Thursday, September 11, 2008

She Didn't Cry

Well, she didn't cry. Consider her position: she finds herself suddenly at the center of a media firestorm, and many think her choice for this position was a huge mistake. There are claims she is completely unqualified as a candidate. There are claims she is a terrible mother, and there are all sorts of weird stories floating around the internet about her pregnancy, and about her daughter.

So you need to walk out into a convention hall, stand in the lights, in the full knowledge that there are millions of people watching, many of whom hope you embarrass yourself

She didn’t just do well. She did more than that. I've been following convention speeches since 1968, and there is no question that this was the best speech I've ever heard. I've heard Kennedy in 1980, Reagan in 1980, Cuomo in 1984, Jackson in 1988. I watched The One stride out of his temple, and add yet another speech to his series of Greatest Speeches Ever Made.

But guess what? Sarah, in her very first national appearance, facing pressure greater than Kennedy, Jackson, Cuomo, and Obama, beat them all. It isn’t just me. Look this poll. Democrats liked the speech better than Republicans liked Obama. Twice as many independents felt better about Sarah Palin after her speech than they did after Obama's.

She was poised and composed, and she showed no sign of even the slightest anxiety about what she was up against. She seemed completely unconcerned about the attacks made on her. In fact, she seemed to thrive on the challenge, and seemed as comfortable with an audience as Ronald Reagan.

So the election is, right now anyway, about Sarah Palin. As I predicted, Democrats can’t help but attack her, because of who she is. She is anti-abortion, conservative, religious, white, and happily married. She achieved success in athletics with no help from Title IX lawyers. She became the Governor of a state all on her own, putting the lie to assertions that there is some glass ceiling in politics for woman. She'll be attacked because of who she is. And because extreme leftists are motivated by hatred, not policy issues, the attacks on her will continue to be venomous and personal.

So right now the election is about Palin, and compared to her The One looks like yesterday's news. Sarah Palin has an opportunity that few politicians ever have - the chance to set the agenda for a national political movement. Some have compared her to Reagan or Thatcher, but claims like that are premature. She has an opportunity, but it takes a politician of unusual skills to move a nation. It takes more than speeches. It takes a combination of a personal story, the ability to communicate effectively and an agenda, and it isn’t clear what her agenda is, or if she even has one.

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