Governor Sarah Palin's speech wasn't exactly what I expected.. and that's her fault. For a couple days now Republican talking heads have been trying to convince us that she is an aggressive reforming social conservative with expertise on just about everything that matters to the American people. She ruined her own coming out party.. for anyone who isn't a staunch Republican. In fact, the entire night had problems.. but that is for another post.
Sarah Palin came out swinging. Her speech could be broken down into three main themes: 1) Attacking Barack Obama, 2) Extolling the virtues of John McCain, and 3) Energizing the Republican base.
1) Attacking Barack Obama
She came out hard and she did not stop. In true attack dog form (she called herself a pitbull with lipstick), Palin lambasted and vilified Obama and his campaign to the very core. One of the main attack points was that she was a mayor and Obama was a Community Organizer. Palin told the crowd that the two are similar but that she "actually had responsibility". There were so many barbs and mud thrown that you'd have to actually read the speech to believe that it was given. I mean, it is one thing to attack your opponent.. but it is an entirely different thing to do it all the time, it hardly leaves any time for you to tell us why you are any better!
2) All Praise John S. McCain
The S stands for Sidney, in case you are interested. Anyone remember John Edwards acceptance speech in 2004? This is how it went: blah blah blah John Kerry blah blah John Kerry blah blah blah John and I blah blah blah John Kerry. Sarah Palin must have studied that speech and just replaced all the "Kerry"s with "McCain". Now I understand she basically owes her new career options to the man but it was more like she was a fangirl than a running mate. Supposedly she should be able to do his job if he is ever stricken ill or incapacitated but she made it sound as though he was an anomaly of service that we should worship instead of a man who is far better qualified than her but she is still within reach of (according to her party).
3) Energizing the Base
Is it not hilarious that "the base" in Arabic is "al quaeda"? Ok.. I crack myself up.. but seriously! She did a great job! There was not a single phrase or sentence that did not get huge ovation and recognition. Although the speech was better suited for a surrogate than a VP nomination acceptance it worked none the less and brought together a party that was honestly struggling when they arrived. As the days went on the cheers didn't grow much louder... but Palin really opened up the audience and got them going. From defeatists to optimists in under an hour... that's good delivery (although her voice has already begun to annoy me).
Problems with her speech? Oh yeah... she didn't talk much about why or how she is ready to be Vice President or act as President. That's HUGE. That should have been the bulk of her speech, instead of just just saying Obama isn't ready.. tell us why you are any better! Also, sometimes her attacks were so strongly worded that they were just not true. For instance, saying that you don't think Obama did anything useful is one thing but saying that he "never authored" any legislation of value is another. (Remember that bill to control nuclear material or the huge ethics reform bill?) Another thing that really bugged me was the negative tone that was used throughout... for a party that is suppose to be energizing the electorate they seemed more intent on just scaring it (worked in 2004, I guess...)
Overall Grade: C