Thursday, September 04, 2008

Filling In the Blanks

The blank page of Governor Sarah Palin as Republican nominee for Vice President was filled in last night. Governor Palin whose resume many questioned showed she is no shrinking violet. Her speech was defiant, clear, resonant, and a challenge to small town America that urban centers have discounted in recent years. The visual of this mom turn politician was compelling. Like speakers before her, she continued the narrative of Republican Presidential Nominee John McCain, “John McCain would rather lose an election than lose a war.”

There were several themes running through her address. It includes executive experience, a disdain for Washington and media, and making the case for John McCain over the democratic ticket.

In at dig at Democrat Presidential Nominee Barack Obama, she chided his loft speeches and his chameleon like rhetoric to play to crowds. “I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening, We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.”Republicans have often felt those with power (Washington insiders and media) are more about the being cozy and gotcha. “But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people.”

Kicking and Punching

Palin describes herself as a hockey mom or “a pit-bull with lipstick,” and oh she was. The fighting woman resonated. She targeted the battleground states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Michigan. These are the states which Senator Hillary Clinton won. These four states have begrudgingly accepted women in power, but see candidates of color with a “jaundice eye.”

Associating rural and suburban areas of these states with urban centers is an anathema to their “way of life.” It’s a fight where they are hoping to keep cities from encroaching and bring all its ills to their sanitize hamlets.

It’s partly racial, but it’s mainly cultural. It’s the Friday night football games; it’s the American Legion Baseball league; and the Fourth of July Parade which makes for a continuum and continuity these areas want to keep intact.

Veterans and McCain

McCain’s military service is truly heroic and no one has his story. The telling and retelling of his captivity is salient. The numbers of veterans groups endorsing his campaign is the “sure bet.” It’s especially a group to court in times of war. Palin delivered a personal touch by noting the story of a fellow captive Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio. McCain would have to walk past his cell at the "Hanoi Hilton."

“When McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn toward Moe's door and flash a grin and thumbs up" - as if to say, "We're going to pull through this." My fellow Americans that is the kind of man America needs to see us through these next four years.”

The Speech

Matt Scully who wrote the speech was able to hit the right notes, but it is the speaker who can take lofty rhetoric and make it you own. A speech like this has to have memorable lines. This one will be remembered for several.

“Listening to him (Obama) speak, it's easy to forget this is a man who has authored two memoirs, but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate.”
“Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the current do-nothing Senate, not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee. He said, quote, "I can't stand John McCain." Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we've chosen the right man.”

A written speech can be coached, massaged, and corrected prior to performance. Can she handle the q and a which will follow? You can’t stay in the bubble. The Republicans will make a concerted effort to use her in rural and suburban areas. Somewhere in the process she’ll have to answer some uncomfortable questions about her personal life and issues unfamiliar to her. These will test her “steeliness.” A non answer will be even more telling.

The Alaska Governor has pulled together the desperate parts of the Republican Party; which heretofore have not been united. Is it enough to bring John McCain to the Presidency? Tomorrow we will here from the man himself.

Back in the day you would hear a neighbor yell, "colored people on television." This was the day to showcase a number of minorities including GOPAC Chair Michael Steele. The head of the Texas Railroad Commission, Michael Williams was also tapped to speak. Anybody else left in the GOP?




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