3rd 2008
Sarah Palin speech open thread

Posted under: American history, women's history


What do you think?

Did she do well?

Do you think she won any votes or changed any minds?

8:37 MDT:  About special needs children:  “If you elect us, you’ll have a friend and advocate in the White House.”  Good move.

8:40 MDT:  Compares herself to Harry Truman?  Cheesy but effective.

8:42 MDT:  “The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?  Lipstick.”  She can deliver lines like this like Huckabee (a good thing.)

8:43 MDT:  About being mayor:  “Let me explain to [my opponents]  what the job involves…sort of like a community organizer execpt that you have actual responsibilities.”  A predictible invocation of the bitter/cling comments from last spring.

8:44 MDT:  Brings up her “outsider” cred, throws red media-hating meat.

8:46 MDT:  Ethic of public service–”with a servant’s heart,” good dogwhistle to the evangelicals.

8:47 MDT:  Reputation as a reformer:  Against the special interests, oil companies, and the good-old-boys.  “True reform is so hard to achieve.”  “We put the government in Alaska back on the side of the people.”  (Fired the Gov.’s personal chef?  What was she thinking???)

8:49 MDT:  How she uses vetoes and other executive perquisites.  Good use of specific examples of her leadership (however factually shaky!)  She’s building a good narrative about her being large & in charge.  $40 B natural gas pipeline “to lead America to energy independence!”  She makes good points here about dependence on “foreign oil.”  Paycheck issues–cost of gas and heating oil.  “We cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers.”  Good laundry list of foreign places, suggesting that she knows what’s going on outside of the U.S.

8:53 MDT:  Re: energy policy:  “The fact that drilling won’t solve every problem is no excuse not to do anything at all.”  “We need American energy brought to you by American ingenuity and produced by American workers.” 

8: 55 MDT:  On Obama:  “This is a man who has authored two memoirs, but not a single law…”  “This is a man who can give an entire speech about our wars…and not use the word victory except when talking about his own campaign.”  Funny line about the Greek columns being hauled back to a studio lot.

8:56 MDT:  Obama is for big government, tax increases–says “raise — taxes” many, many times.  Good connection with her sister’s new service station–”How are they going to be better off if taxes go up?”  Talks about people in Michigan and Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, etc.

8:59 MDT:  “There are those who use change to promote their careers, and then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”  Gets in a dig about the “self-designed presidential seal.”

9:00 MDT:  “A leader who isn’t looking for a fight, but sure isn’t afraid of one either.”  Harsh.  You have to admit, she gets the (in the bag, desperately eager) crowd on their feet.

9:02  MDT:  Harry Reid “can’t stand John McCain?”  “Harry Reid can’t stand UP to John McCain!” 

9:03 MDT:  “The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery…not just a community and it doesn’t need an organizer.”  “There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you…and that man is John McCain.”  The line of the night–and not a bad one.

9:04 MDT:  back to the 6 x 4 cell in Hanoi…did I miss something?  Was John McCain a prisoner of war?  (/snark)  Recounts anecdotes of McCain’s captivity:  the optimism in adversity and the toughness of John McCain. 

9:07 MDT:  “John McCain has inspired with his deeds.”  “Join our cause and help America elect a great man…”

Overall, a good speech and very well-delivered.  No surprises–the Republicans are running the 2004 campaign all over again:  Republicans will fight for you, Democrats aren’t tough enough.  She’s a much more appealing messenger of this old message than is Giuliani, Romney, or any of the old guard–I think she could be an effective advocate for McCain on the campaign trail.  The crowd is pretty thrilled–I know it’s a captive audience and they’re desperate to be thrilled, but I think she acquitted herself very well and kept them on their feet.

The only major absence was no cultural issues, none of that kind of red meat tossed out to the base.  Abortion?  Never came up?  “Protecting marriage?”  Nope.  Interesting.

McCain climbed up on stage:  he actually looks diminished by her.  He looks really frail.  (I don’t see TV a lot and ordinarily only hear him on the radio–has he looked this way all through the campaign?)

UPDATE, 9/4/08:  New polling by Rasmussen shows a slight dip in Obama’s lead today, plus indications that Palin and the Republicans are holding their own on the Palin narrative and on her experience:

Last night’s polling shows that, by a ten-to-one margin, voters believe reporters are trying to hurt Palin’s campaign rather than help. Republicans and unaffiliated voters strongly believe that a double standard is being applied to Palin because she is a woman. Democrats disagree. Perhaps most stunning is that, among unaffiliated voters, just 42% believe Obama has better experience than Palin to be President. Thirty-seven percent (37%) say Palin has the edge on experience. Again, most of the interviews for this survey were completed before Palin’s well-received speech last night.

.     .    .    .    .    .    .   

Today is the second straight day that the results have inched very slightly in McCain’s direction as the GOP convention gets underway and seeks to overcome Obama’s convention bounce.

.     .    .    .    .    .    .   

Fifty-two percent (52%) of Americans have a favorable opinion of Palin. A separate survey found that Obama is number one and Palin number two on the list of candidates people would like to meet.

Just one poll, so take it for what it’s worth, which ain’t much.  I was impressed with Rasmussen’s speed in getting this out this morning, so I thought I’d just pass it along.


54 Responses to “Sarah Palin speech open thread”

  1. Roxie on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:07 pm #

    Moose thinks her husband is really hot. Goose loves little Piper and just thought it was adorable when they showed her using spit to smooth Trig’s hair. The speech? Not so impressive, despite some good digs at the Precious here and there. We’re looking forward to Tina Fey in the parody SNL will no doubt do on their season premier — except it almost feels like that’s what we’re watching.

    I think we can all stay in Switzerland and do whatever conscience tells us to do. I feel an Obama landslide coming on.

  2. Historiann on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:16 pm #

    Moose is right about Todd. But, what’s to parody? Do you really think this seals an Obama landslide? I think it’s as good as the Republicans could have hoped for.

  3. Profane on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:18 pm #

    Three raw thoughts:

    Overall the speech was fairly flat, (certainly no barn burner!), but she connected with a series of spectacular zingers.

    Policy-wise, there was not much there for a left-wing RINO like myself. The speech was clearly aimed at the Republican base.

    I am still very much in the ranks of the undecided.

  4. Historiann on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    She did get off some good lines–commentators are already saying she “exceeded expectations.” But, I can see why you’re not sold, Profane.

    This is the epitome of the “be” campaign, not the “do” campaign, and I bet you’re looking for more of the “do” message.

  5. Profane on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:20 pm #

    One additional thought on presentation – she did a good job of speaking towards the audience and camera, rather than the teleprompter, but did flub a couple lines (“pundints”; Senate Majority [Leader] Harry Reid.

  6. Historiann on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:22 pm #

    Yes–she was incredibly poised, I thought. I know I’d rather watch or listen to her than any other Republican alive today. (But, I realize I am not the target audience for Republican speeches…)

  7. Fratguy on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:23 pm #

    “There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you…and that man is John McCain.” What the hell, we’re going to bomb our way out of the housing crisis ? Shoot our way into solvency ? Lay claymores to assure a better education system and a stable middle class ? Will overlapping fields of fire make healthcare affordable ? Yeah Yeah Yeah, I know, its just political rhetoric. Sorry but my tolerance for simplemindedness exceeds only slightly my patience for those who would attempt to frighten me into submission. Where’s the bourbon ? wake me up in four years.

  8. Historiann on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:24 pm #

    McCain’s economic plan is also straight outta Vietnam (acually, inspired by the VC), FratGuy: we’re supposed to travel light and live off the land, so no room in the pack for bourbon, dude!

  9. Shinhao Li on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:33 pm #

    Obviously not the neutral observer here…

    The substance was so-so, but the delivery was near perfect. It’s open season on the media, understandably, but I thought the slams on San Francisco were unnecessary. Belittling community organizers? She had the crowd in the palm of her hand, she could have had more grace, and sought to soothe the cultural war, not inflame it. That really is too bad.

    One very discouraging thing for me is that “enhanced interrogation” of terrorist suspects is now practically part of the party platform. This is crazy, and the primary-debate McCain had the sense to say no. Not so sure now.

    On the other hand, I think the Republicans have no worries about her standing up to any Democratic (or media) opposition. Her speeches about what she actually did as mayor and governor are most effective. Neither Biden or Obama can effectively answer that.

    The speech: good for the Republicans, bad for America.

  10. Fratguy on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:37 pm #

    I am just getting a bad feeling about this GOP militarism (yes, I hear the readership all saying “DUH !” but I’m just a bourbon addled frat guy, what else do you expect ?) Seriously though in the absence of an effective plan or brand we all get treated to 4 days of refighting Vietnam, as if there is no other way to advance or serve this country. There has been precious little discussion of the “immigration problem” that the party of Lincoln was trial Hindenberging this summer. Given how little traction that flirtation with fascism generated it is not surprising that we are seeing a more traditional brand of nationalism. That and the possibility that more of the west is in play.

  11. Historiann on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:37 pm #

    Shinhao Li–welcome back! Wow–that’s quite a review. The Repubicans on the torture stuff–like a dog with a bone so nasty you can’t even figure out why the dog isn’t disgusted by it.

    (Apologies to Roxie the Terrier for the analogy.)

  12. Historiann on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:40 pm #

    “Trial hindenberging?” Great line!

    I’ll make a prediction: unless McCain totally melts down to the extent that even Palin can’t bail him out, the West is not seriously in play. Both campaigns will spend a ton of dough in CO and NV. NM will go for Obama, but just barely.

    Hey–didn’t the West Wing end with Congressman Jimmy Smits of Texas winning the presidency against Senator Alan Alda of California only with the help of NM’s 5 electoral votes?

  13. Profane on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:48 pm #

    A comment over at Volokh which I am guessing is representative of the Republican base:

    “As a conservative who’s had to cringe through many of George Bush’s speeches, I would say that she hit the ball out of the park. I could have skipped the family introductions, but I am still smiling about her delivery of the one liners against Obama.

    She is going to continue smiling and attacking Obama because she likes it. The Obama doesn’t like to be mocked, but she will do it with a beautiful smile. This is going to be fun.”

  14. Fratguy on 03 Sep 2008 at 9:56 pm #

    Ok, here’s an idea. Now that enhanced interrogation techniques are going to be legal, perhaps we can put them to use. After the nomination process, each candidate will be subjected to waterboarding, sleep deprivation, simulated executions and forced readings of Maureen Dowd (I know, cheap and not funny, really , but not something I’m going to pass up) At the end of this ordeal a battery of psychometric and loyalty testing will determine which candidate is the most fit. All the cachet of torture without committing the country to a bloody and costly war.

  15. ej on 03 Sep 2008 at 10:01 pm #

    Wow, she sure did energize Fratguy-though I’m thinking she’s not going to get his vote!

  16. Geoff on 03 Sep 2008 at 10:31 pm #

    Yes, that was well delivered, and I’ve never smiled so much during a speech by a Republican, even if the jokes were on my own party and candidate. So she won, to some extent, on likeability. However if she keeps up the personal attacks on Obama on the campaign trail she could risk reminding neutral voters of the current VP. She told some lies about Obama and raising taxes, but we’ve come to expect that during any Republican speech or rally.

    To anyone who had questions about her qualifications, I think she did little to quiet those concerns. The examples of cutting pork are likely to be balanced (in the near future) with other episodes illustrating the opposite. Beyond spending issues, she gave little substantive evidence that she is indeed a change agent. While talking initially about being a small town American mom, she did little to connect with the economic & health care issues voters are facing.

    The McCain campaign manager told the Washington Post a few days ago that the campaign was about personalities, not issues. It would have been more accurate to say that they are trying desperately to make the campaign about personalities and not issues. Of course this jives well with what Historiann has been saying about “be”ing and “do”ing. This has worked before, but I’m not so sure the Republican package this time is as coherent, and the message being delivered with as much discipline as in years past.

    A commentator on NPR said yesterday that early polling on Palin was reminiscent of how voters felt about Bush, that she tended to be polarizing. There was little in this speech that would dampen such feelings.

  17. Rad readr on 03 Sep 2008 at 10:34 pm #

    I think Peggy Noonan hit it out of the ballpark; “It’s over.” I have already heard about some guys who normally lean Republican, but they won’t vote for a girl. Remember the lunch-bucket guys? Obama is up by double digits in Iowa and Minn.

    The Hillary race taught us one thing, being confirmed recently, the country is more sexist than racist. I was concerned about Biden, but having the Republicans cry sexism? Priceless.

    Alaska Independence PArty. She cut money for a teen pregnancy program. Troopergate (didn’t we have one already). And the National Enquirer is reporting that she had an affair. That is the publicatin of record on those matters. Woops, I wasn’t supposed to bring up those bodily types of things. But who can help it with abortion again at the top of the Republican agenda?

  18. hysperia on 03 Sep 2008 at 10:57 pm #

    I was actually quite surprised that Palin harkened back to the “experience” debate. Frankly, I thought the Reprobates would just drop that whole meme in self-defense. I’ve heard arguments both ways in terms of who’s more experienced, but it doesn’t appear to me to be a discussion with a clear winner. I also thought some of her shots at Obama were cheap as opposed to substantial, but obviously, her audience loved it.

    David Brooks was SO happy that she didn’t refer to the social issues, i.e. abortion. Apparently, that’s ’60s culture wars stuff. What a barfbag.

    But Palin catered to the audience the Reps want her to cater to – NOT the evangelical fetus loving right wing, NOT the base, but those center Reps and frightened or pissed off Dems. Good work there and made the choice of her look smart.

    Huckabee, others and Palin herselg got to stand up and strong against the nasty crap hurled by the MSM and those brave blogging Dem boyz in the last few days – they were handed that one. Why shouldn’t they stand up against misogyny? Apparently the Dems can’t.

    I thought the crowd looked awfully old and white compared to the DNC.

    And I just couldn’t help but be quite happy, if not thrilled, to see a woman holding a baby onstage while being applauded as a VP running mate. The Reps have really nailed us there I think.

  19. hungryscholar on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:13 am #

    I just found this blog and love it. Tha analysis is really smart, and the cautions about the attacks on this woman as counterproductive are on the mark. I have been saying such since the beginning, and I still think that this political “risk” of McCain’s is brilliant.

    Democrats should be really nervous (and really are, I think) about this woman given her talent and documented appeal in her state. While I find nearly all of her political positions distasteful, she has the same kind of appeal as a Ronald Reagan, and thus, she has the ability to pull from the significant constitutency of former Reagan Democrats as well as energize the ultra-conservative base. (All of the bloggers who call McCain an idiot are naive; he’s stupid like a fox). Beyond the gender issue that has been discussed here a lot, she has potential to appeal to that working-class constituency that Obama desperately needs but can’t connect to and typically uses only as props (e.g. his convention video of farmers and factory workers and country western music) or as part of a narrative to talk about how far he has come–the American Dream idea of escaping working class-roots. Indeed, the blogs are as horrible about class as they are about gender, making fun of the college she attended, her pronunciation of words, and even blatantly using terms such as “hick” and “hillbilly” and “white trash.” Beyond being condescending, it is just politically disastrous. As you have said, Historiann, it is not really smart to insult the people you are courting.

    About qualifications. With few exceptions, governors never have much foreign relations experience. That is the charge always leveled against them even as they have won all of the elections since 1960 (JFK). Clinton also faced such charges. This is such common knowledge I cannot imagine why the media pundits don’t bring it up unless they have some agenda. Consequently, the basic charge is not new with Palin even as its vehemency and sexist aspect clearly is, which is quite disturbing. Her experience is limited, but we have had more than one VP in the last 70 years with less. (BTW, one of the things I have never seen in any of the many blog analogies to Quayle is that Bush/Quayle actuallly won.) One of the things that impressed me tonight was that Palin was quite willing to do what is the common expectation of VPs–be the attack person. And she was clearly comfortable in that role. Kerry’s big critique of Edwards was that he didn’t do that well. Plus, she hit Obama in his really vulnerable hubris, exaggerated places (e.g. the silliness of his faux Presidential seal, the grand rockstar arena he chose to do his speech to appeal to plain folks, his dismissal of her stature as a governor on CNN yesterday when he talked only about her as a mayor, etc.).

    A final comment. The blogs are now aflame with the argument that while she can deliver a speech, she didn’t write it. So, she can read, they say. So what? Every politician uses speech writers, and most use teleprompters. Obama does as well, which is why he is never as magical during press oonfernces or debates. Obama uses scripted speeches and teleprompters more than is usual, in fact, based upon my watching him during the New Hampshire primary and knowing his use of teleprompters and refusing to do Q & A was quite unusual in that venue.

    All of this said, I don’t want McCain/Palin to win. I miss Hillary.

  20. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 6:57 am #

    Welcome hungryscholar, and thanks for your thoughts, ej, Geoff, Rad, and hysperia. I think Profane’s pickup from the Volokh Conspiracy is right on:

    “She is going to continue smiling and attacking Obama because she likes it. The Obama doesn’t like to be mocked, but she will do it with a beautiful smile. This is going to be fun.”

    (This is also hungryscholar’s point.) With ordinary white guy politicians, they would risk looking Cheney-esque and unlikeable, so Geoff, unless she stops smiling and takes off her lovely mask to reveal a shrieking gorgon underneath, I don’t think that’s going to happen to Palin. She’s enormously appealing and very attractive–and that makes a huge difference. I also like this comment that Profane found because it points to one of Obama’s weaknesses: he really doesn’t seem to have a sense of humor about himself. This is something that Huckabee has, and what made him so likeable even when saying bat$h*t crazy things. Obama seems like kind of a stiff compared to Palin and Huck.

    I think this campaign is shaping up as the mother of all be-campaigns for the Republicans. Their ideas are totally discredited and out of gas, so they’re desperate to change the subject and have us focus on the personalities. This is another reason that Dems should refuse to engage in the nasty, sexualized gossip about Palin and her family–that makes it all about her personality and not about her issues, and it’s the issues that are the winning turf for Dems.

    Just imagine how excited you all would be if she were a liberal Dem. I think hysperia’s comment about the VP candidate holding her own baby on stage are right on. It’s nice to hear the Republicans call out sexism, but we’ll see how long that lasts…

  21. ortho stice on 04 Sep 2008 at 7:03 am #

    Governor Palin did a super job last night! I loved her line about mayors being community organizers with responsibility. I found myself laughing at all of her folksy jokes and lines. She seems so gosh, darn, shucks, small-town American!

    However, overall, the Republican Convention has been a failure. I don’t understand their pitch. The speakers keep arguing for change, but last time I checked, there has been a Republican in the White House for the last 8 years. The speakers keep telling Senator John “The Maverick” McCain’s heroic history, as if they can only look to the past and not to the future. The speakers are short on policy and long on silly attacks and emotional, political rhetoric — how many times will they say, “We’re all Americans?” As Gertrude Stein might have said, “There is no there there.”

  22. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 7:05 am #

    Ortho, Pay No Attention to the Man Behind That Curtain! Pay No Attention to the Man Behind That Curtain! Please talk about pregnant 17-year olds and the Alaskan Independence Party instead!

  23. Profane on 04 Sep 2008 at 8:27 am #

    “I am shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that politicians employ speechwriters.”

    If that is the anti-Palin meme of the moment, I might have to reevaluate my lukewarm response.


  24. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 8:34 am #

    Yeah, it’s a pretty weak and humorless response, especially from a campaign that’s been all about the speechifying.

    Sense of humor, Dems: please grow one.

    Joe Biden’s response was more reasonable. He decried the sexism directed at Palin (by “the media” only), but pointed out the policy holes in the speech. Now, that’s the way to go, Joe.

  25. ej on 04 Sep 2008 at 8:36 am #

    I have to say, I found it rather hypocritical for her to call out Obama on being “all style and no substance”, considering the near total lack of substance in her speech. Other than Obama attacks and some praise of John McCain, and the appalling applause lines that Fratguy discussed, there was very little talk of actual policy.

    I can see why they didn’t want to alienate the moderates by actually revealing her extreme positions on issues like abortion, evolution, book banning and oil drilling, but you think they might have mentioned the economy or even health care.

  26. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 8:40 am #

    Why would they remind everyone that where they actually have policies, they’re on the wrong side? I don’t think it’s an omission–they don’t want to talk about issues because this is a “be” campaign.

    Palin wanted to make 2 main points: 1) She is a reformer and Washington outsider, and 2) John McCain is a war hero who will fight for you. Mission accomplished! (Only they would never say that exactly of course, lest they remind everyone of Commander Codpiece on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln in 2003…)

  27. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 8:45 am #

    ej, you might appreciate this analysis by Big Tent Democrat, who writes that,

    What Sarah Palin could have done last night was discuss herself and introduce how she cares about the issues of working class Americans. That would have expanded John McCain’s electoral base. Instead, Palin delivered the speech prepared (with some adjustments of course) for the generic VP candidate — the typical red meat speech.

    The speech did not work as it should even as a a red meat speech, imo, because Palin is an unknown quantity. These types of attack speeches require a certain credibility that Palin has not yet earned. Instead of introducing her as a champion of the working folks, in terms of biography, issues and themes – which would have been the right play for Palin (and an important opportunity for the Republican Party), Plain competently delivered a typical, run of the mill VP attack dog speech.

    The problem of course is that Republicans don’t have anything to offer on kitchen-table issues but “drill baby drill,” so it’s no mystery why they steered Palin away from policy and back to biography. But, I think I agree with the overall sense of this critique, which is that absent appealing policy positions, the McCain/Palin campaign can only go so far as a “be” campaign.

  28. hungryscholar on 04 Sep 2008 at 9:43 am #

    The McCain/Palin camp chose to respond (e.g. POW) to the enormous biography appeal used this election by the Dems (Obama–I am the enactment of MLK’s Dream). To use your own insightful terminology, Historiann, Palin can be both a “be” and a “do” politician–a WOMAN who has reformed things in her state and where she is enormously popular. To tap a common concept, Obama has spent too much time in the self-actualization and transcendent stages of Maslow’s hieracrchy, when much of the American public is at the lower rungs. Hillary understood that which is why she had such a a great following in her final months among the blue-collar folks not expected to vote female. Lots of Americans are interested in everyday survival. Now, Obama may have such policies to address those needs, but he is still vague about them. Indeed, I take issue with the ususal pundits over how “specific” his acceptance address was. Excepting his promise to cut taxes for 95% of middle-class Americans (immediately disputed by UPenn fact-check), his other “specifics” were an inkblot test. For example, he champions eliminating government waste in programs (Anyone is for gov waste?) never daring to say which ones, and says we all can agree that “unwanted pregnancies” are something we desirable (Duh! How? Abstinence only programs? Sex ed? Funded contraception?)

    I will not be voting McCain/Palin, but the GOP is astute at sniffing out vulnerabilities. The Dems use a playbook, and when the GOP poaches it, the Dems now cry foul. I’ll be surprised if Obama wins.

  29. Miles on 04 Sep 2008 at 9:55 am #

    If the Republicans are now truly the party that stands up to sexism, then maybe:

    1) Palin should stop calling herself a ‘girl’

    2) They should put the kibosh on all the pins in St. Paul that read: “Vote for the HOT CHICK”, “HOTTEST VP; COOLEST STATE”, etc.

    Also, can we talk about Palin’s “zingers”? They were anything but! The crack about being a mayor was unclever, clumsy, and untrue (and possibly lifted from the New Republic).

    Whatever happened to lines like “Poor George … he was born with a silver foot in his mouth”? Maybe we are just getting dumber …

  30. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 9:59 am #

    Great points, hungryscholar. (Those of you who don’t know what ze means with the Maslow’s hierarchy reference, just click here for a good short description of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.)

    I disagree only with your conclusion: I will be surprised if Obama doesn’t win, because if this isn’t a Dem year I don’t know what is. I put the odds at about 75% chance of a win for Obama, 25% chance of a win for McCain. The polling data still show a consistent lead outside of the margin of error for Obama–this will probably dip a bit with McCain’s convention bounce, but I don’t think it will last.

    But, anything can happen, and if a party could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, it’s the Democratic party!

  31. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 10:02 am #

    And Miles: they didn’t work for you, but I guarantee that they worked for other people. She may have Reagan-like potential for projecting attractive, sunny optimisim while delivering derisive and poisonous digs. Underestimate her at your peril!

  32. amy on 04 Sep 2008 at 10:44 am #

    A few thoughts on Palin…

    – Remind me not to sign my younger son up for hockey! (We swim team parents tend to yell thinks like, “Go! Go faster!” I suppose in hockey it’s more like, “Rip his face off!” Then of course there’s the high-intensity “sport” of wolf-hunting from a helicopter — God knows what you say in cheering THAT activity on.

    On another topic, if this presidential election is high school:

    - Hillary is the A-student overachiever type
    - McCain is most certainly the bad boy
    - Biden the good-natured sidekick
    - Obama? A little help here…
    - And Sarah? She strikes me as the classic “mean girl.”

    But will too much snide and sarcastic belittlement start to strike people as juvenile? I hope not, given that I tend to be snide and sarcastic…

    Okay, let’s go for a Harry Potter matchup:

    John McCain = Draco Malfoy
    Hillary = Hermione, of course!
    Obama = Cedric Diggory? Harry?
    Biden = Ron Weasley
    Phyllis Schlafley = Dolores Umbridge
    Karl Rove/Mark Penn? = Voldemort
    Giuliani = Crabbe or Goyle
    Palin = Bellatrix anyone? Or Molly Weasley?
    Carville = Nagini?

    Over and out….

  33. Miles on 04 Sep 2008 at 10:45 am #

    I’m definitely not underestimating her. I think she did an amazing job of pressing the “she’s just like me / my wife!” button. (Whether or not that will translate into more votes than a Romney or Huckabee would garner remains to be seen.)

    Just a comment that the bar for what constitutes a “zinger” seems to get lower and lower. I pray for America’s sense of humor!

  34. Profane on 04 Sep 2008 at 11:20 am #

    First Division meeting of the semester. Brain rot setting in. Mind wanders to Guitar Hero III riffs. Of course! Barracuda! Verse one could be read as a lament by a Palin critic predicting only yesterday that she would be dropped from the ticket:

    So this ain’t the end -
    I saw you again today
    I had to turn my heart away
    Smiled like the sun -
    Kisses for real
    And tales – it never fails!

    You lying so low in the weeds
    I bet you gonna ambush me
    You’d have me down down down down on my knees
    Now wouldn’t you, Barracuda?

    Oh, and Palin is both Bellatrix AND Molly Weasley.

  35. amy on 04 Sep 2008 at 11:55 am #

    Profane, can I just commend you in the strongest terms possible.

    I was thinking about the old Heart song “Barracuda” just the other day! That ditty could be Palin’s signature song, the equivalent of “Signed, Sealed Delivered” for Obama. You know, start playing it real loud after her speeches — the blistering bass, the searing guitar!!!

  36. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 11:58 am #

    Miles–but Palin *is* just like *your* wife–the Bryn Mawr edition, though, which is why your wife doesn’t hunt.

    Profane and Amy–thanks for the pop culture riffs. I think Palin is more like the Hillary A-student type than a Mean Girl, though she may be that too. (I think that’s a strictly partisan call, of course–Republicans would cast Hillary as the Mean Girl, I’m sure.) I just don’t think you get to be Governor of a state *and* have 5 children without a great deal of ambition and hard work.

    “Barracuda”–one of Heart’s classics! (Funny how that nickname is recognizeable to those of us close to Palin’s age…I’ve been unable to get those chug-chugga-chug bass riffs out of my mind all week long!)

  37. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:01 pm #

    Amy–what a concept! It would be a kick to anyone who graduated from High School in the 1980s, but wouldn’t it look like major dorksville oldies-hour to the under-30 crowd?


    (A transliteration in latin letters of the opening riff of Barracuda. I’m not sure if I got enough chug-chugggas in there–can any musicologists help us out here?)

  38. Profane on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:14 pm #

    I belive it is:


  39. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:19 pm #

    Excellent! Thanks, Profane, for the correction.

    (Why do I feel like a Wayne’s World reference is right around the corner? It must be all of those late 70s/early 80s arena rock riffs in my brain today.)

    “If Sarah Palin were a president, she’d be Baberaham Lincoln.”

    I think that was something Garth actually said in the second movie (at least, the Baberaham Lincoln line.)

  40. amy on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:29 pm #

    Historiann, I appreciate your giving Sarah Palin the benefit of the doubt on the “mean girl” question, but keep in mind that this is a person who last night proudly identified herself as a pit bull. (Cue the chug chugga music — see above….)

    “Change you can xerox” is about as close as I ever saw HIllary get — in public anyway — to being in-your-face. Which might have been her problem.

    It’s worrisome that McCain calls Palin his “soulmate,” because he’s no sweetheart. In fact, on the subject of candidates’ kids, he’s well known for telling a pretty mean-spirited joke involving Chelsea Clinton, Hillary Clinton and Janet Reno.

  41. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:39 pm #

    Too true.

    The “change you can xerox” line was delivered half-heartedly during a debate–it sounded like Clinton didn’t even believe it, and the audience booed and hissed at her. So much for going on the attack when you’re the A-student!

    I just think that Palin could pull off the “pit bull in lipstick” approach in a way that neither Guiliani nor Romney nor any of the (older) Pale Males can. She’s very pretty, but in a non-threatening way, and has a great smile when she delivers her lines–which suggests that she means what she’s saying.

    (Maybe she is a Mean Girl after all?)

  42. mary on 04 Sep 2008 at 1:55 pm #

    I agree with most of whats been said here about Palin’s speech—good but not great. In response to your last question “Do you think she won any votes or changed any minds?”

    I don’t think so, CBS news stated that this was a chance for Palin to introduce herself to Americans—as if there hasn’t been a media frenzy surrounding Palin and Palin’s family for the last week.

    Yesterday, when I talked to my mom (a Palin supporter) she seemed disappointed in the speech and told me that she didn’t think it really provided any new information a about Palin. This may be because the speech was on the safe side because I think the McCain camp is concerned far more concerned about her image than about her delivering excellent speeches. I do wonder if Guliani’s speech affected any votes, my mom wAs quite put off by it.

    Oh and I know you aren’t here to change any minds about politics historiann, I was just making fun of myself for stubbornly refusing to give Palin a far chance.

  43. Historiann on 04 Sep 2008 at 2:01 pm #

    You don’t have to give her a fair chance if she’s ideologically opposed to your values, and I think she is. We just have to be fair about the way we talk about her, and treat her no differently than any other candidate.

    Thanks for the intel from Colorado Springs–I think it was probably smart for Palin not to brandish her culture warrior sword. Is that why your mom didn’t like it?

  44. mary on 04 Sep 2008 at 2:07 pm #

    I don’t think so. My parents hail from Minneapolis and I think they would be Democrats if they weren’t pro-life—even my mom admitted that Obama’s speech was very, very good.

    However, I did happen upon on conservative friend’s blog from high school it seems that plenty of people are upset she’s not brandishing a culture warrior sword. Which is typical Colorado Springs.

  45. Fratguy on 04 Sep 2008 at 9:11 pm #

    Hey, wasn’t there a Reno 911 episode that ended with Dangle et al commandeering a garage band’s instruments and hacking their way through “Barracuda”?

  46. hysperia on 04 Sep 2008 at 10:59 pm #

    Great stuff here, as always. But hey amy, I gotta stand up for hockey moms. We NEVER tell our kids to rip anyone’s face off. It’s too likely our kid’s faces would get ripped back. Nobody EVER lets another hockey player get away with an insult. And girls play hockey too. Women even. I’ve watched several years worth of my sons’ girlfriends playing. I must say, though, I’m grateful to be in retirement now. On the other hand, I’m having a grandchild in February and in Canada, kids can usually skate by the time they’re three. Hell. I may still be alive!

  47. Historiann on 05 Sep 2008 at 6:20 am #

    Hey, hysperia–congratulations on the impending grandchild! What fun.

    Whatever the rigors of hockey, I’d certainly prefer that any daughter of mine play hockey than get into competitive figure skating…!

    And Fratguy: well remembered.

  48. James on 05 Sep 2008 at 9:43 am #

    I’m with FratGuy, except that my only fraternity is Phi Alpha Theta, and most of the frat guys I knew in college drank beer. Bourbon costs more and requires real taste–maybe that comes with the job after college.

    Palin is frightening because she is an effective speaker and throws in subtle qualifiers that makes egregious falsehoods into half truths. Take the word “major” out of “this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform” and there’s not a shred of truth in her assertion. With the word “major” it becomes a matter of opinion. It is interesting that McCain’s claim to tell us about “pork” is already law thanks to the Coburn-Obama Transparency Act, which McCain signed on as a cosponsor. So, McCain-Palin are gonna try to get elected by promising what Obama has already delivered while accusing him of writing only memoirs.

    I was also impressed about what she didn’t say because her record is clear: she raised taxes on oil companies (that’s how she gave Alaska a surplus), and raised other taxes too. She’s a lot like Ronald Reagan. She promises lower taxes, but will raise them.

    While she was bragging about standing up to the oil companies, I kept thinking about the pipeline Alaska is building through British Columbia, which is not yet part of the United States and is still negotiating treaties with its indigenous population. When she talking about protecting us from “Islamic Terrorists” I wondered how she was planning to protect a gas pipeline that runs through Canada.

    That such digested grasses passing through male bovines sells is a good reason for reaching for the nearest bottle of Añejo.

  49. Historiann on 05 Sep 2008 at 9:49 am #

    James–you’re right, and more reason to be concerned: the Rasmussen poll today is now essentially tied again, so the Republican convention did what McCain hoped it would do–and McCain/Palin may yet see their numbers rise higher.

    (Just one poll, take it FWIW.)

  50. amy on 05 Sep 2008 at 10:16 am #

    To all you hockey moms out there, I stand corrected: Hockey is NOT a violent sport. (Woops, disclosure: we watch a fair amount of NFL in my house, so who am I to talk?)

    As for ice skating, any sport requiring participants to wear make-up is, to me, as bizarre as a sport that, at least on the professional level, assigns players to brawl duty. Whatevs…

    Wish me luck this Saturday as I cold-call independents in Nevada on behalf of Obama. It’s tough out there — most of the men I talk to are extremely resistant to Obama, though they’re also not happy with the current Administration. I’m trying to lock onto the best arguments: any suggestions?

  51. Historiann on 05 Sep 2008 at 10:46 am #

    Amy–good luck. I think the best argument is McCain=Bush’s 3rd term. The Repubican convention underscored that they have no new ideas except “drill baby drill,” and want to stick with the (disastrous) old ones in play under the current admin.

    But, the problem is that many people still like and trust McCain–he’s a name brand, whereas Obama is still a cipher to them. (Not saying this is true, just that that’s the perception.) So, I’d stay away from anything that could be interpreted as disrespectful of McCain/Palin.

    (Did you watch McCain’s speech last night? At the end, when the McCain and Palin families joined him onstage, they played “Barracuda!” No joke!)

  52. Profane on 05 Sep 2008 at 1:38 pm #

    New Rasmussen (Un)Favorable Ratings:

    Biden: 48% F ??% U
    McCain: 57% F 41% U
    Obama: 57% F 42% U
    Palin: 58% F 37% U

  53. amy on 05 Sep 2008 at 3:48 pm #

    Thanks, Historiann; I think I’ll work in the “third term” bit for sure. As for being respectful, I am definitely not going to start trashing hockey moms as I make my way through the phone list tomorrow, though I STILL say hockey is a violent….

    Every female independent I have reached so far in Nevada is voting Obama. In contrast, here’s what some of the “undecided” men say:

    - Obama is a tax-and-spend Dem
    - We don’t have any money to pay for everything he promised
    - He has no private sector experience (does McCain?)
    - He lacks relevant leadership experience (gotta concede here)
    - It’s a scary world out there
    - Who does he think he is? (the uppity argument)
    - Presidents have very little influence over the economy
    - The economic concerns have been way overstated and it’ll revive on its own

    On this last point, I succeeded in getting one undecided to concede that Obama’s cutting-edge use of social technologies in building his campaign is a good sign, when compared to McCain’s computer illiteracy (he doesn’t use email)… I mean who is future-focused here?

    I also reminded him about Clinton’s record on the economy, which reminds me… do you think the Dems should shift their approach a bit? At the convention they did a lot of pitying (you poor poor victims without health insurance) and arguably not enough flexing their cred on economic issues (we are the brainy types who can balance budgets and promote smart industries, etc.)?

    I’d appreciate all input… Amy

  54. Profane on 05 Sep 2008 at 6:23 pm #


    A few raw reactions to your list from another undecided male. Some of this might be useful. Some of it might illustrate what you are up against.

    1. Yep, but Bush has been a cut-tax and spend Republican.
    2. Spot on. Unless Obama abandons his pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class.
    3-4. To put it differently – there is only one of the four major party candidates who has actually run something. Sarah Palin.
    5. True of course. Not that I get how that creates a distinction between the options.
    6. To borrow a frequent response from Shakesville. *HEAD* *DESK*
    7. Spot on. I do not want to hear about how many jobs Obama is going to create.
    8. Spot on. Thats how a business cycle works.

    FYI, the Iowa speech, post-partisan Obama had me wanting to run out and get a ‘Republicans for Obama’ sign. The convention speech, standard Democrat Obama disavowed me of that impulse.


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