behind in the polls, it is also her jobs to take shots at Obama. I know this, too.

3. The final thing I know: I know what I don't know and I don't know Sarah Palin very well. She is still new, and to a large degree introducing herself to America - at least to the lower 48 states and Hawaii.

All that being said, I found a lot of her attacks to be petty. And I mean, really petty. I don't thinking she's making a good impression to anyone but right-wingers. Some reporting on focus groups that watched her speech suggests that she is not only not persuading independents, but actually turning them off.

The one I can't get out of my head is the shot she felt compelled to take at community organizers. Of course, she wasn't the only one: community organizers were the dog that the RNC kept kicking over and over again. Here's Palin's line:

And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience [being a small-town mayor], 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.

My first gripe with it is that Palin cites her experience as a small town mayor as a large part of the "experience" that qualifies her to be VP. To my knowledge, and if I'm wrong tell me, Obama has never pointed to his work (done in his mid-20's) as the reason why he's qualifed to be President. To me, it has always been presented as reflecting on his values and direction - doing community work rather than taking the more well-worn path of any of the number of cushy jobs that he could have had coming out of Harvard Law School.

My second gripe is that Palin, the self-proclaimed outsider, anti-establishment, small town woman of the people, denigrated an entire group of well-meaning Americans who are motivated not by fame, money, power, or the camera's glare, but by an actual desire to help their fellow citizens, to be their brother's keeper, and to do unto others as they would like to have done unto them. It is so very noble, so selfless, and it represents the inherent kindness of the American people.

To put it bluntly, Sarah Palin should be ashamed of herself for scoffing at these people (indeed, who's the elitist here??) just to score a cheap political joke (which, by the way, was not taken well, or lightly, by community groups). It displayed a total lack of class, in my opinion.

And, oh yeah, there's one more adjective I think I could apply to community organizers: Christian. Very Christian.

This undignified point in Palin's speech suggested that perhaps her faith is yet another area in which she is merely walking the walk. I guess we'll find out in the coming weeks.

1 comment:

Jackie the Nose said...

I'm glad you pointed out the reason the economy of Alaska is doing so well - oil. Conway Bangs could be governor and the state would be financially sound. I'm surprised more of the Dems aren't harping on this, it is a big deal.