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The Metamorphosis of Sarah Palin - Her Republican National Convention Speech

By September 4, 2008

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Last night at the Republican National Convention, while millions watched on television, Sarah Palin morphed in a Jekyll and Hyde-like transformation that ignited passionate support from the GOP faithful on the convention floor.

The former high school basketball star, once known as "Sarah Barracuda," emerged from the pool of obscurity and strutted into the national spotlight as the attack dog of the McCain presidential campaign. It was an evolutionary move worthy of Darwin (whose theories she doubts) and somewhat unexpected to those who've regarded her as a lightweight up until now. Yet as she ad-libbed in a memorable moment, the politics of her past had prepared her for it: "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?" she asked the whooping, energized crowd. "Lipstick!" she announced to thunderous applause.

She defined the presidential race as a fight for the hearts and minds of the average American, small town folks who, as she says, were badmouthed by the Democratic presidential candidate as soon as he turned his back on them. She pulled punches, lashed out, and went for the jugular, but as US Politics Guide Kathy Gill points out, she didn't use the name "Obama," keeping only John McCain's name in front of her audience.

For those who doubted Palin's on-camera abilities, it's important to remember that her initial career aspirations included sitting in a broadcast booth with the legendary Howard Cosell as a network sportscaster. So working with a TelePrompTer and appearing comfortable and real is second nature to her.

Clearly she's master of the sound bite as she promised she'd be an advocate for the parents of special needs children; stated as a reformer in the governor's seat, she did away with her predecessor's preferred mode of travel: "That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay" (in fact, it didn't sell there and was handled by a private aircraft broker); and stressed her knowledge of energy issues and the amount of oil available on the North Slope of Alaska.

Palin is a study in contrasts and conflicting messages, casting herself as above party politics even as she's hired lawyers to deal with her own 'Troopergate' situation back home; a family values and abstinence-only advocate even as her high school-aged daughter is pregnant; and a women's issues supporter even as she's strongly anti-choice.

Yet the comments that keep coming up from newly-won supporters and longtime Palin advocates - that she's real and open and one of us - in the aftermath of her dynamic, bracing speech last night suggest that when it comes to Palin, issues may matter less to some than image.

Photo © Ethan Miller/Getty Images

More Sarah Palin coverage:
Sarah Palin - From Alaska Governor to Republican Vice Presidential Nominee

Comments

September 4, 2008 at 1:16 pm
(1) Delora says:

This says it all: From a voter in her State…After reading this, this lady could not run our country if McCain is not able to do so… What a sad decision made by the party. I don’t think McCain had anything to do with making the decision, it was told to him to do in order to get Clinton’s voter.. Well I am here to tell you, non of my Clinton supporters are moving over to the Repubican party just because she is a female. Any position of a female or male, qualification comes with maintaining the position. The speech she gave was written by someone and she read it very well.
I am one who do not believe in having babies out of wedlock. It is not a good example for any child. If anyone in my family got knock up, I would be there for them but not agree it was the right thing to do. I am sure she had talk to her child about having sex before marriage or using protection, but from what I hear her daughter is not the sweet little girl she is trying to present.. She did it and now they have convience the young man since her Mom is in the spotlight “You need to show up and marry her”

The Republican that are speaking on her behalf have to do what they do, but when they go home from the media, they know it is a wrong choice for their party.

As an Alaskan, I am writing to give all of you some information on
Sarah Palin, Senator McCain’s choice for VP. As an Alaska voter, I
know more than most of you about her and, frankly, I am horrified that
he picked her.

The most accurate description of her is red neck. Her husband works in
the oil fields of Prudhoe Bay and races snow mobiles. She is a life
time member of the NRA and has worked tirelessly to allow
indiscriminate hunting of wildlife in Alaska, particularly wolves and
bears. She has spent millions of Alaska state dollars on aerial
hunting of these predators from helicopters and airplanes, dollars
that should have been spent, for example, on Alaska’s failing school
system.We have the lowest rate of high school graduation in the
country. Not all of you may think aerial predator hunting is so bad,
but how anyone (other than Alaska wolf-haters, of which there are
many, most without teeth), could think this use of funds is
appropriate is beyond me. If you want to know more about the aerial
hunting travesty, let me know and I will send some links to
informative web sites.

She has been a strong supporter of increased use of fossil fuels, yet
the McCain campaign has the nerve to say she has ‘green’ policies. The
only thing green about Sarah Palin is her lack of experience. She has
consistently supported drilling in ANWR, use of coal-burning power
plants (as I write this, a new coal plant is being built in her home
town of Wasilla), strip mining, and almost anything else that will
unnecessarily exploit the diminishing resources of Alaska and destroy
its environment.

Prior to her one year as governor of Alaska, she was mayor of Wasilla,
a small red neck town outside Anchorage.The average maximum education
level of parents of junior high school kids in Wasilla is 10th grade.
Unfortunately, I have to go to Wasilla every week to get groceries and
other supplies, so I have continual contact with the people who put
Palin in office in the first place. I know what I’m talking about.
These people don’t have a concept of the world around them or of the
serious issues facing the US. Furthermore, they don’t care. So long as
they can go out and hunt their moose every fall, kill wolves and bears
and drive their snow mobiles and ATVs through every corner of the
wilderness, they’re happy. I wish I were exaggerating.

Sarah Palin is currently involved in a political corruption scandal.
She fired an individual in law enforcement here because she didn’t
like how he treated one of her relatives during a divorce. The man’s
performance and ability weren’t considered; it was a totally personal
firing and is currently under investigation. While the issue isn’t
close to the scandal of Ted Steven’s corruption, it shows that Palin
isn’t ‘squeaky clean’ and causes me to think there may be more
issues
that could come to light. Clearly McCain doesn’t care.

When you line Palin up with Biden, the comparison would be laughable
if it weren’t so serious. Sarah Palin knows nothing of economics
(admittedly a weak area for McCain), or of international affairs,
knows nothing of national government, Social Security, unemployment,
health care systems – you name it. The idea of her meeting with heads
of foreign governments around the world truly frightens me.

In an increasingly dangerous world, with the economy in shambles in
the US, Sarah Palin is uniquely UNqualified to be vice president. John
McCain is not a young man. Should something happen to him such that
the vice president had to step in, it would destroy our country and
possibly the world to have someone as inexperienced and inappropriate
as Sarah Palin. The choice of Palin is a cheap shot by McCain to try
to get Hillary supporters to vote for him. when McCain introduced her
today, Palin had the nerve to compare herself with Hillary and
Geraldine Ferraro. Sarah Palin, you are no Hillary Clinton.

To those of you who, like me, supported Hillary and were upset that she
did not get the nomination, please don’t think that Sarah Palin is a
worthy substitute. If you supported Hillary, regardless of what you
think the media and the democratic party may have done to undermine
her campaign, the person to support now is Obama, not Sarah Palin. To
those of you who are independent or undecided, don’t let the choice of
Palin sway you in favor of McCain. Choosing her shows how unqualified
McCain is to be president. To those of you who are conservative, I
guess you have no choice for president. But please try to see how the
poor choice of Palin tells us a great deal about McCain’s judgment.
While the political posturing inherent in the choice of Palin is
obvious, the more serious issue is the fact that the VP is, literally,
a heartbeat away from the presidency. Sarah Palin is totally and
unequivocally unqualified to be vice president, let alone president.

I know this is a lengthy and emotional email, but the stakes are high.
I thought it might help for all of you, regardless of political
affiliation, to know something about Palin from someone who has to
live with her administration in Alaska on a daily basis

September 4, 2008 at 3:22 pm
(2) FortuneTeller says:

Delora…I couldn’t have said it better myself. There is NO parallel for comparison except gender between Hilary and Ms Palin. I am insulted as an American voter and doubly insulted as a WOMAN that the GOP thinks I don’t have the brains to make a distinction between the person best qualified to lead our country and a woman. PLEEESE…sarah claims to be a feminist but obviously she really does NOT know what it is…we advocate rights AND choice. Sarah seems only to know what “the boys” want and dances to their tune…She is the girl who says “I don’t have any female friends because I get along better with the boys” I simply don’t trust a woman who dosen’t have ANY female friends.

September 4, 2008 at 4:42 pm
(3) Mike says:

It’s interesting that Sarah Palin gave more substance in one speech that Obama has given this whole campaign thus far and yet you folks say that it’s all about her image. Quite a double standard I think. Obama’s popular is largely image based!

September 5, 2008 at 8:24 pm
(4) rightReasons says:

After the last eight years, we have an obligation to look beyond the hype. Here are some more things informed voters should know about Sarah Palin:

Experience: During her mayoral administration most of the actual work of running town was turned over to an administrator. She had been pushed to hire this administrator by party power-brokers after
she had gotten herself into some trouble over precipitous firings which had given rise to a recall campaign.

Fiscal policy: She campaigned in Wasilla as a “fiscal conservative”. During her 6 years as Mayor, she increased government expenditures by over 33%. During those same 6 years the amount of taxes collected by the City increased by 38%. This was during a period of low inflation (1996-2002) and record oil revenues and budget surpluses. She taxed even food. The tax cuts that she promoted benefited large corporate property owners far more than they benefited residents. Despite the huge increases in tax revenues during her mayoral administration, she borrowed money, too.

She inherited a city with zero debt, but left it with indebtedness of over $22 million.

Bipartisanship: As Mayor, she fought ideas that weren’t generated by her or her staff.
Ideas weren’t evaluated on their merits, but on the basis of who proposed them.

Pork: As Mayor, she had her hand stuck out as far as anyone for pork from Senator Ted Stevens. Lately, she has castigated his pork-barrel politics and publicly humiliated him. She only opposed the “bridge to nowhere” after it became clear that it would be unwise not to.

As Governor, she gave the Legislature no direction and budget guidelines, then made a big grandstand display of line-item vetoing projects, calling them pork. Public outcry and further legislative action restored most of these projects–which had been vetoed simply because she was not aware of their importance–but with the unobservant she had gained a reputation as “anti-pork”.

Believer in small government: Oversaw greatest expansion of city government in Wasilla’s history.

Please, please, understand that this isn’t a movie-of-the-week or a vote for homecoming queen. She would be one step away from the presidency, and the president is 72 years old!

September 15, 2008 at 4:49 pm
(5) Chuck says:

Milliond on aerial hunting??? Get real. Nothing near that amount ahs been spent by the gov.

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