9:04: Rudy Giuliani is warming up the crowd. Rudy is one of the best stump speakers in either party. Starting with Michael Steele, the crowd has been getting progressively more wound up.
9:06: Rudy mocks Obama’s history as a “community organizer” “immersed in Chicago machine politics.” One who voted “present” over 130 times. Rudy is eviscerating Obama; keep it up!
9:08: “As President of the U.S., it’s not good enough to be present. You have to make a decision.” Perfect. “He spent most of his time as a celebrity Senator.” I thought when I saw Rudy at the 2004 convention that he could have been a comedian; his timing is superb. Now I’m starting to think he missed his calling.
9:10: Now he’s using Joe Biden’s and Hillary Clinton’s words against Obama, once again effectively. “We will be safe in his hands and our children will be safe in his hands.” Interesting–my wife’s first choice this year was Giuliani, precisely because her first priority is the safety of our children. A powerful endorsement.
9:14: The crowd is chanting “Drill baby, drill!” I’m joining in.
9:15: Above all else, John McCain will keep us on offense against terrorism at home and abroad. But do people still care? A good riff on the Democrats being afraid to offend the terrorists.
9:16: The Democrats gave up on Iraq. He quotes Harry Reid, “This war is lost.” So, he asks, who won? Al Qaeda? John McCain got it right, Barack Obama got it wrong. But does it matter?
9:20: He goes after Obama’s flip-flops, very effectively. A great line: “If I’m Joe Biden, I’m thinking I’d better get that VP thing in writing.” The facial expressions are priceless.
9:21: The U.N. Security Council gets a bigger boo than Obama was getting.
9:22: “Next time, call John McCain.” Rudy is positively eviscerating Obama. This is great stuff, and the crowd loves it.
9:24: “They don’t think the town Governor Palin was mayor of was cosmopolitan enough. Maybe they cling to religion there.” He’s leaving Obama for dead. He goes on with a strong endorsement of Sarah Palin.
Rudy KO’ed Barack Obama. Now it’s on to the main event. The crowd is going crazy for Sarah Palin; they want to show that the party is solidly behind her. Because it is.
9:34: She’s praising McCain, the traditional role of a VP. But she gives it the first personal twist of the speech: “As the mother of one of those troops, that’s exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief.” Powerful.
9:36: Now she’s introducing her family. Bristol and Willow are Alaska place names, by the way. Now the baby, and some words about special needs children.
9:37: So far I’d say she’s doing well. At first I thought she was reciting a little too much, but she seems to be relaxing a bit as she talks about the family.
9:41: A paean to the virtues of small town life, concluding with “and they’re always proud of America.” A shot at Michelle Obama, I think.
Now she’s getting warmed up and starting to interact with the crowd. A very funny line, especially here in Minnesota: “You know the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom? Lipstick.” That wasn’t in the prepared text.
9:43: This is dynamite:
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a “community organizer,” except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don’t quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren’t listening.
We tend to prefer candidates who don’t talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.
9:45: Now she’s talking about her accomplishments in Alaska. I wonder how much most people have actually heard about her record, amid all the nonsense of the last few days.
I came to office promising major ethics reform, to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is the law.
While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for.
That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay.
People will love that.
9:50: It’s interesting that early on, she was following the text verbatim. Now that she’s loosened up a little, she is playing with the text a little and making it a bit more informal in spots.
9:52: She uses her expertise in energy to dip into foreign policy:
With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers.
To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies … or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia … or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries … we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas.
And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we’ve got lots of both.
That’s a smart way to do it.
9:54: Now she’s piling on Barack Obama; this is tough:
But listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform – not even in the state senate.
This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word “victory” except when he’s talking about his own campaign.
9:59: Now, like Rudy, she is dealing crushing blows to Obama:
But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed … when the roar of the crowd fades away … when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot – what exactly is our opponent’s plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he’s done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger … take more of your money … give you more orders from Washington … and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world.
Love the styrofoam columns! Plus “self-designed Presidential seals!”
10:02: Building up to the climax:
My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of “personal discovery.” This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn’t just need an organizer.
And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, “fighting for you,” let us face the matter squarely.
There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you … in places where winning means survival and defeat means death … and that man is John McCain.
How did she do? She did fine; better than fine. Aspects of the delivery could have been better and the conclusion could have been stronger. But whatever test you think she was taking, she passed it. The partisans I talked to tonight thought her performance was fabulous. Neutral viewers who tuned in to see whether she seems ready for the Vice-Presidency had to be impressed. Palin showed that she will be effective on the campaign trail and will be a thorn in Barack Obama’s side from now until November.
ONE MORE THING: Since getting home, I’ve watched a replay of part of Palin’s speech on television. She looks very good, and on TV, the crowd reaction comes through better than I’d expected. Sitting where we are at PJTV, the noise is a little muted. On television, the crowd’s enthusiastic reaction comes through louder, and adds to the speech’s impact.
OK, JUST ONE MORE: Democrats say Palin was “alarmingly strong.” Sometimes you just have to laugh:
I completely misjudged how negative she would be. Her lines about Obama were brutally cutting….
Well, Obama’s a pretty inviting target, and she is, after all, the Veep nominee. It’s easy to be “brutally cutting” when your opponent has no apparent qualifications for the office he seeks.
OK, OK, THIS IS POSITIVELY THE LAST THING TONIGHT:
The Associated Press, a solidly Democratic institution, can’t deny that Sarah Palin socked it to the Dems tonight, as they headline: “Palin delivers star-turning performance at RNC.” The AP begins: “Sarah Palin delivered.” From there, they go on to do all they can to mitigate the basic point, describing Palin as “embattled,” and a “novice” who “lacked the soaring oratory skills of Obama.”
Which raises an interesting point: I really don’t believe the Republicans are smart enough to pull this off, but how can it be bad that our Vice-Presidential candidate is constantly being compared to the Dems’ Presidential candidate? More on this later.
The AP still holds out hope: “One speech does not a campaign make. … Even as she spoke, airplanes in Alaska were unloading reporters and political operatives sent to pore through her personal and public life.” It’s interesting, isn’t it? Where are the planeloads of “reporters and political operatives” poring through Barack Obama’s “personal and public life?” Those poor newspapers and other media organizations have been strapped for resources for so long that they just haven’t been able to look into Obama’s career and associations. Now, thankfully, planeloads of reporters have become available. Maybe when they’re done investigating Sarah Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend, do you think they will turn their attention to the Democrats’ nominee for President of the United States?
That was just a rhetorical question, of course. After all, news organizations have to have priorities!
The AP continues:
A big test comes at the Oct. 2 vice presidential debate with her Democratic counterpart, Joe Biden.
Fortunately, Biden is an idiot. Sarah Palin is pretty sure to disappoint the AP once again.
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