Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Morning After

Making the point: Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin captured the
attention of voters with her speech at the GOP convention
last night...and more than a few of the delegates' hearts.

If you've read your newspaper, watched TV news, listened to the radio or perhaps even chatted with your neighbor today, some mention of Sarah Palin's speech at the GOP convention last night probably found its way into your life.

The general consensus, even among a good number of people who still don't think she's qualified to be vice president, was that she exceeded expectations, established a real presence on the national stage and managed to get a lot of people interested in the GOP ticket that might not have been otherwise.

A sampling of reactions:

  • Typically unfriendly-to-conservatives Tom Shales over at The Washington Post: "Nobody could watch that speech and still consider her a joke, no matter how flimsy her credentials and qualifications may seem on paper. The joke, it seems, is on those who'd been laughing at her. Last night the laughing ended — and the cheering began."
  • Andrew Coyne at Canada's Macleans: "[The speech] was that good. No, she’s not qualified, and the substance was thin, but my God — that was perhaps the greatest bit of political theatre I have ever witnessed. Her critics in the media and in the opposition may regret having piled on quite so enthusiastically, and with so little heed for who they hurt — or angered. Watching the tumultuous, ecstatic reaction in the hall, I was reminded of the famous words of the Admiral Yamamoto after Pearl Harbour: 'I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant, and fill him with a terrible resolve.'"
  • Larry Kudlow over at National Review Online's The Corner: "Watching her phenomenal communication skill, and her disciplined yet positive style, I can't help but be optimistic. In part because she herself is clearly an optimist. I'm a sucker for optimism. Lord knows this country, and the GOP, needs it. Sarah America. I like it."
  • Jim Sleeper writes at Talking Points Memo: "[I]f you didn't sense last night how deeply Sarah Palin channeled some of the country's deepest, most powerful currents of pent-up indignation and yearning, you don't sense the trouble we Democrats are in. Rhetorically, she was the anti-Obama,. She was stirring precisely because she was so artless, matter-of fact, and "American" -- with no cadences or grand, historic resonances, but with plenty of mother wit and shrewdness. Credit her as much as the speechwriters."
  • John Batchelor took this view: "For drama, for performance, for style, certainly for all the spontaneous smiling, this was the pay-off for a storybook rise of a new American phenomenon. She is striking; she is relaxed; she enjoys the role of hockey mom and the role of campaign attacker. She did seem to spring on her toes to state more than once that her opponent is a "community organizer," adding, in the first instance, that her role as mayor of small town Wasilla was like a community organizer with "responsibilities." She enjoys the jab and the barb. She likes laugh line attacks. She has a nascent sit-com style, ready to deliver the same line again and again to get the right audience reaction."
  • Michael Crowley over at The New Republic's "The Stump": Several moderate --Democrat friends of mine have been emailing—few if any would ever vote for McCain -- but all agree that Palin was very strong. The more liberal among them are a little panicked. I completely misjudged how negative she would be. Her lines about Obama were brutally cutting and possibly over the top in places. But she's a far better messenger than an angry white man."
  • Fergus Shanahan at England's The Sun: "Sarah Palin's sensational performance at the Republican Party Convention may turn out to be the tipping point of this rollercoaster American election. Obama fans hoping she would fluff her big night were in for a nasty shock. This speech has turned the election upside down. It was simply stunning."
Extra: Palin was the star last night -- even among party stalwarts/stars like Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney and Rudy Giuliani -- but tonight will be another Big Moment...McCain's acceptance speech. Palin's speech last night -- and the subsequent excitement over it -- will be a tough act to follow.

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