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.

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Palin speech/GOP convention open thread

I won’t be watching in prime time, but I plan to watch the repeat of Sarah Palin’s speech on C-SPAN later. I expect her to bring the house down in St. Paul. Those delegates are her kind of Republican.

Chatter away about what you’ve seen and heard today. I will update later.

UPDATE: I hope John McCain runs his new Obama/Palin comparison ad in every swing state:

MSNBC’s First Read has already fact-checked this ad:

It’s important to note that there are a few misleading assertions in the ad. For one, the “Journal” that’s cited is the conservative and partisan Wall Street Journal editorial page. Two, to call Obama the Senate’s most liberal senator is dubious. (The charge comes from the National Journal ranking Obama as having the most liberal Senate voting record of 2007, but he was nowhere near the top in 2005 and 2006; it’s also worth noting that Obama missed many Senate votes in 2007, so that ranking is a bit skewed.) And three, the charge that Obama “gave big oil billions in subsidies and giveaways” is misleading. (According to nonpartisan fact-checkers, the 2005 energy bill the McCain camp is referring to actual resulted in a net tax INCREASE on oil companies.)

Speaking of fact checks, First Read notes that Mike Huckabee was wrong to assert in his RNC speech that Sarah Palin received more votes running for mayor of Wasilla than Joe Biden received running for president. First Read says nearly 80,000 Americans voted for Biden for president.

I suspect that estimate is low. Probably somewhere between 5 and 10 percent of Iowa Democrats stood up for Biden at their precinct caucuses, although he only ended up with 1 percent of the delegates because of the 15 percent viability threshold. Also, Biden was not on the ballot in Michigan, but presumably some of those “uncommitted” voters preferred him.

The Democratic National Committee launched a fun website called JustMoreoftheSame.com. Check it out.

SECOND UPDATE: Democratic bloggers seem divided on whether Palin gave a great speech (to the audience she was trying to reach) or whether she was boring.

Josh Marshall had this to say about Rudy:

You’ll notice that Rudy Giuliani apparently ran too long and they had to drop the Palin mini-movie that was supposed to introduce her speech. Normally people get fired for goofs like that. They didn’t want Rudy’s blood and iron speech the day after Gustav so they bumped it until tonight. Big mistake. He positively dripped with a kind of curdled anger, the origin of which is difficult to grasp. But he actually seemed to get angrier and angrier as the speech progressed — off chopping his hands around, baring his teeth. I know the people in the hall loved it. But I think a lot of people will see it as whacked. Rancid. Curdled. Palin’s speech ended up being much more partisan than I expected. But that was added to by the fact that she had to start her speech while the auditorium was still awash in the teeth-gnashing froth ginned up by Rudy’s speech.

THIRD UPDATE: I caught most of the repeat of Rudy’s speech. I cannot imagine that helped McCain with anyone but the most hard-core Republicans. Talk about mean-spirited. All those loud “boos” from the audience made the crowd seem mean as well. And it was surreal to see Hizzoner from New York make fun of Obama for being too cosmopolitan. I agree with RF–if millions of Americans caught that speech while tuning in to see Palin, Obama will benefit.

Also, it was bizarre to have the camera cutting to Cindy McCain holding baby Trig during Rudy’s speech. Most young infants don’t like being passed around and held by total strangers.

FOURTH UPDATE: Mr. desmoinesdem and I watched the repeat of Palin. She did a lot better than Rudy, obviously. I’m sure she generated a lot of enthusiasm among the GOP base. We have no idea how that speech sounded to a typical undecided voter. Some of her culture war language and criticism of Obama sounded a little petty to me, but I’m obviously not the target audience. She lied again about opposing the Bridge to Nowhere, but will she get called on that? The visuals at the end of her holding baby Trig with the rest of her family on stage were great.

I think Obama and Biden should ignore her and focus their fire on McCain.

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Christian conservatives in Iowa GOP snub Grassley

If you thought the deteriorating relations between Senator Chuck Grassley and evangelical Christians were just kabuki theater designed to make Grassley look more moderate than he is, maybe you should think again:

Evangelical Christians in Iowa, dominant in the state’s Republican Party, have denied Sen. Charles E. Grassley his request for a place on the state’s delegation to this summer’s Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn.

Mr. Grassley may attend the party’s Sept. 1-4 nominating convention in St. Paul, but not as a voting delegate.

With a majority of nine out of 17 members on the Iowa Republican central committee, religious conservatives made Iowa Christian Alliance President Steve Scheffler chairman of Iowa’s 40-member delegation in a vote immediately after their state party convention July 12.[…]

Mr. Grassley had said “yes” when asked by Iowa Republican Chairman Stewart Iverson if he wanted to be a voting delegate to the national convention, Mr. Iverson said.

Political observers in Iowa saw the move against Mr. Grassley as retribution for his having tangled with evangelical pastors in his state. He initiated a Senate Finance Committee investigation of six televangelists for conspicuous personal spending.

“That had nothing to with it at all,” Mr. Scheffler said Sunday. He said Mr. Grassley and the other members of the Iowa congressional delegation already had national convention floor privileges – meaning they could walk the floor but not vote.

Grassley’s office refused to comment when contacted by the Washington Times regarding this story. Staffers quoted in the Des Moines Register today downplayed the significance of what happened:

Beth Pellett Levine, Grassley’s press secretary, said Grassley won’t be a delegate, but he will attend the convention and will have floor access as a federal elected official.

She said Grassley, as well as Iowa’s two Republican congressmen, Reps. Steve King and Tom Latham, will not be delegates “in order to give additional Iowa Republicans the opportunity to participate in the floor proceedings and activities of the national party convention.”

Levine said that Grassley told state party leaders he would be a voting delegate if they wanted, “like he has previously, but the more Iowa Republicans who participate in the event the better, in his view.”

James Carstensen, a spokesman for Latham, said the congressman “never requested to be a voting delegate so as to allow more party activists to participate in the convention.” Aides to King, similarly, said he didn’t want to take a spot away from other delegates.

Columnist Robert Novak wrote on Saturday that “evangelicals and their allies” dominating the state convention in Iowa earlier this month “dumped their critic,” Grassley.

I don’t know how much this is retribution for Grassley’s investigation of the televangelists and how much is just Christian conservatives flexing their muscles after their power grab at the Iowa GOP state convention earlier this month.

Either way, it seems like quite a snub to a five-term U.S. senator, who has held a voting delegate slot at previous national Republican conventions.

The Republican Party doesn’t have superdelegates, so members of Congress do not automatically become voting delegates to the national convention. But you would think the party central committee would show some respect to the Republicans in Iowa’s Congressional delegation.

I don’t think anyone would mistake me for a big fan of Representative Leonard Boswell, but I’d never support denying him a vote at the Democratic national convention in Denver.

That said, I can’t say I’m too unhappy to see Iowa Republican leaders antagonizing Grassley. Maybe he will get irritated enough to retire rather than seek re-election in 2010. After all, Democrats seem poised to pick up at least four seats in the U.S. Senate this November, and perhaps as many as eight or nine.

In case anyone cares, I’ve put the full list of GOP delegates to the national convention after the jump. The two Republican elected statewide officials, Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey and Auditor David Vaudt, are delegates, as is Polk County Republican chairman and blogger Ted Sporer.

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