I don’t even know where to begin. Sarah Palin’s speech was divisive, belligerent, smug, and at the same time totally lightweight. So why is the goddamned media fawning all over it like it was the best thing since sliced bread? I can see how it was effective for all the people who are already inclined to vote Republican, but I found her completely repellent. After everything I had read about how engaging she is, how personable, how charming, I was expecting to be greeted by someone that I might have a tough time resisting on a personal level, disagreeable though I might find her views. Instead, she seemed dead set on whipping up a nasty partisan frenzy; punctuated repeatedly by her pursed schoolmarm smirk. By the end of her tirade, I loathed her and her “I represent the little people” B.S. with every last boiling blood cell in my veins.
1. She came out and spent a good 10 minutes introducing her hillbilly family, as if we haven’t read enough about their sluttish and/or unethical escapades (oh, sorry, that’s the escapades of “real families, just like yours”) in the news the last few days. I thought it was particularly charming that the pregnant teenaged daughter’s boyfriend was trotted out on the stage in his Sunday best after the speech, chewing gum like the child that he is. What a nice touch to validate the pre-marital sex that she deplores in order to show what a loving mother she is.
2. Her first “political” statement was to tell America she would be there as a voice for special needs parents in government. While that is certainly a laudable sentiment, positioning it at the top of her speech seemed designed to show what an understanding, sensitive mother she is. Again – fabulous – but perhaps not the most important issue on the country’s agenda this year. And arguably not on hers, either, as the entire Republican Party seemed to take a pass at babysitting poor little Trig during her speech. He was trotted out on the stage at the end, too – couldn’t one of her precious family members have stayed in the hotel room and made sure he was safely tucked into bed, where he should have been at that hour, instead of surrounded by the bright lights and screaming crowd in the arena?
3. Finally, Sarah started the mud-slinging. She compared her own experience to Obama’s, belittling his work as a community organizer and championing her own extensive qualifications as the mayor of a small town as the sine qua non of executive experience. She followed that up with a contemptuous dose of “I don’t trust the liberal elite,” and there you have the substance of her speech.
4. Oh, wait, she did talk a lot about drilling in Alaska as her way to address our energy crisis, so that was pretty useful.
5. Oh, yeah, and then told some lies: namely, that she didn’t support taking federal money to build the “Bridge to Nowhere,” and that Barack Obama never authored a law in Congress.
Ugh, that’s enough. She was nasty, and her speech (along with everything else I’ve heard coming out of the Republican Convention) sought to perpetuate the partisan divide in this country. Contrast that with Obama’s convention speech, in which he enumerated several issues on which the parties traditionally disagree, but on which he believes we can surely find common ground. He spoke about rebuilding a nation that is sorely divided; Sarah Palin sought to drive that stake even further into the ground. The Republican Party seeks to wrap that up even tighter in a soft blanket of sexism – simultaneously sporting their buttons that say “Hottest VP from the Coolest State” while accusing the Demorcats of sexism at every turn for daring to challenge Palin’s qualifications.
And speaking once again of qualifications, if I ever thought there wasn’t a danger she would actually find herself in the highest office in the land, seeing the tiny, waxen figure of John McCain come shuffling out at the end of the speech disabused me of that notion. I think he might already be dead. So watch out, lucky world.