Monday, November 23, 2009
The other great speech of the U.S. campaign season was Sarah Palin's on receiving the vice-presidential slot on the McCain ticket. This was a speech delivered under even greater pressures than that of Mr. Obama. John McCain's choice of Ms. Palin had been early and widely criticized, and in some quarters ferociously reviled. She had never really been under the national spotlight before. The entire media were focused on her with an intensity almost unseen in the annals of vice-presidential politics. If she'd been just “okay,” or messed up, John McCain's campaign was over. It was the highest of high-stakes gambles.
Did she deliver? She soared. She was the very acme of self-confidence and ease. She mixed a natural charm with a mischievous edge of sarcasm toward her opponents – even daring the unthinkable by pinging The One himself. It was her “first serve” on the national stage and she delivered an ace. The backwoods hick knocked it out of the hall that night – not only did she not sink the McCain campaign, she gave it the only real vitality and spark that gloomy, tight, fussy little campaign had from start to finish.
Her speech, in fact, was the rhetorical equivalent of Mr. Obama's crucial one. They do not as speakers, it is obvious, share the same idiom. Mr. Obama is utterly composed, deliberate down to gesture and word, very conscious that he is a “figure” on a stage. Mr. Obama “bestows” himself on an audience. Ms. Palin has none of that. She will never speak in front of faux Greek columns. She walks on the stage much the same way she'd go into a gas station. But she's shrewd in her choice of themes, has a marvellous feel for her audience, and a confidence that will never be confused with arrogance.
Ms. Palin is a real and evolving element in the great story of American politics. She is the “other half” of the Obama moment, and she may be in the ascendant. Mr. Obama is losing his lustre, his appeal is dimming, at the very moment the Alaskan outsider is staking her claim. Those who call her a joke are expressing an anxious hope not offering a rational description.
Looking at Obama's resume when he ran for president, Hillary was right, he gave a speech.
In the year since he has been president I see nothing but disaster in the decisions he has made. So when people ask if she is ready to be president, I would ask, would she appoint a tax cheat to be Treasury Secretary, a friend of Tiller the Baby Killer to be HHS secretary, an avowed Communist to be Green Czar, an energy secretary who thinks painting our roofs white is one way to save the planet from global warming.
Would she think it a good idea to try KSM in a civil court so he can put this nation and the Bush administration on trial from the defendents table?
Would she propose taking over one sixth of the US economy in a 2000 page health care bill that few if any legislators will read which will start cutting Medicare and taxing people today for "benefits" beginning in four or five years. Would she be in favor of buying one vote for that bill for $300,000,000?
While trying to climb out of this recession would she threaten citizens and businesses with higher taxes and regulation.
I can say with a degree of certainty that she would not do any of these things, and that would put us light years ahead of where we are now under the leadership of the past editor of the Harvard Law Revue.
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