Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Sarah Palin's Speech

The inside-the-beltway pundit Peggy Noonan was caught after an appearance on MSNBC by a live mic saying, "It's over."

Noonan agrees with the conventional wisdom that Sarah Palin was such a disastrous choice that the election is over.

The election is over, but not in the way Noonan thinks. After Palin's electrifying speech tonight, I don't see how Obama/Biden can win. It's over.

Sarah Palin gave what I think is the greatest speech by a Republican since Ronald Reagan. (That's not saying too much, considering that neither Bush president was articulate.) She was poised and powerful, and at the same time feminine and funny.

The reception at the beginning was intense, and I think it was as much a reaction to the outrageous character assassination she has undergone in the last few days from the media as it was a reaction to Sarah Palin. She has been subjected to injustice; the applause for her when she walked onstage was an act of justice, a show of moral support to one who has been subject to smears.

She praised small government and strong defense. In fact the entire night was a much better message than the first night's message of service. Tonight the placards read "Prosperity," an old-fashioned idea in this age when both parties promise greater servitude and sacrifice. (Did they check with the Environmental Protection Agency to make sure it's all right to advocate humans making their lives better? Is that still legal in America?) Tonight it was almost as if the GOP sensed it better get back to its basic principles of small government and strong defense to reassure the base.

All the speeches were good. In fact, the Republicans almost got me. There were moments when I thought I'd join Rob Tracinski and support McCain (as Tracinski certainly will do, if he has not yet).

One of the highlights of the night was Rudy Giuliani actually mentioning Islamic terrorists. As he noted, the Democrats were terrified to speak these words.

All the attacks on Obama were spot on and entirely fair. Obama has said he will be attacked by Republicans because he doesn't look like the presidents on our currency. He wishes! He was attacked tonight on things he has said, his flip-flops and his thin record.

Obama's response to the speech could not have been weaker:

“The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush’s speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we’ve heard from George Bush for the last eight years. If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define ‘change’ as voting with George Bush 90% of the time, that’s their choice, but we don’t think the American people are ready to take a 10% chance on change,” said Bill Burton, Obama Campaign Spokesman.

Huh? Are you kidding me? First, it sounded nothing like a Bush speech. Second, Bush has never been divisive or partisan, but has sought to compromise with Democrats. This response is out of touch with reality. It's the kind of nonsense that liberals tell one another at Daily Kos or Democratic Underground. If Obama wants to communicate with the two thirds of America that are not part of the Democrat base, he needs to get out of the liberal cocoon.

Alas, the tragic contradictions in the Republican Party bring me back to Earth. Watch this speech Palin gave in an Assembly of God church, and you'll see that the woman has some insane mystical ideas. She thinks the war in Iraq is a task from God (our enemies would agree with her). Worse, she believes, if she agrees with her pastor, that Alaska will be a "refuge state" in the Last Days. Doubtless these people will see her ascendance to the national ticket as the will of God. 40 years ago we would have associated such ideas with some inbred freak show in the south, complete with snakes and talking in tongues; today it's mainstream America, good enough for the Governor of Alaska.

Another thing that bothers me about those clips of her in church is the way she talks. She says, "this is so cool," "freaks me out," "awesome," and so on. Yes, I will sound like an elitist here, but I like our political leaders to sound more intelligent than Britney Spears. This furthers my impression that Palin is very much a "common man," with no understanding of economics, political theory or philosophy. In a way that is good -- she is not infected with the Marxist or New Leftist ideas that animate Obama; but in a way her ignorance is a disaster. Ignorance of Ayn Rand and Ludwig von Mises will lead to politics as usual, regardless of her mission as a reformer.

Palin said in her speech that she would challenge the status quo, but she can't do it. She will fail because she has no intellectual ammunition. She will do exactly as much as Al Gore did "reinventing government." She'll be on the lookout for corruption -- all reformers are against corruption -- but she won't dismantle the Department of Energy. She won't privatize Social Security. She won't repeal a single damned law. As an advocate for "special needs babies," she will likely increase the nanny state and spend more of the taxpayers' dollars.

Worse, Palin lumps in "taking on" the establishment and the "old boys network" with oil companies. She does not understand that there is a categorical difference between attacking politicians and attacking big business. And the more she agrees with her religion's ethics of altruism, the more she will attack "greedy corporations."

Both Sarah Palin and Barack Obama, politicians in their 40's, are emblematic of the kind of leaders America now produces. The Republican is a Christian go getter who talks like the girl next door and the Democrat is a man of mixed race who considers himself a "blank screen" to reflect back to people what they want to see.

Get used to them. They're the future.


david said...

True, she's not perfect -- but don't you think that she is more likely to do Good than Bad compared to her opponents?

I have confidence - not rock solid, but a lot - that her "reality-based" worldview will usually triumph over her religion/mysticism.

And whatever errors she might make, they will be far less disastrous than errors that Obama/Biden might make.

Overall: I'm sold -- I was a lukewarm McCain supporter, but his selection of Palin seems to be almost a throwing down of the gauntlet, a big thumb in the eye of traditional Beltway politicians and business.

I'm optimistic. Cautiously.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin is a person who believes that God has put her on the national stage to take America into the last days of the End Times. Scratch beneath the surface of this speech, and you will hear the faint drumbeat of the current administration suspending the election in November and simply staying in power. WAKE UP!


david said...

Oh geez...another "suspend the election!" conspiracy nut.

Where's the requisite "Bush is gonna bomb Iran!" rant to accompany the insanity?

Don't those people have LIVES?

Myrhaf said...

Ayn Rand explained conspiracy theorists almost 50 years ago when she said the John Birch Society does not understand the role of philosophy in man's life, so they see conspiracies everywhere.

Myrhaf said...

David... I don't know. There were times tonight when I did think the Republicans have to be better than the nihilist, radical left-wing Democrats.

But I keep coming back to one thought: if you must choose between killers, don't you want to pick the one that is likely to be the least competent? Obama is a joke. Democrats in general are a joke. Look at Carter and Clinton: buffoons on parade. Republicans, on the other hand, know how to get things done.

My thinking at present is that Obama would get less done than McCain. And the Republicans would scream "socialism!" every step of the way.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

Well, Myrhaf, you didn't disappointment me. I came over expecting you to intellectualize and criticize and was surprised by the first half your post but not by the last part. I sometimes wonder if you live in America or a museum.

Myrhaf said...

Yes, I do intellectualize and criticize. Is that now considered a bad thing in America?

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

No, but you do also tend to revere the dead Ayn Rand (a lot like Christians worship the dead Jesus.) The dead are only perfect because they are static and Rand and Jesus were pretty imperfect humans while they were alive.

Nothing wrong in being a critic (we need them) but there's a balance. Palin will never come up to your high intellectual standards but I doubt if any mortal will - especially if they're politicians.

Myrhaf said...

At least we have evidence that Ayn Rand, unlike the mythical character called Jesus, actually existed.

But seriously, I don't revere Ayn Rand the way Christians revere Jesus because my admiration is based in reason, whereas theirs is based in faith. I integrate her ideas with the experience of reality I have perceived with my senses. I have found Objectivism to be, as advertised, a philosophy for living on Earth.

Not all politicians are ignorant of economics like McCain and Palin. Gramm and Armey have both been professors of economics, I believe, and know more than I do about it.

Like most Republicans, Palin is a mixed bag with some good things and some bad things. The challenge is in sorting it all out and figuring out if the bad outweighs the good. For instance, some Republicans hold religion as a kind of "church on Sunday" thing, but are not consumed with it; I would say Reagan was like this. Others, such as Brownback and Huckabee, are seriously religious.

Patrick Joubert Conlon said...

I understand, Myrhaf. I was just teasing you. But there's the question of practical politics, Gramm and Armey are probably unelectable - no charisma. Hopefully Mac will hire serious economists like Gramm.

Dismuke said...

The Obama campaign responded:

“The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush’s speechwriter....."

Yes, obviously a bumpkin like Palin - you know, the kind of person who drinks the sort of coffee served in truck stops and gas stations - is only capable of delivering a speech written by someone else. This from the campaign of a presidential candidate who is a a TOTAL low watt bulb and finds himself in deep deep doo doo every time he has to speak without a teleprompter feeding him words written by someone else. This from the campaign which picked JOE BIDEN of all people to be Vice President - Joe Biden, the guy who had to drop out of a presidential run because he not only plagiarized a speech of the Labor Party Socialist Neil Kinnock but also plagiarized Kinnock's biography.

These are the people - you know, the Beautiful People who NEVER drink the sort of coffee served in truck stops and gas stations - who are supposed to be superior to and more sophisticated than the rest of us backward bumpkins.

And observe how the Walter Duranty Media is so completely consumed by who Palin's under aged daughter, who will have NOTHING to do with any policy matters at all, hangs around with and sleeps with. But the same Useful Idiots are completely silent and couldn't give a damn about the fact that the candidate for PRESIDENT hangs around with and is best buddies with a couple of bomb throwing Weather Underground Terrorists.

Chuck said...

"My thinking at present is that Obama would get less done than McCain. And the Republicans would scream "socialism!" every step of the way."

I don't understand that line of thought. If Obama is elected, the Democrats will control Congress and the White House, therefore he should be able to get *more* done than a Republican, who would face an antagonistic Congress.

And while McCain-Palin may be more competent, I don't think they would kill this nation more quickly than the Democrats. Just as surely, but not as quickly, in my view. Republicans ultimately cave in to every statist thing the Democrats want, but more slowly. Not more quickly.

And on national defense, though they are weak and compromising to an embarassing degree, Republicans are certainly better - that is, slower to kill us - than the Democrats.

I don't know if I can vote for McCain-Palin, because of their religious and environmentalist beliefs. But I do know I will not vote for any Democrat, as they are presently constituted. Direct hatred of America is too much for me to stomach.

Elliot said...

For what it's worth, Peggy Noonan claims she was misquoted. She writes: "I do not think the campaign is over, I do not think this is settled, and did not suggest, back to the Todd-Murphy conversation, that 'It's over.'"

RyanTheEgoist said...

I empathize with your preference to last night's RNC. It was, if looked at isolated from all other realities, a decent political rally, criticizing government. However, taken with the reality of things, the Republicans have expanded the government in the past 8 years more than any other Democrat ever has, except maybe FDR.
Huckabee's a Religious zombie, Romney is a liberal in disguise, Giuliani has lost much of his credibility in my book. The Republicans have added to their platform that global warming is real, man-made and needs to be dealt with.

So I guess tonight's theme will be " Smaller Government, except ya know, not ".

Billy Beck said...

"I understand, Myrhaf. I was just teasing you."

I have a suggestion for you: don't fucking do that.

This stuff is way too serious, and it's the easiest thing in the world for a serious person to ignore someone like you.

Myrhaf: I've been tripping aorund the 'net and I just hate how many people I can respect are raving about this woman.

You guys are grading this culture on a curve, and that's a big, big mistake.

mike18xx said...

"...if you must choose between killers, don't you want to pick the one that is likely to be the least competent? Obama is a joke."

Obama is just a dopey figurehead. If he wins, Weather Underground bomber Ayers and the commie cabal are running his circus. Expect the socialist legislation to deluge in an avalanche the moment he's sworn in.

Valda Redfern said...

"If Obama is elected, the Democrats will control Congress and the White House, therefore he should be able to get *more* done than a Republican, who would face an antagonistic Congress." You can't get things done unless you know what to do. I don't think Obama has a clue what to do, which is his best quality. McCain/Palin do know what to do: make Americans be good, according to the principles of religion. If they win, we have less time.

IchorFigure said...

I noticed in her speech last night how she (paraphrasing) "broke up [the oil company in her state] monopoly". I'd be curious about the details involved, like what company, and what made her consider it a "monopoly".

Chuck said...

"You can't get things done unless you know what to do. I don't think Obama has a clue what to do, which is his best quality. McCain/Palin do know what to do: make Americans be good, according to the principles of religion. If they win, we have less time."

Well, first of all, I don't really agree that he doesn't have a clue. I think he talks vaguely as a tactic to get elected, but has definite socialist plans, and anti-national defense plans, ready to be implemented with a compliant Congress.

And second, you do not just elect a President. You also get all his advisers. Are all his advisers clueless too, in the sense of having no plans on what to do once they take over the White House? I think they've got plenty of plans, all of them bad.

The Democrats are the steeper angle of descent.

mike18xx said...

You can't get things done unless you know what to do. I don't think Obama has a clue what to do....

Valda, I see in my previous comment that he was a "figurehead" -- that means he's managed by someone else.

-- What do you think he was doing in Ayers' house in ye olde Chicago?

Shran said...

Republicans seem to integrate the inherent contradiction of rugged, determined, up-by-your-own bootstraps self-reliance and non-self-interested altruistic service to others. I think they do this by identifying the difference between wholly innocent misfortune, e.g. a birth defect or a victim of child abuse, as opposed to peristent, willful sloth or self-destructive behavior. They are willing to extend a helping hand to those in need through no fault of their own. As a purely socially pragmatic consideration, they see the exercise of economic compassion as a necessary complement to the exercise of free-market capitalism. We can argue the philosophy of man's rights all day long, but there it is.

Like it or not, politics is inherently a social phenomenon, which means that the elected leaders represent the best available compromise of the collective thinking of the electorate. Although I'm intellectually an atheist and an Objectivist, I'm also pragmatic enough to understand that my worldview will never, ever become a majority opinion in this country. I take comfort in my belief that for those who are religious, way deep down in their psyches somewhere reality trumps mysticism. When push comes to shove, I believe they will set aside mysticism and act rationally.

Therefore I am willing to accept a presidential ticket that forsakes allegiance to certain social liberties on religious grounds, yet advances the cause of free enterprise, which is the root of all liberty. When I hear John McCain say things like he will stop the politics of selfishness and put country first, I think he means he will stop the Jim Taggarts of the world from using the politics of pull to gain economic advantage at the expense of free market principles. The linkage between monied interests and political favors has to be broken to preserve capitalism in this country, and John McCain is our best bet to achieve that goal.