Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Few Quick Thoughts on Palin

It's the day after Sarah Palin's big coming out party (otherwise known as her VP nominee acceptance speech at the RNC). I could not watch it live because I was doing my second job, hanging lights at the theater. But Mrs. Brainwise saved it on the DVR for me and I tried to watch some of it before I went to bed. So this is an incomplete review, if indeed this can be called a review at all.
  1. Was her performance impressive? Yes and no. She was polished, read off the prompter like a professional, and connected with the audience. I, however, have a difficult time listening to her voice. There is just something about its register or pitch that makes me physically recoil. (Full disclosure: I have the same negative reaction to Hillary Clinton's voice).
  2. While I give Palin some leeway regarding her performance, the content of her speech was overly negative and distasteful. For contrast, I refer to the recent speeches by Barak Obama and Joe Biden. Yes, they were both argumentative against John McCain's positions and proposed policies. But they were also complimentary of McCain as a person and admitted a degree of respect for him and his military service. I saw no such bipartisanship in Palin's presentation (though, as I have admitted earlier, I have yet to view/hear it in its entirety).
  3. I am still surpised at the hypocrisy I perceive in the Republican Party. In the 2000 primaries, John McCain was harpooned as a crazy war vet and POW. In 2004, John Kerry's service was called into question (as was the very notion of needing military experience because Bush and Cheney had none). Now, they are all about John McCain as the "good soldier". Bringing this back to Palin, the hypocrisy centers on her daughter's pregnancy. Mother Palin is quick to say (more or less) "respect my family's decision", yet she is asking us to elect her so that she can remove that aspect of choice for all other families in a similar position.
  4. Having made my previous point, I am also stunned and appalled at the way media outlets have attacked Sarah Palin on a personal level. Yes, I believe the way a person behaves on a personal level does reflect something of how that person will handle him or herself on the world stage, in the political arena. But don't single out candidates from one party for all the venom. Dig up dirt on all of them, or ignore everyone's dirt, please.
Susan Estrich's recent editorial -- No place for personal attacks against Palin -- speaks volumes regarding my last point. Consider her closing words, which will be chilling indeed for Obama supporters, and gravy for the McCain camp:

Obama is right in saying that he finds the attacks on Palin and her family offensive, but those who support him don't seem to be listening. They should. Keep this up, guys, and major backlash is sure to follow. Sarah Palin may be no Hillary Clinton, but if she faces the same sort of sexism that Hillary did, she may yet capture many of her supporters.

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