Saturday, August 30, 2008

Obama's speech, Sarah Palin, etc.

It wasn't quite as vicious as John Kerry's, but other than that it was the hardest-hitting speech of the convention. I have no complaints. There were several lines of attack he'd never personally opened up before, most notably Phil Gramm's "nation of whiners" gaffe and his first use of the word "temperment." I liked the extra large podium, which made him look smaller, less threatening, and more humble/less fascist.

I didn't like it as much as Keith Olbermann did.

As for the Sarah Palin selection, politically I'm not 100% convinced that it's an absurdly stupid choice but I am about 90% convinced. It is doing a bang up job of stealing attention from the Democratic convention, but that's at best a temporary advantage. I'm not even sure, given the "Obama fatigue" phenomenon that was being discussed going into the convention, ceding center stage the McCain campaign might not be a bad thing.

Even if it does prove to be a good choice electorally, it's so cynical. Joe Klein wrote that it "reflects a defiant, adolescent 'screw you' attitude toward governance." Is that pretty disrespectful of Palin? Yeah, but c'mon.

Some wingnuts are actually buying into the argument that because her experience has been executive rather than legislative, it doesn't matter how few people live in Wasilla or all of Alaska, or how long she's been running the latter. They're also weirdly enthused about her being the mother of five (5) instead of just one or three.

One thing I find interesting is that even though this is understandably being characterized as a pick for the base, there are at least two card-carrying members of the Republican base over at Powerline who were not at all enthused about Palin.

Here's Hindrocket:

"The AP says the McCain camp "hopes the announcement of his running mate will stunt any momentum that Democratic rival Barack Obama might get from the just concluded Democratic National Convention." If it really is Palin, I'm afraid the opposite will happen. Press reaction will be 100% negative; the emphasis will all be on Palin's inexperience--she's been Governor of Alaska for less than two years--and the fallout will augment, not limit, Obama's convention bounce." [Emphasis mine]

And here's a post by Paul Mirengoff, in its entirety before adding updates later:

"I'm very disappointed that John McCain would put someone as inexperienced and lacking in foreign policy and national security background as Sarah Palin a heartbeat away from the presidency."

Speaking of "a heartbeat away," Marc Ambinder told readers to be on the lookout for this phrase from Democratic flacks, and darned if I'm not hearing it quite a bit this morning on MSNBC. I thought they'd be a little less aggressive about her than they have been, especially that initial "totally inexperienced" statement that Gibbs made right away and Obama later walked back personally.

With the caveat that Republicans have historically been very good at winning presidential elections, she really seems like a crazy choice to me, and it's a big relief. I thought the best part of McCain's brand, moreso than the 2005 apostasy on taxes, etc., was that he was one tough motherfucker who other countries wouldn't want to mess with on the world stage. For a man gearing up to lead us further into the great clash of civilizations, the beauty queen hockey mom governor of Alaska is a jarringy incongruous partner. Watching them appear together is going to be like flipping the channel back and forth between a war documentary and a reality TV show.

Can't wait for some fresh polling numbers. The Gallup tracking was promising (+8) but I don't think reflects all of the speech or the Palin pick.

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