At the risk of sounding boastful, I have to say that I saw this coming. Like the weather channel tracking a storm across the Atlantic, for the past 5 days I saw this one brewing and indeed Hurricane Sarah hit Minnesota last night with a fury that has the Left scrambling to gather up the debris that was once a brutal assault on a fine woman.
I had images of McCain behind the scenes struggling to hold his running mate back as she lunged repeatedly at her critics. Well, last night he finally turned her loose and effectively put the Left on notice…underestimate this woman at your own peril.
Before the speech, I heard the campaign say they weren’t going to send Palin out as the attack dog. Bull. I didn’t believe that for a second. Her friends call her “Sarah Barracuda”. She took on a big-shot Republican establishment and unseated a fat-cat Republican incumbent Governor. She fires incompetent staff faster than Donald Trump. She sold the ex-governor’s private jet on eBay! This woman is anything but soft and I knew what was going to happen last night, especially after the past few days of relentless attacks against her from so many different directions. There was blood in the water, and something told me Palin was itching to get into the fight. And fight she did.
She started off with the needed introductions. She told America about her background, introduced her family, and painted the picture of a typical small town family with typical small town problems. It was similar to Michelle Obama’s speech with one resounding difference. Palin didn’t just originate from small town America, she still lives it today. It may not seem like much, but this will play very well across middle America.
Then she got into her record. She did okay, just okay. I say that because I think she should have devoted more time there. Yes, she mentioned her many vetoes, cutting pork barrels, cutting taxes, expanding energy, and fighting corruption. But she missed a few things like resigning as Oil/Gas commissioner to protest ongoing corruption that the good ‘ol boys refused to tackle. She didn’t tell us that lobbyists are banned from her office. She didn’t tell us about working with Canadian officials on energy issues (foreign policy experience?). I think she could’ve toned down the attacks and spoke about these things a bit more. That’s my only criticism.
Then came the attacks. Palin looked like a woman whose career and family had been dragged through the mud for 5 days. You could almost see her eagerness to fight back. She soaked up the energy from the crowd and she launched into the Left like – as one Alaska voter put it – a “moose going after a cabbage”, or more accurately, a barracuda going after a school of goldfish, an Alaskan grizzly bear defending her cubs. Her message was clear to me…she wasn’t going to take this mess lying down.
For perspective, this appeared in the New York Times yesterday: “They have a tradition of nominating fun, bantamweight cheerleaders from the west.”
For more perspective, here is just a sample of some of the things I’ve read in the media: “inbred hick...whoring her kids out for political purposes…trophy VP to go with a trophy wife…bimbo alert…nazi sympathizer…does McCain think the stewardess will defend us from the terrorists?”
I wonder if anyone in the media had this thought after last night…”I fear we have awakened a hibernating bear and filled her with a great resolve.”
Considering the treatment she’s received since her nomination, I was more than willing to allow Palin to get away with some low blows. She earned it. But, surprisingly, there weren’t many. She didn’t go after Michelle and she didn’t launch any inappropriate personal attacks on Obama. She did jab him on his lack of humility and even more on his lack of legislative accomplishment and she did it with humor and a different non-Washington style. She did it with a smile and a chuckle and it was very effective. And she sure went after him on policy. She returned fire like the expert marksman that she is, and scored a direct hit. She said of McCain: “He’s not looking for a fight, but he sure won’t back down from one.” Ditto for Palin.
She also went after the Left wing media, Joe Biden and Harry Reid; and when she finished she seemed to have that “anyone else want a piece of me” look in her eyes. Something tells me no one did, me included. For a brief second, I almost felt the need to step in and pull her off of these poor guys…almost. I haven’t seen a political beating like that since Cheney debated Edwards in ’04. If he didn’t deserve it, you would feel some sympathy for him.
One pundit this morning called it mean-spirited. Mean-spirited? Like attacking a woman’s family, her motherhood, her career, the small town that she led, the state that she governed and even suggesting she had an affair with one of her husband’s friends? Is that what is meant by mean-spirited? No, Palin’s speech wasn’t mean-spirited, it was retaliation. If Obama’s campaign can mock her for being a small-town hick mayor, then she can certainly mock him for being a pompous cosmopolitan fake. Now we’ll see if he can take it as well as he dishes it out.
She made it clear that she was the type of person who would fight for her constituents, and she demonstrated it by fighting back against the establishment whose survival depends on keeping her out of Washington. So much for the McCain-has-no-judgment argument. She made him look like a genius.
The gaffe of the night came from Harry Reid, who responded by saying Palin was shrill. Shrill? Is he serious? Someone on Reid’s staff should have told him that you don’t use that word when describing a woman. You may as well say she was bitchy, or had a nice butt. Women are offended by the word shrill. It’s a demeaning reference to the apron-wearing, Betty Crocker days of the 1950s when the little lady was expected to keep her mouth shut and only speak when spoken to. It’s akin to referring to an African-American as “boy”, an incredible insult that only those who’ve been the target of it can understand. Not a bright move on Harry Reid’s part. Pardon the brief digression.
Last night, Palin stepped into a political pressure cooker and performed brilliantly, looking comfortable and seasoned. She had poise and composure, wit and charm. She had the charisma without the arrogance. She had the eloquence with a small town backwoods Alaskan accent. She appeared classy without looking elitist. She was inspiring without appearing or behaving like royalty. She isn’t representing middle America, she IS middle America. The energy and electricity between her and the crowd was symbiotic, they seemed to feed off of each other. That stage was her comfort zone, and she relished in the pressure of the moment. She was Joe Montana in heels. But more than that, she’s the anti-Obama, the kryptonite to his superman persona, delivering a speech that was every bit as exciting and uplifting without making people feel as though they should apologize for their country. Dare I say, she looked like a young, female Ronald Reagan…funny, charming, tough, likable and gravitational. There is no better way to charge up the conservative base and maybe even bring along a few independents and Reagan-crats. And there is no better way to scare the pants off the Left, the liberal media and the Washington elites.
In their mind, this woman must be destroyed before she gets to Washington, especially if she’s coming behind John McCain and his army of reform. As I write this, the liberals are behaving in a way that epitomizes panic. Those two have just turned on the kitchen light and have the Washington bureaucrats scrambling like cockroaches. Make no mistake, the cockroaches will regroup. They have no intention of releasing their grip on Washington without a fight. This campaign is about to get very, very ugly.
But for now, I take my hat off to Sarah Palin. Job well done!