04 September 2008

Thoughts on Governor Palin’s Speech

I stayed up late last night, later than I normally do, to watch Governor Palin’s speech at the Republican convention. I had not expected a rousing speech; I had thought that hers would essentially introduce herself, make the case for her candidacy by citing her own experience, and that would be that. She went much further.

As someone on Fox News commented after the speech (I think it was Mort Kondracke), Gov. Palin gave the most compelling case against Sen. Obama and for Sen. McCain that has yet been given on the campaign trail. What’s more, she did it with a style that wasn’t mean or “pit bullish”; it was factual and reasoned and impassioned.

What’s more, Gov. Palin displayed a sense of humor that was keen and sharp but not vicious. In contrast to the wild rumors, tall-tales, and flat out lies being printed about her, Gov. Palin’s pokes at Sen. Obama and the media were effective precisely because they were based on fact, as good humor always is. As a result, her humor revealed a deeper bit of truth about both as well: many members of the media largely see themselves as gatekeepers and news makers, not as reporters, and Sen. Obama is all about raising taxes and expanding government regardless of his fluffy rhetoric.

But Gov. Palin’s speech wasn’t all attack, though some may characterize it as such. That kind of characterization happens often when stark contrasts are made between two things, no matter what they are. By juxtaposing Sen. Obama’s life, experience and goals against Sen. McCain’s, the contrasts leap out. Gov. Palin was not shy about pointing out the obvious (something that the media, for all its news-making savvy, can’t seem to bring itself to do). A president Obama would result, she said, in higher taxes, much bigger government, and less personal liberty – all of which point toward a “change” for the worse. Sen. McCain does not share those positions and will fight to expand personal liberty, and personal responsibility which naturally arises from it. Simple.

Today, there are bound to be countless headlines and commentaries about how Gov. Palin gave a “star” performance last night. Indeed, some said that a “star” was born last night. But really, we don’t need another “star”. We need someone who is down-to-earth, small-town, and straight-forward. Gov. Palin showed that she can be that for the greater good of America, and she doesn’t have to wrap herself in “star” status to do it.

Her speech was a winner; it was worthy of the executive branch. I for one hope she becomes part of the executive branch in January.

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