The Democrat(ic) party and their downfield blockers in the Mainstream Media have been thrashing about like a carp on the floorboards of my old man's 1950 Ford pick-up truck in their desperation to marginalize (a liberal word) our Sarah Barracuda.
The Republican vice presidential nominee is completely outside their playbook: a true blue-collar hockey mom, elected chief executive of the Last Frontier - secure in her faith, expert in public policy, comfortable in high heels - who, as Fred Thompson so memorably noted, "can properly field dress a moose."
First the Democrats said Sarah Palin was Dan Quayle - a not ready for prime-time player who would freeze up when caught in the glare of the spotlight. Dan Quayle was better than his reputation but just didn't know how to fight back. This lady gives better than she takes. Alaska's governor proved a game-changer when she rocked the house in her vice presidential acceptance speech Wednesday.
"Just as BarackObama's 2004 convention speech transformed his career, Palin's speech has the potential to transform the dynamic of this race," wrote the on-line Politico. [How Palin Changed the Race]
Then Sarah Palin was Tom Eagleton, not properly vetted, with her own set of jumper cables in the closet. The Left thought they had their kill shot: The out-of-wedlock pregnancy of eldest daughter Bristol, age 17. So much for teaching abstinence, ha ha. But Sarah Barracuda did not retreat. Far from it.
"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. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people."
The N.Y. Times' Maureen Dowd equated Sarah with TV's Murphy Brown, the character played by Candice Bergen who infamously decided to raise a child without benefit of a father - to the deserved derision of the Right. The feminist canon held that men and father-figures were as useless as bicycles to a fish.
If Bristol had bleated into microphone her intention "to kill this little parasite growing inside me" she would have elicited the elation of the Democrat(ic) convention in Denver. Unlike its nominee, this mature 17-year-old does know when life begins.
Yes, sometimes we make mistakes. The real issue is taking responsibility with the support of a loving family. Some smart convention stagecraft underlined the reality.
Throughout the evening, Palin's daughter Bristol and Bristol's fiancé Levi sat in the front row, the focus of a thousand cameras and 40 million attitudes, holding hands, hanging tough ... [Sarah Palin's breakout night, Time]
Madison's own nattering nabob
These slanders did not work so here comes John Nichols of the Capital Times ever-willing to channel Tailgunner Joe McCarthy. Sarah is - get a load of this - Spiro Agnew.
When Maryland Gov. Spiro T. Agnew hit the campaign trail, he did so as "Nixon's Nixon" - the attack dog the party needed to take the opposition apart while making the Republican presidential nominee look presidential.
It was the same role that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin assumed Wednesday night at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
... there is a Spiro Agnew, and her name is Sarah Palin. [Palin Did a Full Agnew]
At long last, have you no decency, John? Of course, Nichols intends every brush stroke of this smear. His malice aforethought is to paint the picture of a criminal (Agnew) serving as vice president to a crook (Nixon). This would be an embarrassingly inapt and inept analogy if John Nichols were capable of shame. Sarah Palin, who blew the whistle on two fellow Republicans in her home state, resulting in fines and convictions, who took on an incumbent governor in the primary and won? That Spiro Agnew?
For another thing, they sound nothing alike. Could Sarah Palin do "nattering nabobs of negativity"? Did old Spiro speak love letters to his spouse as Sarah did Wednesday night: "We met in high school, and two decades and five children later he's still my guy." [Watch the speech]
In many ways, that was the best line of her speech. Where have we seen more love of family? Maybe the Fords. Certainly Nancy and Ronnie.
If you're searching for Sarah Palin's alter-ego, try Erin Brockovitch, the whistle-blower played by Julia Roberts in the movie. (I wish I could claim credit for that analogy; the identity of its author escapes me.) The truth is, Sarah Palin is an American original. There are thousands like her in every community but never until this week on the national political stage.
Or, as the divine Miss Noonan writes in the Wall Street Journal:
This is the authentic sound of the American mama, of every mother you know at school who joins the boards, reads the books, heads the committee, and gets the show on the road. These women make large portions of America work.
William Jennings Obama
Now let us turn the tables, shall we? Since we're playing the name game (Jack, Jack, bo-back, Banana-fana Fo-bama - O-bama!), let me try my hand: Barack Obama is William Jennings Bryan, the silver-tongued orator of a century ago. Wikepedia recounts that the three-time Democrat(ic) presidential loser (1896, 1900, 1908) was a big-time speechifier:
In a typical day he gave four hour-long speeches and shorter talks that added up to six hours of speaking. At an average rate of 175 words a minute, he turned out 63,000 words, enough to fill 52 columns of a newspaper... In Wisconsin, he once made 12 speeches in 15 hours.
Bryan was a prosecutor in the Scopes monkey trial that inspired the tragically full-of-himself character played by the great Frederic March in the movie Inherit the Wind.
Biographer Michael Kazin considers Wm. Jennings Bryan as the first of the 20th century "celebrity politicians" better known for their personalities and communications skills than their political views. Roger that.
The angry left
Few on the Angry Left are angrier than the mad economist, Paul Krugman of the N.Y. Times. He accuses Palin of selling "resentment."
Excusa? Who was it that arrogantly dismissed those who "cling to their guns and to God" as doing so out of "bitterness." And we're not supposed to resent that?
Nichols, relentlessly on message, downplays Barack Obama's crude put-down of Middle America as "an off-hand remark." But aren't those more revealing than those that are run up on the TelePrompTer?
Palin had the O-man in her sights when she squeezed the trigger:
"In small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening."
It is a line that should be repeated at every appearance.
The good people of Cedarburg on Friday greeted Sarah with a hand-lettered sign: READ MY LIP-STICK according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Yep, one is wearing lipstick.
Grace under fire, once again
John McCain is just beginning the most important speech of his life Thursday at the Xcel Center, when he is interrupted by the Angry left. (And President Bush was criticized for speaking its name.)
These are, of course, Gestapo tactics. What did the man under fire do? He waited patiently, then motioned the Republican convention that orders were coming from the bridge. "Don't get caught up in the background noise. Ignore the static."
Why is the Angry Left so afraid of free speech? Or so inchoate as to be unable to cobble together a credible message of its own?
John McCain. Has any candidate for president of our great nation suffered more in its cause? That was what was so powerful in his acceptance speech Thursday night. That is what was so revelatory. So transcendent.
His Hanoi torturers had broken his body and his spirit. He was yanked out of the "me" and thrust into the "us." His torturers had extinguished his Top Gun, macho me-first existence. Resurrected out of that, Phoenix-like (pardon the Arizona reference) he emerged into an other-focused - what Rick Warren would call a purpose-driven - life. He asked what he could do for America and the world. It is more existential than a thousand Sartre seminars: I have suffered, one part of me died only to give birth to a new purpose.
I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else's. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency; for its faith in the wisdom, justice and goodness of its people. I loved it because it was not just a place, but an idea, a cause worth fighting for. I was never the same again. I wasn't my own man anymore. I was my country's. I'm not running for president because I think I'm blessed with such personal greatness that history has anointed me to save our country in its hour of need. My country saved me. My country saved me, and I cannot forget it. [McCain's acceptance speech]
- Congratulations to Minnesota law enforcement for keeping the hoodlums in check, for the most part. Milwaukee's finest were on hand with, I have to belief, a firm hand. Turns out J.B. Van Hollen's people weren't so far off worrying about personal safety.
- Where is Barack Obama on the attempted disruption? Why he has not denounced those who tried to disrupt the convention?
- Pictures worth a thousand votes: Youngest daughter Piper smoothing the hair of little baby Trig.
- Pictures worth a thousand more: John McCain introducing his 96-year-old mother, Roberta. She pops right up out of her seat, turns, waves, and smiles. Bottle and sell those genes. They are worth more than the Budweiser distributorship. (And she has a twin sister!)