September 3, 2008 1 Comment
Sarah Palin is making the most of her 15 minutes.
Thursday night in St. Paul, Palin arrived to a celebrity’s fawning welcome, to speak to an audience primed by a constant diet of red meat and wedge issues.
But have no doubt, a star was born at the Republican convention. Palin delivered one hell of a speech that blew the roof off the until-tonight staid and rather dull Republican convention.
She looked confident and strong and delivered a rousing indictment of her opponents, dropping memorable soundbyte after memorable soundbyte.
“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.”
“In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”
“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.”
“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, when that happens, 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?”
She even compared herself to Truman with a straight face.
But the money shot was this little gem:
“And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they’re 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… And that man is John McCain.”
And the crowd loved her. Ate her up. They went crazy every time her name was mentioned and she certainly proved McCain’s pick to be the right one in both the ability to handle the stage and completely wow the base.
Now, she also lied about her record, skirted policy issues and made policy points that were completely ridiculous wedge issues, but the crowd went berserk nonetheless.
It was her Obama ’04 Convention moment. The speech was nowhere near as inspiring, but the star-making quality was definitely there.
But according to the NY Times, Palin was so poised because she has been running this playbook since her first campaign for mayor.
“Sarah comes in with all this ideological stuff, and I was like, ‘Whoa,’ ” said Mr. Stein, who lost the election. “But that got her elected: abortion, gun rights, term limits and the religious born-again thing. I’m not a churchgoing guy, and that was another issue: ‘We will have our first Christian mayor.’ ”
“I thought: ‘Holy cow, what’s happening here? Does that mean she thinks I’m Jewish or Islamic?’ ” recalled Mr. Stein, who was raised Lutheran, and later went to work as the administrator for the city of Sitka in southeast Alaska. “The point was that she was a born-again Christian.”
But even before Palin fired up the base, Rudy Giuliani, who was considered the front-runner back before his campaign made the ridiculous, stupid mistake of ignoring the first two contests and put all their eggs in Florida, gave the keynote.
Tonight, Rudy showed why he is The Man (especially after Romney’s blithering insanity), putting his SNL hosting skills and NY-style politics to brilliant use as well. Rudy was ruthless too, attacking Obama like he was the vice-presidential nominee.
And by all rights, he should have been. Imagine a Rudy-Biden debate. Goddamn, that would be some great political theater.
“Barack Obama has never led anything. Nothing. Nada. So, our opponents want to reframe the debate. They would have you believe that this election is about ‘change versus more of the same.’ But that’s really a false choice. Because ‘change’ is not a destination … just as ‘hope’ is not a strategy.”
He even drew on his sketch days, tossing the set-up to Palin’s eventual punchline:
“On the other hand, you have a resume from a gifted man with an Ivy League education. He worked as a community organizer. What? He worked — I said — I said, OK, OK, maybe this is the first problem on the resume.”
He also hammered on the Obama moment we knew would come back to haunt:
“I’m sorry — I’m sorry that Barack Obama feels that her hometown isn’t cosmopolitan enough. I’m sorry, Barack, that it’s not flashy enough. Maybe they cling to religion there.”
But the electrifying back-to-back tonight, as well as both of them hammering the “change” theme that Obama was the first to recognize only serves to remind that the republican ticket this year is the best of what was left. McCain survived the primaries as much as he won them.
He outlasted a pack of also-rans that emerged because of Rudy’s stupid Florida strategy.
And he will no be able to top the frantic energy that was in that room tonight unless he actually brings out and tortures a terror suspect.
And despite the energy (and Jerry Springer-style, trainwreck baggage) that Sarah Palin brings to the game, that is why they will lose.
But 2012 will be another chance and while Romney used his time to audition dive right for the next run, Rudy showed why he should have been the guy this time as well as the next generation of Republican leadership.
Rudy/Palin 2012. Now that’s a ticket to challenge.