Last night, I watched Palin’s speech with a friend, a Viet Nam veteran, who has always voted Republican. After she concluded, he said the thing that bothered him most about her speech was that it substantiated his fears that for the first time in his life he will probably be voting democratic. We agreed that Palin looked impressive (although he contends Cindy McCain is “hotter”) and that her delivery was poised and confident (not surprising for a former TV sportscaster reading from a teleprompter a speech prepared by campaign professionals and practiced for days). Neither of us could find much in the way of substance in her speech, and several comments were simply offensive. Her often snarky tone, intended to demean the other side, detracted from what limited credibility she might have.
There were a few substantive comments:
“To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.” That’s admirable, but is the first I’ve heard that increased rights for the handicapped is a burning issue in this election.
“Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown. And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”
Snarky nature of that comment notwithstanding (and hey, even I have to admit it was kinda funny), I kept waiting for her to expand on this concept. What were her responsibilities and accomplishments as mayor of a town of just better than 6000? Since she never told us, for all I know her big accomplishment as mayor was deciding where the town’s first traffic light was installed.
“… 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.”
Members of the media aren’t American citizens? You have to admire someone who is honest right out of the gate that she can identify an entire group of Americans she has no interest in representing. Or do you?
“… what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy ... our opponent is against producing it.”
Again, I’ll ignore the sarcasm but I won’t ignore the dishonest portrayal of the difference in the parties’ tax plans. McCain’s tax cuts would primarily benefit those with very high incomes. Obama’s plan offers much larger tax breaks to low- and middle-income taxpayers and would increase taxes on high-income taxpayers. As always, definitions matter, so here “high income taxpayers” are defined as those earning between $200,000 and $250,000 per year. If you are earning more than that, McCain’s plan will benefit you, if you are earning less than that (which is the vast majority of this country) Obama’s plan will benefit you.http://taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=411741
“Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he’s worried that someone won't read them their rights?” Despite her demonstrated lack of knowledge regarding foreign policy, I am concerned that Palin is already preaching that this is an either/or situation. It is possible to effectively guard against further terrorist attacks while still ensuring basic rights.
Of McCain, Palin says: “To the most powerful office on earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless ... the wisdom that comes even to the captives, by the grace of God ... the special confidence of those who have seen evil, and seen how evil is overcome.” McCain’s lack of compassion was clearly demonstrated when he voted in favor of the use of torture by the US.
All told, Palin presents as knowledgeable on the issue of drilling in Alaska. Oh, and on where to purchase a really cute suit.