Thursday, September 04, 2008

Favorable Alaskan Reaction To Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin's Speech At Republican National Convention

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin introduced herself to the nation at the Republican National Convention on Wednesday September 3rd, 2008 as a small town hockey mom with backbone who cleaned up Alaska and sold Frank Murkowski's jet on eBay. Full media stories published in the Anchorage Daily News and two stories in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, "Palin casts herself as outsider in rousing convention speech", and "Speech of a lifetime for Alaska Gov. Palin".

Watch video of speech HERE. Read full transcript of speech HERE.

Palin, speaking to a television audience in the millions at the Republican National Convention, blamed the media for the persistent questions about whether she's qualified to be vice president and jabbed Barack Obama as an out-of-touch elitist. "I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town," Palin said as the delegates roared. "I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids' public education better."

Palin's speech was the most anticipated of the convention. Few outside of Alaska knew anything about her before John McCain stunned the nation Friday by naming her his running mate.

Veteran Republican speechwriter Matthew Scully wrote the speech and it included plenty of red meat to fire up the Republican crowd. Palin repeatedly mocked Democratic presidential nominee Obama as an empty promise, showing little regard for his background as a community organizer in Chicago.

Palin seemed well prepared and her delivery wasn't all that much different from speeches she's given in Alaska. Palin didn't go for soaring rhetorical flourishes, but neither did she appear to be nervous speaking on the world stage. In her most pithy line of the night, she characterized the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull as "lipstick".

Palin said she sold on eBay the "luxury jet" purchased by her predecessor Gov. Frank Murkowski, although she didn't mention him by name. She said she passed ethics reform, drives herself to work, and vetoed wasteful spending. Palin also touted her decision to divert funding from "the Bridge to Nowhere" in Ketchikan and said she broke the monopoly of oil company lobbyists on the state's power and resources.

She claimed that "we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipepline," when no pipeline construction is guaranteed. She did push through a plan to give a state license and $500 million subsidy to a Canadian pipeline company to pursue construction of pipeline.

As expected, Palin spent much of her speech praising McCain. She got some of her biggest applause of the night when she said "in politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."

Afterwards, delegates from Alaska in attendance reacted. David McGraw, a delegate from Wasilla, noted what Palin said about being a conservative. "I liked what she said, I'm not sure I believe it, though," McGraw said. "It would be a change from her past." Soldotna delegate Mel Krogseng said Palin came across during her speech as being authentic. "I likes that she was Sarah, she was herself, she was unpretentious," Krogseng said.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said Palin delivered her speech well but "it was written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounded exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the past eight years."

Back in Wasilla, Alaska, over 100 people crowded into the Tailgaters Sports Bar to watch the speech, frequently chanting "Go, Sarah! Yes, Sarah! Go Sarah! Yes, Sarah!" Patrons described Palin as hardworking, a true-blue dyed-in-the-wool honest person, and opined that everyone is scared of her. They assert that she is perfectly able to defend herself against Big Media and the special interests.

And the professional Alaskan pundits weighed in. News-Miner columnist Dermot Cole wrote, "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gave a powerful and polished presentation Wednesday at the Republican National Convention, introducing herself to the American public with a splash. She faced enormous pressure and stood up to it with resolve. You would have never known that this was the first time she was addressing a national audience".

Andrew Halcro seemed almost transfixed by Palin's style, giving her a letter grade of "A". Halcro wrote, "It was a great night for Alaskans as Governor Sarah Palin hit all of the high notes and delivered a well rounded speech that touched all of the bases". However, Halcro did criticize Palin for exaggerating some of her accomplishments as governor, and even fabricating a few, then enumerated those miscues throughout his post. Tom Brennan of the Voice Of The Times puts forth a similar assessment, saying that America is becoming a nation of Palinbots.

Editorially, the Anchorage Daily News weighed in, saying that "Sarah Palin’s vice-presidential acceptance speech Wednesday night was a proud and exciting moment for Alaskans, regardless of political persuasion. In a well-written speech, comfortably delivered in front of an adoring and rousing crowd, she lauded her candidate John McCain, told the nation a bit about herself, and repeatedly attacked the opposing party’s ticket".

And as for yours truly? I'd give her a letter grade of "B" myself. She did a great job delivering the speech, appearing to be well-prepared. As a matter of fact, she won so many Republican hearts and minds that any talk of dropping her from the ticket needs to be spiked straightaway. If the McCain brain trust were to drop her from the ticket for any reason other than serious cause, we would have an Obama landslide in November. Not even "Troopergate" looks like a serious enough issue to call her status on the ticket into question.


  1. The speech certainly appealed to her base, but it will have lasting negative effects for the McCain campaign.

    READ if you have any interest in an alternative view.