Palin’s Disappointing Convention Speech

by on September 5th, 2008

Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin certainly turned in an impressive performance during her acceptance speech at their convention Wednesday night. By almost every account, she far exceeded all expectations. Her speech was tough, well delivered, and to the point. She did a great job of combining wit, sarcasm, straight talk, and biting humor. Hardcore right-wingers, including Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Pat Buchanan, were probably so ecstatic that they soiled their pants. Convention-goers went wild. Palin nearly brought the house down.

Ironically, she was — at least for one night — the rock star and celebrity that Republicans like to accuse Barack Obama of aspiring to. Remember, during the height of The Beatles’ popularity, when John Lennon so arrogantly and sacrilegiously remarked that they were “more popular than Jesus Christ”? If he were still with us today, I wonder if Lennon would have been tempted to say the same thing about Palin Wednesday night.

However, color me unimpressed. That’s right — I couldn’t have been more under-whelmed. I was completely disappointed with the speech that I had had such high hopes for. There were no real meat and potatoes in it for me. There was little or nothing about her supposedly strong conservative stand on the social issues, nothing about her religious life, and no criticism of illegal immigrants, gay rights/same-sex marriage, abortion, or pre-marital/extra-marital sexual activity. And she claims to assail political correctness?

There was nothing in it about expanding civil liberties, property rights, or free speech. There was no condemnation of censorship or defense of personal privacy. So much for those historically libertarian values of the American west, huh? Where’s the beef?

So, what was her speech all about? Well, after she introduced us to her large and attractive family, she started out by discussing the fact she would like to help John McCain bring us government reform, lower taxes, energy independence, and reduction of wasteful spending. Those are all admirable goals and I applaud her for them.

Her seemingly incessant references to McCain’s military service bordered on maudlin and were mostly unnecessary. Anyone who isn’t already aware of McCain’s status as a war hero shouldn’t be allowed to vote. Any who doesn’t already appreciate it is a lost cause.

She also dedicated a portion of her speech to mocking and attacking the Democrats and the news media. Did anyone else notice that thing she does with her nose when she’s on the warpath?

Attacks on Democrats are part of her job description as a GOP vice presidential nominee, so no surprise there. However, her assault on Obama’s lack of experience was both ironic and laughable, given the fact that she is in the same boat. I’m not sure she really wants to go there. What is it they say about people who live in glass houses? She clearly should she have left that part for McCain.

She played the “righteous victim” card as she laid into the liberal press. That tactic is not very becoming for a woman of her political status. It gives me the impression that she feels as if she is somewhat beyond reproach, a bit too goody-goody to ever have to worry about coming under scrutiny.

But my primary gripe with her speech arises from the fact that she spent far too much time espousing the Neo-con values of overzealous national security and the championing of an unnecessary, deadly, and expensive war in Iraq. She allowed herself to get caught up in the wrapped-in-the-flag, over-the-top bluster that turned out to be the trademark of this GOP convention. Although she didn’t mention this in her speech, she allegedly believes that the war in Iraq was God’s will for America. I wonder what god that would be — certainly not the God of the Bible. Perhaps it’s the Roman god of war or something.

Anyway, I had given her more credit than that and had hoped for something different from her. Instead, she apparently thinks it’s perfectly okay to deny terrorism suspects their basic human rights. I bet she wasn’t the least bit appalled by the atrocities of Abu Ghraib. She doesn’t seem to have a problem with FISA or the USA Patriot Act. She would likely put her stamp of approval on government snooping into the lives of innocent Americans — for the “right cause.” She reminded me of why I became basically a libertarian instead of the dyed-in-the-wool Republican that I used to be.

Now I know why McCain selected her. She’s just like him — only younger, female, and much better looking. They are two of kind. Correction, throw in President Bush and make it three of a kind. No offense, but the Republican Party can keep them. I’ll take Ron Paul any day. I wish more people could have heard his speech in St. Paul. Now that was a speech!

Terry Mitchell