A few good links on Palin and her speech

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.

Marc Ambinder thinks Palin may have just made Barack Obama “yesterday’s news”:

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.

[desmoinesdem] —

I wasn’t planning on sending you something tonight. But if you saw what I saw from the Republican convention, you know that it demands a response.

I saw John McCain’s attack squad of negative, cynical politicians. They lied about Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and they attacked you for being a part of this campaign.

But worst of all — and this deserves to be noted — they insulted the very idea that ordinary people have a role to play in our political process.

You know that despite what John McCain and his attack squad say, everyday people have the power to build something extraordinary when we come together. Make a donation of $5 or more right now to remind them.

Both Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin specifically mocked Barack’s experience as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago more than two decades ago, where he worked with people who had lost jobs and been left behind when the local steel plants closed.

Let’s clarify something for them right now.

Community organizing is how ordinary people respond to out-of-touch politicians and their failed policies.

And it’s no surprise that, after eight years of George Bush, millions of people have found that by coming together in their local communities they can change the course of history. That promise is what our campaign has been about from the beginning.

Throughout our history, ordinary people have made good on America’s promise by organizing for change from the bottom up. Community organizing is the foundation of the civil rights movement, the women’s suffrage movement, labor rights, and the 40-hour workweek. And it’s happening today in church basements and community centers and living rooms across America.

Meanwhile, we still haven’t gotten a single idea during the entire Republican convention about the economy and how to lift a middle class so harmed by the Bush-McCain policies.

It’s now clear that John McCain’s campaign has decided that desperate lies and personal attacks — on Barack Obama and on you — are the only way they can earn a third term for the Bush policies that McCain has supported more than 90 percent of the time.

But you can send a crystal clear message.

Enough is enough. Make your voice heard loud and clear by making a $5 donation right now:


Thank you for joining more than 2 million ordinary Americans who refuse to be silenced.


David Plouffe

Campaign Manager

Obama for America

  • I just took a phone call

    from a woman in my precinct asking how she could help.  She was so disgusted and angry about the hateful negativity she saw last night that, even though she stays home with her two small children and loathes making phone calls/canvassing, she’s going to do it because, in her words, “I can’t afford not to.”

    Talk about energizing the base, Palin might have done it for the Repubs, but I suspect she might have helped with a lot of Democrats too.

    • is this someone who was already on board

      to vote for Obama, but just hadn’t volunteered before?

      Good for her. It’s not easy to squeeze volunteering in with mothering two small kids.

      If she hates phone banking and canvassing, check with your field organizer about other ways this woman could help. Maybe bringing in home-cooked food for the phone bankers, or helping sort packets for the door-knockers?

      • She helped pre-caucus

        but wasn’t planning to do much other than the odd data entry between now and November.  Palin got her fired up, though, and she’s even considering seeing if her mother can come visit during the week before the election so she can put in some serious volunteer hours.

        Good suggestions on the alternate volunteer options.  I’ll have to talk with her about those.  A dear elderly neighbor of mine who has been buying and passing along Obama’s books to people across Des Moines for almost two years is restricted in what she can do by health issues, but she’s “adopted” a young field organizer, brings him goodies, and does his laundry once a week.  I think it’s adorable.

        • that kind of help is so appreciated

          I forgot to mention things like putting up a field organizer or even doing laundry.

          A lot of people need to know that they can volunteer without going out there knocking on strangers’ doors or calling strangers on the phone. Everyone has a different comfort level.

    • energizing

      I think you might be right about energizing the democrats. For the first time today, I actually gave money to Obama. I canvassed tonight too. Several of the people I talked to were fired up for Obama because of Palin. I think we needed it too. It’s been a long, long election.  

  • Palin

    She is good. I can see why McCain picked her. That said, her speech contained a lot of inaccurate statements that need to be challenged. I believe that the response of the democrats will have as much impact on how her speech affects the vote as do the republicans. When we make a comment, I think that we must ALWAYS ask ourselves if we would make the same comment if she were male.

    If she were a male politician would we say, “Hey wait a minute, at first you wanted the bridge to nowhere, and then after you changed your mind you still kept the money”? Absolutely we would, and we should with Palin. But if she were a male politician would we say she was “shrill.” Nope, so we shouldn’t say it about Palin. There are plenty of angles to challenge her without reverting to gender roll stereotypes, but McCain is hoping we will skip the legitimate critiques and go after sexist ones.

    I hope that UrbandaleforObama is right. I hope it does energize the democrats. Let’s just be careful not to fall into McCain’s trap.

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