Gov. Sarah Palin is Certainly an Orator
Gov. Sarah Palin delivered an excellent speech this evening. I mean that. I mean that very truly, and very literally. This address was efficient at showing she has a body of work (albeit small), puts John McCain back in the limelight (as he should be), and shows she's competent enough for the job.
As she discussed energy policy, she spoke at length about various nations and their relations to the United States with oil trade, showing she "has knowledge" about foreign trade and policy. She showed she is open to other alternative energy sources. She also somehow showed she was a magical oil prospector by stating with certainty that there's enough oil in Alaska to save America without doing any actual drilling there, yet.
She spoke at length about the record of John McCain as a senator in relation to "her opponent" (more on this later) and rebranded him as the maverick America thought he was in 2000, which pales in comparison to the conservative panderer he's been in this campaign.
She compared herself to the average American with average American problems and painted the Democratic party as elitists, which played well with the crowd and could work on the national level. It's not like there isn't some validity in it. But what's disconcerting is that she played America as though it were a collection of small towns instead of a nation. While many in the media and her opposition feel that her background doesn't reflect the expertise to lead the nation, she rebuked this at length. It seemed appropriate, but America isn't a small town, as much as we like to think we are. Thornton Wilder wasn't exactly writing Our Town with the idea that it represented a place that threatens Russia for using excessive force or needs to find some other place to put the mill because the neighboring town is fighting for the river.
But what bothered me the most, while I know what she was doing, was not referring to Sen. Obama by name. She called out Joe Biden. She even called out Majority Leader Harry Reid. But she just wouldn't give credence to Barack Obama. It's clear that even uttering his name gives him attention, but he should have attention: he's the other candidate. But saying his name also still draws attention to the fact that they're both young and relatively inexperienced. She could only hold off that claim so much and mentioning Obama wouldn't have helped that situation. Still, I'm reminded of an episode of The West Wing in which Jed Bartlett was running for president the first time and had complaints about his staff recommending he not refer to his opponent by name. He thought it would make him look dotty and aloof. While Palin was successful in looking relatively competent, she still had an aura of not being all the way there.
And this is why I believe Sarah Palin "delivered" a great speech instead of "gave" a great speech. She proved she knows her way around a teleprompter, something Sen. McCain still needs work on and has very little time to learn that lesson. She proved she has an excellent speechwriter who can write for the big leagues and knows how to accentuate points well. This person knows the rule of three, comparisons, proper omission, and how to present the right evidence (while ignoring the evidence that doesn't necessarily help). Obama has been painted as elitist, epic and flashy without substance, and largely ignorant and irrelevant. For this, I praise Gov. Palin's staff and especially her speechwriter. But I still feel that due to her lack of experience and age, she doesn't know what she's talking about.
What leads me to believe this is her specificity. She has too much going on in a speech like this. Sure, Sen. Obama is extremely vague and his speeches make him sound like a messianic Santa Claus (and any Christian who knows me may smack me around a bit for that juxtaposition right there) but I can trust his vagueness. He really isn't all that qualified, but I have faith enough that he would be capable of knowing how to govern on his own. Gov. Palin seems to be a spectator in all of this. She can deliver a speech of facts and plans in which she had no part because nothing in her experience prepared her for this. Someone is pulling strings here and I find that highly troubling.
John McCain is old but capable, but he panders to his base too much in his later years. This could be to the detriment to the nation that really looks to a nation beyond partisanship. I recall McCain on Meet the Press years ago saying he wouldn't become an Independent because his is the party of Lincoln. Now it's the neo-conservative party of Reagan and he is transforming himself to appeal to these people. They are divisive and they are in some ways destructive. Now they have a head cheerleader running for vice president and she seems to know well enough to do as she's told.
Frankly, I find tonight just a little bit frightening at how well it went all because I could see behind this ruse. Hopefully others would see this with me.