The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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Sarah Palin - Rhetorical gladiator.

September 3rd, 2008 · No Comments · Politics, Rants

I missed most of the first chunk of the week due to jetlag and work. Tonight, Palin speaks, so I wanted to tune in.

Some thoughts as the night wears on:

- I can’t tell if the venue has a lot of empty seating or if they’ve built the upper deck in such a way that totally obscures the crowd.

- Speaking of the crowd, damn these people are old. The only young person I’ve seen so far is the pregnant Palin daughter. And it’s SUPER awkward when the crowd “dances” to music between speakers.

- The wall behind the podium is terrible - blood red with no detailing to break it up. There’s a screen above the speaker, but it’s not visible when the camera is pulled in close and they don’t seem to be putting anything on the screen but still photos of mountains and such. It has a very “terrible Power Point” feel.

- Huckabee was fine. He finished with a story I think I’ve had spammed to me via email forwards, but he’s always lived according to tired internet memes.

- The Governor of Hawaii scared me. She seemed very angry.

- Liveblogging starts now.

- Giuliani is up. He’s looking pretty good - tan and less vampiric than usual. The Jumbotron has a shot of the New York skyline behind him.

I’m starting my time-to-9/11-reference clock.

Ooh… Rudy triggers a Hacksaw Jim Duggan “U-S-A” chant!

Third speaker in a row retells the McCain POW narrative. In case, ya know, someone had been in the bathroom earlier and missed it.

The crowd LAUGHS when Rudy mentions that Obama was a community organizer. Rudy cackles with them. Now THAT’s a crowd full of assholes.

Wow. Rudy’s using some legitimate showmanship tonight. Funny faces and jazz hands, coupled with a shit-eating grin as he runs down Obama’s voting history. The crowd is loving him.

We’ve had eight straight minutes about Obama’s lack of leadership experience before moving on to attacking “change”.

“Change is not a destination, just as hope is not a strategy.” Phew. Good line.

He triggers a creepily loud “drill baby drill” chant when he mentions off shore oil.

15 minutes in before we get 9/11 mentioned for the first time. That MUST be a record.

He calls Obama out on breaking his promise about public financing and flip-flopping on wiretaps and Israel.

“If I were Joe Biden, I’d wanna get that VP thing in writing.” Hehe. Okay, THAT was funny.

“John McCain said ‘I’d rather lose an election than a war’. Why? Because that’s John McCain.” ANOTHER zinger.

Rudy runs off the rails a bit and gets hung up on Georgia/Russia awkwardly. I think it’s supposed to be another flip flop example.

He segues to Palin.

Now he’s just doing shtick and the crowd looooves it.

Rudy’s turned into the world’s weirdest feminist here at the end.

Big “RU-DY” chants at the end.

Giuliani was really good here. He was funny, he played to the crowd, he teed up the crowd for Palin perfectly.

- And straight into Palin with no interlude.

No pant-suits for Sarah. Hair partly down, black skirt cut just above the knees. Snazzy!

The Liberty Bell (I think) on the Jumbotron.

Big applause from the crowd.

She accepts the nomination.

More applause.

Just got a clear shot of the pregnant daughter for the first time. She is SUUUPER pregnant. I can’t imagine there was any way McCain’s people didn’t know about that when they chose Palin. The kid’s visible from low earth orbit.

And now Palin gives us the “lose an election, not a war” line.

Says that victory in Iraq is “within sight”.

Calls out her soldier son (triggers “U-S-A” chant), pointing out that her son Track (Track? Really?) will deploy on 9/11/08 to Iraq.

Lots of mommy talk. Calls out the kids. Rudy is making the pregnant one stand up.

She’s taking all of the family stuff head on. It’s actually really effective.

Jesus. When she says “advocate” her face contorts into a scary monster grimace.

On to hubby talk. I’ll admit it, it’s kind of sweet.

Intro her parents - looks like her dad managed to marry a much younger lady, Grampy McCain style!

She’s really comfortable in front of a mic.

Case in point: “The difference between a Hockey Mom and a pitbull? Lipstick” Hehe.

Hahahaha!!!! C-Span catches the youngest Palin daughter repeatedly licking her hand and using spit to adjust her infant brother’s hair.

“I guess a small town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities.” Yowsa.

And back to Bittergate.

“We prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.” Ouch.

She goes after the media, but is interrupted by major booing. And chanting. I honestly can’t tell what they’ve chanting.

I must say, she’s a GREAT at delivering zingers. She’s definitely going to goad Biden into a full-blown rage-out in the debates at some point.

From a pure structural standpoint, this is a hell of a performance. There are some seriously complex passages in here that she’s pulling off flawlessly. There’s almost no content so far, but she’s a hell of a counterpoint to McCain’s stilted pattern of speech.

She ebayed the governor’s luxury jet when she took office. More anecdotes about reducing wasteful spending and reform.

Stuff about projects she spearheaded in Alaska.

Energy independence stuff. More “drill, baby, drill” chants. Still creepy.

Whoa… C-Span caught her teleprompter from behind. Cool!

On Obama now.

“This is a man who’s authored two memoirs but not a single major law.” Ouch.

“When the stadium lights go out and those styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - when that happens, what exactly is our opponent’s plan?” DAAAAMN.

It’s like the GOP Def Jam Snap-a-thon!

Tax stuff - a mix of truth, half-truth and very-nearly-lies. Meh.

She calls out the “self-designed presidential seal.”

Finally back to talking about McCain.

She basically punches Harry Reid in the face. This really IS just an extended verbal ass-kicking.

“The office of the Presidency is not supposed to be a journey of personal discovery.” Clearly. That’s what the VICE Presidency is for.

“There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you.” Not bad.

Details about McCain as POW.

I actually can’t transcribe all of the strong lines in this portion fast enough. It’s good. REALLY good.

They’ve got one of the other POWs in the crowd - the audience erupts before he’s even fully introduced.

“For a season a gifted speaker can inspire with his words, but for a lifetime John McCain has inspired with his deeds.”

Speech ends, family hits the stage (including the daughter’s baby daddy), Palin grabs her baby.

And out comes McCain, forcing her to give the baby back. I’d probably have not done that if I were him. Getting anywhere near a speech that great can only make him look awkward by comparison.

So far, he’s kept the words to a bare minimum, complimenting the family and then posing for photos.

McCain has a mic, but some sort of fanfare is playing. Everyone seems confused. I have no clue what’s happening.

Aaand… they all leave. I guess that was his cue to run the hell away. Probably smart.

Anywho, despite the weird end, that was one hell of a speech. Barring a miracle, McCain can’t possibly hope to match it tomorrow. She was smart, fast, funny and very personable. There wasn’t a lot of content in her speech (what else is new?), but she finally managed to deliver the McCain campaign’s “Obama is all style, no substance” message in a way that didn’t feel painful and awkward. Shipping her off to every swing state to give the speech she gave tonight is CLEARLY the only sane choice for the McCain team.

In conclusion, Palin is a goddamn bulldog and I’m really looking forward to seeing her and Biden get into it in debates.


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