I really have no idea how Alaska Governor Sarah Palin went over last night with voters who are not already strongly committed Republicans. I will reserve judgment until we see the next round of polls from must-hold states for John McCain, such as Ohio, Virginia and Colorado.
Huffington Post reported on the reaction from focus groups of married and unmarried supporters of Hillary Clinton. I recommend reading the whole article, but here’s an excerpt:
First, women in both groups were impressed with Palin’s speaking ability and poise. But they were hardly convinced that she was qualified to be vice president, or that she truly represented the “change” they were looking for, especially in light of what was deemed an overly harsh “sarcasm” pervading her address. […]
In the “married” group, when one attendee kicked off the discussion by saying “she’s a good speaker, and a crowd pleaser,” the rest of the room articulated their agreement. “I didn’t expect to be as impressed as I was,” said another respondent. But then another woman added: “Once she started mudslinging, I thought, it’s the same old crap as other politicians. McCain used her to get the women’s vote. And she’s using McCain.”
“Thank you,” another woman responded. “That really upset me; there was no need for that. It was snippy.”
The unmarried group also voiced similar objections to the harsh, partisan edge of Palin’s remarks. “I’m not impressed with her at all as a person,” one said, citing her “finger pointing” and general sarcasm after the group had generally agreed that she was a talented public speaker.
Natasha Chart, who grew up in a conservative, religious family, posted a fascinating commentary on last night’s proceedings at MyDD, complete with King James Bible quotations. She notes that
Jesus didn’t ask the faithful to give good speeches. He didn’t ask of them that they should be from small towns, or some certain geographic region. He asked that they do something real, something material, to lighten the loads of their fellow travelers in this life.
Sarah Palin is, quite simply, the celebrity of September. Interest in her will be enormous. Just as Democrats painted on Barack Obama’s blank canvass in January and February of 2007, Republicans and independents will get the chance to fill in their view of Gov. Palin. She’s the new thing. The object of curiosity. The press and the larger media will obsess over her and her family and her life.
TruthMatters thinks the Republicans lost a huge opportunity when they cut the biographical video on Palin out of last night’s program:
First they lead into her with Romney and Rudy, basically putting the country on notice, We Are Republicans And We Mean Business.
They GOP is basically telling us now, that the culture wars are back and they mean it.
Then they go into the prime time hour, the thing millions of American’s are going to see, is nothing but Rudy and Palin non-stop attacking democrats and anyone who is NOT a Republican.
And Rudy really screwed it up, because he ran long and they didn’t play her video. Her Video was suppose to make America fall in love with her, anyone remember, Michelle’s, Hillary’s, Joes, and Obama’s from last week? They NEEDED that video tonight to introduce her, espeically if this was how she was going to come out. She gave no substance, nothing but attacks, she showed us she was a hard right Republican, and she means business.
Now her base loved it. she is getting rave reviews from the right. This from redstate.com says it all “Sarah Palin. An Amazing, Historic, Epic Win.” but here is the problem. In their sheer hubris is all I can say, they seem to think that they are still the majority in this country. What they are ignoring is they are turning off every non-republican in this country. Since the convention and Sarah’s introduction, Obama has taken the lead in independents and increased his Democratic numbers.
The GOP has seem to have forgotten that Sarah was suppose to reach out to independents and the frustrated Hillary supporters, because there aren’t enough GOP voters anymore their party numbers are down. but instead they are now stuck with the 2004 strategy of excite the base and get out to vote.
For a “real vetting roundup” on Palin, read this post by georgia10.
Kos notes that the Republican convention is drawing fewer television viewers than the GOP convention four years ago and a far smaller audience than the Democratic convention drew last week. CORRECTION: the latest ratings show Palin drew almost as large an audience last night as Obama did last Thursday.
I still think selecting Palin was a huge mistake for McCain, whose main talking point against Obama was that he lacked sufficient experience to lead.
Also, give me a break from the talking point about Palin having “more executive experience than Obama and Biden combined,” as if Obama and Biden’s in-depth knowledge and experience crafting federal policy is worth less than being a small-town mayor and serving half a term as governor.
Watch this great clip from last night’s Daily Show, which juxtaposes Karl Rove on Palin’s tremendous experience with what Rove said about Virginia Governor Tim Kaine a few weeks ago. Kaine has served as governor for longer than Palin, managing a state much larger than Alaska. Before that Kaine was lieutenant governor of Virginia, and before that he was mayor of Richmond, a much larger city than Wasilla, Alaska. Jon Stewart noted that “Karl Rove is bitterly divided on the experience issue.”
After the jump I have posted the text of a mass e-mail from Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe. He specifically takes Palin and Rudy Giuliani to task for mocking Obama’s experience as a community organizer. That was certainly one of the low points of Palin’s speech, in my opinion. At least George H.W. Bush pretended to value community activists (“1000 points of light”) twenty years ago.
UPDATE: For the full text of Palin’s speech, click here.
Small-town native Mike Lux had this reaction:
while I appreciated Sarah Palin’s tribute to small-town values at one point in her speech, the values she exhibited in the rest of the speech were not the ones I recognized from the small towns I know. […]
The Sarah Palin I saw last night had a mean streak a mile wide. If me or my brothers and sisters would have been as sarcastic and demeaning to someone as Sarah Palin was last night, my mom would have sent us to our room. I know that Palin was just trying to be funny when she compared herself to a pit bull, but she was just about as nasty as one, and in the dog-loving families I know from small-town America, people generally prefer dogs that will play well with kids and neighbors. And the community organizers that Palin made so much fun of [are] the folks who organized the potluck suppers at church and the Lions Club charities, the ones who really made those small towns go.
Lux should understand that when Palin made fun of community organizers, she wasn’t talking about people who run church potlucks in small towns. I tend to agree with billmon:
Used the way the GOP speakers used the words tonight (i.e. with a sneer), community = ghetto and organizer = activist.
It essentially was a coded way of pointing out Obama’s work in, with and for the black community (see? even I’m doing it) on the South Side of Chicago. Also the fact that his work involved helping low-income people stand up for their legal rights, as opposed to a GOP-sanctioned “real” job like business owner or career military officer (or moose hunter.) They were trying to put Obama back on the same level as Jesse Jackson — i.e., the black protest candidate — and mocking him for it.