Highlights from the RNC in full throttle. With energy from after-burners fired from launching in the face of a lynching.
It was Sarah Palin’s night. No vice-presidential nominee in history
has faced this kind of pressure. All she had to do, pundits said, was
(in baseball terms), hit a single. Surprise, it was a home-run.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin came out swinging against her
critics, defending her nomination for vice president by portraying her
experience as governor as sufficient, her time as a small-town mayor as
an asset, and the attacks on her record as the work of an elitist media
and political establishment.
In remarks at the Republican convention Wednesday night, Gov. Palin
directly confronted a grueling barrage of accusations that she’s not
ready for the job.
In a bold affront that just about nobody expected – judging
from ’pre-game’ analysts – she took it straight to the Obama campaign.
“Here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and
commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion —
I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country,” she said.
She also seized the traditional mantle of vice-presidential
candidate, with sharp words for the opposition. In an obvious reference
to Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, she said: “In politics, there are some
candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are
those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.”
McCain couldn’t have found such a fearless running mate who could
engage in a ‘knife fight’ with a genuine smile, to take another line
from the ‘post game’ pundits.
Gov. Palin addressed the experience question head on,
speaking of her life story — mother, mayor, governor — and almost
challenging voters to dismiss small-town America if they were to
“I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town. I
was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I
wanted to make my kids’ public education better,” she said in the
“When I ran for city council, I didn’t need focus groups and voter
profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too.”
Where Democrats derided her background as a small-town mayor, she
replied that such experience gave her a feel for real Americans.
“Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of
my hometown,” she said.
“And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look
down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves.
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’
except that you have actual responsibilities.”
I’ve lost count of the people who have asked what a ‘community
organizer’ actually is or does, since that’s one of Sen. Obama’s
credentials for leadership. Palin answered that.
“When the cloud of rhetoric has passed … what exactly is
our opponent’s plan?” she asked. “What does he actually seek to
accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the
“The answer is to make government bigger, and take more of your
money, and give you more orders from Washington and to reduce the
strength of America in a dangerous world.”
“The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal
discovery,” Palin said. “In this world of threats and dangers, it’s not
just a community and it doesn’t just need an organizer.”
“There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought
for you in places where winning means survival and defeat means death,
and that man is John McCain,” Palin said. “It’s a long way from the
fear and pain and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval
Office. But if Sen. McCain is elected president, that is the journey he
will have made.”
Former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani set the stage for this challenge, clarifying the terms of the campaign.
Change is not a destination just as hope is not a strategy.
The subject is now the real deal. And who brings it.
Someone in the post-speech analysis said the challenge now is for
John McCain to equal this energy in his acceptance speech on Thursday.
There was some good advice embedded in remarks CNN analyst Alex Castellanos made before the evening’s speeches.
Last week, at the Democratic convention, we heard that
America is broken, and how they proposed that Washington would fix it.
This week at the Republic convention, we’re hearing that Washington is
broken, and how they propose new leaders would fix it.