Here are your leftist talking points in response to Sarah Palin’s speech. They fall into three main categories:
1. “Look over there!”: Ha, ha, Bristol’s boyfriend is marrying her but he doesn’t really want to! It’s a shotgun wedding!
If you go to some of these sites, it seems like this is all they’ve got. Pathetic, really. Even as mere comedy it doesn’t work.
Cretins like this don’t get links.
2. Sexism (of course): My, that’s a lovely speech she gave — but she didn’t write it!
This is true. As it happens, I have met Matthew Scully, the man who wrote tonight’s speech. He’s a hell of a nice guy. He and I spent an afternoon some weeks back addressing some schoolkids about what we do for a living.
He is a Republican, an environmentalist, and a vegan. He loved the fact that my wife and 8-year-old daughter are both vegetarians on principle. (The boy, by contrast, likes his meat — like Daddy.)
(Why the organizer thought it would be a good idea to couple him (a guy who has written speeches for Presidents and interacted with them on a daily basis) with me (a podunk blogger and a local prosecutor), I have no idea. But I wasn’t complaining. It was fascinating listening to his stories.)
But here’s the thing. Who wrote Joe Biden’s speech?
For some reason, nobody asks this question.
By the way: I fooled you there, didn’t I? You thought I was going to ask: “Who wrote Barack Obama’s speech?” Because for some reason, Our Vice-Presidential nominee keeps getting compared to their Presidential nominee. It’s the weirdest thing, but everyone keeps doing it . . . on both sides of the political spectrum.
But I’m going to be stubborn here, and compare apples to apples — even if I’m comparing a deliciously tart (soon-to-be) Granny Smith with a fur-encrusted, smarmy old Braeburn.
Anyway, do you know who wrote Biden’s speech? I don’t — but I’m fairly confident that Biden didn’t write it, since 1) politicians never write their own speeches, and 2) Biden, of all people, seems to have a special problem coming up with his own words . . .
Ask yourself: why was every talking head tonight emphasizing the fact that Sarah Palin’s speech was written by a speechwriter? I’m happy to see Matt get his props, but it is a little odd, no?
3. Accidental honesty: Peggy Noonan and Mike Murphy talked on a hot mike about how the Palin nomination is a disaster. Here’s how the L.A. Times Top of the Ticket Blog puts it:
Murphy terms the Palin pick “cynical;” Noonan says it means the race is “over” (and presumably not in a favorable way for her party).
Well, yes and no. Or at least, yes and possibly no.
Here’s the thing. They clearly do discuss the fact — and it’s a fact — that Palin is not the Most Qualified Candidate (or even the Most Qualified Woman).
That is, depending on your definition of “Qualified.”
Does Sarah Palin have the best combination of personal qualities and life story to help John McCain win? I think she does.
It reminds me of how, in a narrow sense, Clarence Thomas was not the most “Qualified” Supreme Court nominee, in the sense that people thought Bush Sr. meant when he made that claim. But what if he meant something different? What if he meant: this is the right candidate at the right time — someone who I can count on to be the type of nominee I want him to be; who won’t shift with the prevailing winds; whose principles line up with mine?
In that sense, Clarence Thomas may well have been the Most Qualified Candidate — and he has certainly turned out to be a fine Justice. Some say the best (I still like Nino, but Thomas runs a close second, and sometimes edges Nino out).
Similarly, in a very real sense, I think Sarah Palin was the Most Qualified Candidate in terms of providing the mix of characteristics that John McCain needs to win. She provides energy, excitement, and charisma — and backs it up with strong principles, a Reaganesque optimism, sunny confidence, and unwavering competence.
Some people might call it “cynical” to seek out that mix of attributes — and it appears clear that Murphy (whom I have nothing against; I have also met him, and like him a lot) and Noonan were doing that. Admittedly so.
But this other part — the part where Noonan supposedly says “It’s over” with reference to McCain’s campaign — well, Noonan doesn’t use the word “race” when she says it’s over. And she says that’s not what she meant in context. She gives a detailed explanation here.
Now, the question is: is that explanation 1) spin to cover up an embarrassingly honest opinion — 2) a true account of what she meant? To me it has the ring of truth, but consider this:
I find it veeeerrrrrry strange that the context is missing. That whatever anonymous person provided this diced-up clip to news organizations, apparently deliberately omitted a good deal of the discussion that immediately preceded the “it’s over” comment. Is there a reason for this omission? I suspect there was.
After watching Gov. Palin’s speech tonight, however, I’m not even worried about whether Noonan is trying to cover her tracks or not. I’m more inclined to go along with the response of the McCain camp on this:
So those are your talking points. Here’s my conclusion:
I’ve been very pessimistic about this race. I have bets with two people against a McCain victory. I still think I’ll collect. I’m a pessimist. I admire optimists, but I’m not one of them.
But for the first time, folks, I actually think I might not collect on those bets.
For the first time, I actually think we just might win. I’m not saying we will. But we might.
And hey. That’s a good feeling.