I would like to thank the US media for doing such a grand job this last week of lowering expectations by portraying Governor Palin - whoops, I mean Hick-Burg Mayor Palin - as a hillbilly know-nothing permapregnant ditz, half of whose 27 kids are the spawn of a stump-toothed uncle who hasn't worked since he was an extra in Deliverance.How? Not so great.
How's that narrative holding up, geniuses? Almost as good as your "devoted husband John Edwards" routine?
Alaska's governor Sarah Palin gave a terrific speech at the GOP convention last night. Fogbound liberal heads are exploding across the map, reduced to sputtering inanities in the face of what seems to be The Genuine Article: a conviction politician, whose natural political instincts and rhetorical skills are brought into the service of pursuing goals and holding to values. They don't know what to make of her, they're far too arrogant to admit error and re-think (let alone reverse course), so they're stuck with making fools of themselves.
Fred Barnes has it exactly right with his opening words:
That was easy. Sarah Palin delivered what may have been the most important speech ever by a vice presidential candidate and made it look like she'd been performing on the national political stage for years. And she made John McCain look good for having picked her as his running mate.In this way, she contrasts favorably with President Bush. Although W will be remembered as both an accomplished and visionary president (— pow! pow! more heads explode), he is a terrible speaker. Terrible. I once wrote that a definition of mixed emotions would be (A) having the position of Presidential speech-writer... (B) for George Bush. That man can take a wonderful line and strangle it to merciless, sputtering death.
But not Palin. She made all the lines her own, delivered them with conviction. It was a beautiful thing. If you missed it, you can find the video here (no responsibility for ads there; here is the text). It's all the more impressive considering that the teleprompter reportedly failed her.
So I think we're going to see — arguable have already seen here, in nascent form — the birth of a new pathology: PDR (Palin Derangement Syndrome). Roger Kimball observes:
Sarah Palin has acted like a sort of locoweed on the media and Team Obama. She stunned them, not into silence (alas) but into a frenzy of groundless vituperation.They're left granting that Palin did a terrific job, granting virtually every single point, and then simply stubbornly insisting that it's not good enough. Not very persuasive. Nor is Keith Olbermann, intoning “People who like this sort of thing will find this the sort of thing they like.” Uh... yeah, I guess they will. Thanks for that. Though the argument's been pretty well dismantled, they'll keep up the "unqualified" line, hoping no one notices how badly that reflects on their #1 candidate. (Also, Janet Daley reminds us that "Lady Thatcher was dismissed as a "grocer's daughter" by people who called themselves egalitarian.")
William Kristol noted that a star is born. He called last night a stunning success, and says that the predictable and increasingly vicious attacks will fail.
Daniel Henninger is one of many who's nailed it:
Sarah's story is the stuff of Erin Brockovich movies and full-page newspaper spreads. Except: She's "pro-life," is a "Christian," and unlike all the white guys who came in second, Sarah looks like she might help get a Republican elected.The Boston Herald is right that she rose above the feeding frenzy, observing that "No lab specimen has ever been put under the microscope that Sarah Palin has been subjected to."
It may be possible to pack more downward spin in what is being written about her, but modern media records are being set. Sarah has to be stopped because Sarah looks like trouble.
Beyond serious question, Palin is a breath of fresh air on the scene. Daniel Henninger says it well:
Sarah Palin looks like the old model's first real political challenge. They will be gunning for her. Good luck with that."Good luck" indeed. One particularly pities Joe Biden.
Last night can't have been a good night's sleep for him. He's in a rough position for any liberal man, particularly one already afflicted with such a bad case of logorrhea.
Seriously, what is he going to do? I think Biden's instinct will be to talk down to "the little lady."
That would really be a bad idea. One whiff of condescension, and he'll be having supper through a straw (politically and in public life) for a long, long time.