Reactions from the Left

Some reaction to Palin’s speech from the left. Here’s Michael Crowley at TNR’s “The Stump”:

Several moderate-Democrat friends of mine have been emailing–few if any would ever vote for McCain–but all agree that Palin was very strong. The more liberal among them are a little panicked.

I completely misjudged how negative she would be. Her lines about Obama were brutally cutting and possibly over the top in places. But she’s a far better messenger than an angry white man. (Note, by the way, how both Rudy and Huckabee employed a tone that was more bemused than angry. That’s the modern GOP’s favorite trick–comedic ridicule in place of outright nastiness.)

I think the term “misjudged” is going to be used a lot in the coming weeks and not just about “how negative” she was.

John Judis, also of TNR’s The Stump said:

I thought that section of her speech combined her biography with her political appeal and turned it into a criticism of the Democrats and Obama’s indifference to the white working class and small town voter. I was less impressed with the rest of the speech. Her recitation of her own accomplishments–and her critique of Obama’s proposals–was less effective and less effectively delivered, but it was good enough not to raise questions about her suitability as vice president.

So Judis, just like Biden, seems to have no questions about her suitability to be VP. Apparently they are beginning to understand that the “inexperienced meme” is a loser and all it does is draw attention to the inexperience at the top of their ticket (not to mention they had no problem whatsoever with a vastly less experienced John Edwards as their VP nominee in ’04).

Ari Melbor at the Nation’s “The Notion” blog tied himself in knots trying to turn the speech into a negative. He began by saying:

Sarah Palin gave a riveting and devastating nomination speech on Wednesday night. She shared her inspiring story and brave family, while savaging and ridiculing the celebrated life story of Barack Obama, a fellow barrier-breaking candidate, with whithering attacks on his work as a community organizer, senator, and author.

And ended with:

By all accounts, Palin faced a huge task in St Paul. She had to prove she was up to the job of commander in chief.

She struck out big-time — in a biting speech that showed the only job she was ready for is RNC Chair, another ruthless soldier in Karl Rove’s army.

Yes, he had nowhere to go with his lede so he ended up resorting to liberal boilerplate and calling it analysis.

Ezra Klein was fairly impressed:

It was an auspicious debut, the sort of address that would be judged a success if she were a newcomer keynoting the convention. She landed clean punches, temporarily silenced some of her critics, and retold John McCain’s story with a keen sense for the drama of his experience. But I expected more. As delivered, the speech was effective as theater but curiously hollow as an enduring campaign argument: It contained the seeds of a medal ceremony for McCain, and marked Palin as a politician to watch, but it said nothing about the presidency she hopes to be part of.

But of course it did, you just had to pay attention. For instance, I don’t think she minced words at all about what their energy policy would entail. Everything. And the quicker the better. I think the reform message was fairly strong as well. For a guy who has let “hope” and “change” remain the “specifics” of the Obama campaign, this demand for specifics in a convention speech is rather amusing.

And then there’s this:

“I was mayor of my hometown,” she said. “And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”

Good line. But no responsibilities followed.

Pretty weak. Gee, Ezra, you think that perhaps anyone who lives in a town with a mayor might have a clue what responsibilities a mayor might have? I certainly didn’t need her to spell them out for me. What, instead, I’d like someone to do is tell me what the hell a “community organizer” does and why that provides the necessary experience to be president of the US.

The rest of Klein’s piece essentially claims she chose applause lines over substance. Apparently Klein missed the Democratic convention last week.

Another who apparently missed the Democrats at work last week was Mcswain of “Comments from Left Field

It’s late and I finally saw Palin’s speech via TIVO. It was the most mean-spirited, hateful and divisive speech I have ever witnessed in American politics. It was packed throughout with lies and deceptive omissions.

It was clear that she feels she has the right to define America and that her definition includes no place for progressives like myself. Sure, she coded her smears as against “community activists” and “San Francisco,” but we all knew she was smearing all progressives, liberals, Democrats, etc. I truly believe she hates people like me and does not consider us American.

The speech was George Bush on steroids. It was in the long tradition of Atwater and Rove. It had the Rove acolytes fingerprints all over it. It was pure wedge politics with the hope that in dividing America she tore off just a big enough chunk to narrowly win this election. It’s desperation. It’s their only shot.

Overall, it was simply shameful.

Apropos of the blog’s name, not much needs to be said about those remarks.

All-in-all, as to be expected, partisan analysis of a partisan speech. I thought she did well. I thought she did what she needed to do – i.e. introduce herself, fulfill her role as the ticket’s “attack baracuda”, and calm the nerves of those lily-livered Republicans who didn’t think she was up for to the job. Mission accomplished.

But as some of the detractors note, she is going to have to get into specifics in these last two months and describe policies and ideas in much more detail to demonstrate she has a handle on them.

It is interesting, however, to watch the left, not the right, suddenly attempt to make this a race between the Palin and Obama. That, of course, is a mistake. It demonstrates a certain level of fear, if not outright panic over the selection. But it seems they can’t help themselves. And the commenters and pundits can’t either – Palin is fresh meat. Biden is pork jerky. Obviously they’re going to concentrate on the new vs. the old.

As I’ve said many times, this is the most interesting election in my lifetime. And Sarah Palin introduction to the nation last night makes that even more true than before. She seems more than up to the task of the campaign and, frankly, may be the breath of fresh air the stale Washington DC crowd needs more than promises of “hopey-changitude”.

[Crossposted at QandO]

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