Well, our governor Sarah delivered her acceptance speech with a fine delivery. The speech, like other speeches, was meant to accomplish a number of thing:
1. Show Palin as not light-weight.
2. Show Palin with executive experience
3. Show Palin with some foreign policy expertise
4. Show something personal about Palin
5. Show Palin as a good speaker
6. Show Palin as a McCain booster
1. Sarah was feisty in her criticisms of Obama, though at first he was only mentioned as ‘our opponents’. She was also critical of the mainstream press and Washington insiders, all standard rhetoric and, while perhaps relentless, weren’t exactly given a lot of time to vet Palin (not much more than McCain). Actually, they are doing him a favor by getting every damaging thing out in the open early in her campaign. After 18 months of presidential campaigning, amazing that it’s been so long and Palin is only committed to the last two more months. We know little of her in Alaska. consider what the country doesn’t know. One commentator after even referred to her as the governor of Arkansas. I think that she just let the Obama-Biden campaign know that she is playing the attack dog that a VP candidate is supposed to do. She is fair game for Biden, but if he is moderately careful, he won’t get rolled. She will use her humour though.
Palin also stressed her challenging the political establishment in Alaska routine, which, considering the Randy Ruerich, Don Young, Ben Stevens (and the list goes on) are her party, is kind of significant. It resonates with what McCain claims to do, fight corruption. Remember McCain was one of the Keating Five and still hangs out with lobbyists and Washington insiders. As far as Palin, America has no real idea about the details of her corruption fight, except for ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ and the latest on the Ted Stevens. She is trying to distance both her and McCain from Uncle Ted and thus far implicitly Don Young. If she runs real hard on that, it could backfire with some in Alaska, but really, Ted, if you are convicted, Dave Cuddy, as a Libertarian or Republican, will be running too, opposing Mark Begich.
2. I guess mayor of the biggest strip mall town in Alaska and governor for a little over a year is what it is. On the Oil and Gas Commission as well. She stressed that she had more executive experience than Obama. That’s the old governor vs. senator view, something that history has been alleged to show that governors make better presidents because they know how to govern over those who legislate. Still, it seems a little arrogant to tout her light record. Honestly, I was surprised she was elected governor with so little expertise. Obviously, she appeals to some. Played the populist for a short bit, stressing how when Alaska’s budget was overflowing, she gave some back to the people, who know how to spend it best. Right. The nuclear Palin clan will take in about $14,000 in regular Permanent Fund dividends this month and an additional $7,200 for a Resource Rebate. My concern with the latter approach is the lack of focus on those most hard hit by high energy prices: those that are forced to heat with fuel oil vs. more than half of the state in Anchorage burning the less inflationary natural gas, the bi-partisan Alaska State Senate’s attempts not withstanding. Palin, along with the republican led House went for the simple approach and, at the same time, helped the federal deficit by every recipient of this largesse getting taxed by the IRS. It’s just one factor – the question is a complicated one in economic influencing of social policy. I don’t think Palin’s last college paper was on this topic. Which lead me to think that hard working investigative journalists will be going after her college experience.
3. Foreign policy, well, eh. She has a son and nephew involved in the military, giving an opportunity to rally the jingoism of ‘rally round our brave military’. She briefly mentioned other countries like Georgia and generally espoused the energy independence position to not be held ransom by unfriendly countries. Isolationist tendencies, but honestly, I don’t think she had much to say and nobody has high expectations of her. So she didn’t overreach, but wasn’t impressive in this category.
3. Personal. Right, family…. She played up being a regular person, in touch, like McCain is out of touch. Was the PTA then simple hockey mom, “like a pit-bull with lipstick” – her words. That will give Biden something to make a joke about. Acknowledging her perhaps soon to be son-in-law was very upfront. The personal stuff they are letting hang out as it shows her right-to-life commitment, something she brings to the evangelic McCain doubters, but hasn’t made it a direct policy commitment. And the ‘advocate in the White Wouse for parents of ‘special needs’ children made no commitment. I’d bet the Republicans have worked much harder to cut programs that benefit special needs families.
4. She was a good speaker, but has to work on the stiffening lip. If I was before 10 times as many people as I’ve been before, I might do more than have a stiff lip though. Look how long it took for Dubya to get rid of his (did he?). She showed a sense of humor and geneality through all the rhetoric.
5. McCain booster was all over the speech, but I doubt she wrote any of it. She doesn’t know the man.
How much of her speech was genuinely her vs. that which McCain’s staff prepared in advance of her selection as his running mate? I think 3/4 of the themes were theirs. She supported drilling (what a surprise), but then adding nuclear (not hers). Weaving in anti-corruption, drilling, etc., the personal stuff obviously, but generally not her speech from the heart. It’s only been a week and she hasn’t had time to develop positions on every national and international topic under the sun. What about southeast Asian monetary policy and the prime minister of Japan announcing his resignation? Geez, she’s just a hockey mom….
So what is left? I think the press and the campaigns and other interested politicos will get into the substance of her short record.
Her legal issues with Troopergate, which I think won’t amount to much. Clearly some of her staff and ‘first dude Todd’ took up the gauntlet, but probably can’t be proved that she directed them to.
Palin’s bridge to nowhere rejection story will be tasked in debate. Alaska kept the money for the bridges.
Palin’s breaking with the 3 oil majors over the proposed gas pipeline. First, the pipeline isn’t yet built. Second, for better or worse, relationships with the oil industry and pipeline industry, legislature, etc. on this bill will be looked at, as it should. It was one of the most significant pieces of legislation her govenor’s team authored – mostly Marty Rutherford and Tom Irwin. However the actions have yet to bear any fruit at all.
Her opposition to listing the polar bear as endangered (risks drilling development).
Really, when I think about how little we Alaskan’ know about Palin, I can’t imagine
And poor Levi Johnston, Bristol’s boyfriend, being thrust in this national maelstrom. I can’t imagine. At least Bristol has a little experience in gubernatorial fame. I hope he at least gets his GED.
This has been almost a week since Palin was selected. Sarah has yet to address Alaskans as our governor on this decision. Let’s see how long it takes the McCain campaign to either give her the time or have Sarah realize how we feel about her abandoning us to the national Republican machine.