Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's speech

Most people have probably heard Gov. Palin's speech last night last night or at least seen highlights on the news. There has been a lot of buzz from various political figures and pundits but it seems that the majority of people saw it as a very effective speech (whether they agreed with the content or not). I personally thought it was an incredible first step into the presidential race. She did everything she needed to do; introduced the country to her and her family, explained her experience and her philosophy as a politician, and showed herself to be a capable vice presidential nominee that doesn't need to be coddled or protected.
As would be expected, the criticism from the left started pouring in as soon as the speech was over. What I saw was not in any way surprising and seemed to be just another symptom of democrats' memory problems. So let me address a few criticisms I thought were particularly amusing.
First, I have heard many complaints about Palin's attacks against Obama being potshots or below the belt. They try and paint Obama as the nice guy who has always taken the high road and shown respect for his opponents. Really?! So saying that McCain is trying to convince voters not the vote for him because he's black isn't a low blow and in fact an all out lie? Yet that is exactly what Obama did back in June. I guess the dems didn't remember that.
Second, many people (including Obama himself) have been saying that Palin and the republicans have been avoiding the issues because they don't have a plan. The fact that so many people buy into this kind of surprised me and is a bit depressing. Again we have the long term memory loss coming into play as people don't seem to recall McCain laying out his plans for a number of issues months ago. In fact this was well before Obama filled out his plans and he was criticized from both sides of the issues for not having positions. What is really depressing though is that people are too lazy to look up McCain's positions that he has laid out on his website. McCain's energy plan alone has been available for months and has been a lot more realistic and comprehensive than Obama's. But unfortunately, many people get the bulk of their news from the Daily Show and anyone who checks the Networks probably wouldn't have seen to much on McCain's plans since most of the news agencies have been too busy following Obama around and washing his feet with their hair.
Third, critics have stated that Palin's statements about Obama's job as a community organizer have insulted community organizers and the work they do. She in no way said that community organizers don't do great things. She simply pointed out that it is not the type of experience that makes you qualified to be the president of the united states. As someone who has worked in social services for years, I know the valuable and hard work that case managers, and community workers do but I am also realistic about our abilities and quite frankly I don't see these positions as qualifying me or anyone else for the presidency.
On that note let me touch on the experience issue briefly. The debate over who is more qualified, Palin or Obama has been a heated one. I personally am much more impressed with Sarah Palin than Obama, but it is not simply by stacking up accomplishments but by looking at how they have each used their potential. Obama is clearly an intelligent and exciting individual. He corrected the failing trajectory of his youth that included selling drugs to become a student at Harvard where he was head of the Harvard Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. He went on to do..well, very little. He was in a position to do incredible things but instead coasted on his "potential." Even in this campaign you see most Obama supporters speaking of his potential, not about his accomplishments. On the other hand, Sarah Palin started out with a degree in journalism from University of Idaho and worked her way up from PTA, to mayor, to Governor chalking up an impressive list of accomplishments along the way. Obama has had almost 20 years to live up to his potential. I really don't see that he has. Plus the fact that he started writing his first memoir just out of law school seems pretty presumptious to me. If you want to see this point better illustrated than I have here, check out this article.
I know that the media will be focusing on these points for the next couple of days, but I would like to point out something incredible that Sarah Palin did last night. In her speech she declared that she would be an advocate and a voice for people with disabilities in Washington. This was huge!!! Disability rights groups have been doing everything they can in order to get their issues addressed by politicians, both republican and democratic. The fact that even the "enlightened" liberals have ignored such a large population in this country that in most states can and often are thrown in institutions without any say, locked up, abused, overmedicated, and robbed of the freedoms that every other marginalized group have had for years is astounding. Sara Palin has taken up the mantle of George Bush Sr. who established the ADA and has promised to continue to give rights to many who can't speak for themselves. I think that Americans from any political persuasion should really take a moment and acknowledge that this was a noteworthy statement. And democrats should be worried. People with disabilities and those who know and care for them have often chosen democrats as the lesser of two evils. This may shift some people to the McCain ticket more than they realize.
Dan, 12:30 PM


I agree that the nod to disability advocacy may be very significant. Those with disabilities are commonly overlooked and the Dems don't have much to say to them seeing as how they see the disability as reason enough to end their life before (or shortly after for Obama) they were born.
It's like that awkward feeling you get around your friend's wife that knows you were always encouraging your friend to dump her while they were dating.
OK, I guess its not exactly the same, it would probably be even more awkward if you had been encouraging your friend to kill her before they got married.
Blogger Jason, at 3:31 PM  

Palin is a great communicator, which is something that the GOP has needed for years. Neither Bush was good at communication, W is one of the worst communicators we've ever had.

The big thing I've noticed is how young female voters have been energized. My wife and her friends could care less about politics. But Melisa is now paying attention and is excited about voting for McCain-Palin.
Blogger scottie, at 11:15 AM  

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