Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hiding in Palin sight

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I couldn't bring myself to watch the season finale of the Republican convention last night — or is there an anti-climactic thud scheduled for tonight? — but after reading some of the glowing reviews of Ms. Palin today, my torpid political bones were stirred into just enough action to catch some of the instant replay on YouTube.

At first I was sorry I bothered, as she banged on interminably about her family and displayed them like an album of vacation photos. How have we sunk to this? Our presidential campaigns aren't about policies anymore; they're not even entirely about candidates' personalities; they're about candidates' husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, parents, grandparents, third cousins twice removed, schoolteachers, childhood playmates, pets. By the 2012 campaign, if the country survives that long, the vote will be down to competing Facebook entries.

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Can you imagine Franklin Roosevelt in 1932 opening his bid for the presidency by announcing, "Ladies and gentlemen, I know we're up to our eye sockets in a Depression, some of you might want to hear about that, and yes, I can see them putting up tents for a new Hooverville there in the second balcony, and the breadlines are winding three times around the convention hall, but wait. I'm first and foremost a family man. My wife Eleanor [pause for applause] is here with me tonight — Eleanor! And that young man beaming in the front row, Elliot — Elliot! Next to him is my pride and joy, my daughter Eleanora — Eleanora! That cute little chap she's holding is our terrier, Fala — toss the folks a bark, Fala! Of course you remember Teddy … ."

I'll give it to Sarah Palin, she's a cracking good speaker. Even when she's saying nothing really, you can look at her, and that causes no pain. But she knows timing and delivery, varying the volume as needed. Either she took acting lessons or she's a natural, gets a lot of mileage out of little bits of "business" and facial expressions.

Other than the standard flag waving, promising a brighter tomorrow, etc. that any candidate has to deliver — it's in their contracts — the best of her speech, or the portion of it I saw anyway, was negative. But in a good way. She took B. Hussein Obama to the woodshed and gave him a right thrashing.

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And it was fun, just different enough and clever enough that I wanted her to go into true outrageous mode. She may be the only candidate in our time who could pull off a line like that of Virginia Senator John Randolph (1733–1833), an eccentric boozehound, dueler, and champion of states' rights, who said
of an opponent: "Fellow-citizens, he is a man of splendid abilities, but utterly corrupt. Like rotten mackerel by moonlight, he shines and stinks."

It's been so long since we've seen a big-league candidate with stage presence and magnetism that we are entitled to whatever pleasure we can derive from it in this horrid campaign. But we her views are still almost as obscure as those of Mr. O himself. In any case, she is not running for president. Her firepower, for now, is in aid of that rotten mackerel John McCain, who doesn't shine, even by moonlight.

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4 comments:

teacher.paris said...

http://tinyurl.com/6qt3vv
ST. PAUL, Minn. | Sarah Palin displays an Israeli flag in her governor's office in Juneau, even though she has never been to the country, and attends Protestant evangelical churches that consider the preservation of the state of Israel a biblical imperative.

Her faith makes her a favorite with the staunchly pro-Israel neoconservative elements in the Republican Party.

But other Republicans may be concerned that a John McCain-Sarah Palin administration will disregard the caution of former President George H.W. Bush and some of his top advisers and continue the tilt toward Israel.

Most Republicans and conservatives outside Alaska know little about Mrs. Palin's foreign policy views - on Israel or anything else.

But Tucker Eskew, who holds the title of counselor to Mrs. Palin in the McCain-Palin campaign, left no doubt where she stands.

"She would describe herself as a strong supporter of Israel's, with an understanding of Israel's fear of an Iran in possession of nuclear weapons," Mr. Eskew told The Washington Times.

In June, Mrs. Palin told ministry students at her former church that in going to war with Iraq, the United States is "on a task that is from God," the Associated Press reported.

ziel said...

She did not say the U.S. is "on a task that is from God." From the Washington Post:
Switching to the war in Iraq, Palin told the group of students that they should not only pray for men and women in the military but to make sure the leaders of this country are sending U.S. soldiers "out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan."

The difference is not subtle, but it's illustrative of how the will to believe something about someone can cause otherwise literate people to completely misconstrue a simple statement.

Rick Darby said...

Teacher.paris,

Your computer skills are coming along nicely. You have learned to cut and paste. Keep up the good work.

Ziel,

Thanks for setting the record straight.

Terry Morris said...

Undoubtedly others who watched and listened to Sarah Palin's speech at the convention noticed that, while pausing for applause, she actually talks to herself, audibly, though in a low whisper.

The reason I mention it is that I noticed it early in her speech and began to listen more intently during the pauses to see what she was saying. Once I made out that she was preparing to give her next point. But on one occasion, and possibly two, I thought I heard her say "thank you Jesus."

As a Christian I don't have any problem with that per se, but your post brought it to mind and I thought I'd share it. I haven't mentioned it to anyone else other than my wife.

Nice post.