The Alaskan Governor apparently gave a barnstorming and electrifying speech in St Paul last night after a rocky couple of days.
The saying ‘events dear boy, events’ may be cliché bit it’s also true.
And Palin’s nascent VeePee campaign looked like it could have been derailed before it really began by a string of revelations from the inane (her husband has a drunk driving conviction from all of 21 years ago) to the more serious – they included the disclosure that her 17 year old daughter is pregnant, which should really be neither here not there, and some flat-earth views (she’s a a climate change denier and is very much in favour of oil drilling in Alaska).
But her speech last night acted as the galvanising force that was sorely needed by the faltering campaign of John McCain. She will be divisive but she proved that she is made of strong stuff and will prove a tough foe for Joe Biden during their one-on-one debate. She has what the Americans call a good ‘narrative’ (life story and views) that will appeal to voters in America’s conservative heartland. Her speech last night was in the attack dog tradition associated with vice-presidential candidates. She came out with a couple of great lines, not least her counter-attack on the Obama campaign’s portrayal of her as mayor of a tiny town with no real national experience. Her response played on his former job before he became a Senator in Illinois.
“I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a ‘community organizer,’ except that you have actual responsibilities.”
She also tartly chided the media, element of which have led an onslaugh against her.
“I’m not a member of the permanent political establishment. And I’ve learned quickly, these past few days, that if you’re not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone. But here’s a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I’m not going to Washington to seek their good opinion; I’m going to Washington to serve the people of this country.”
We live in an instant society. We expect everything to be delivered in a flash, even reasoned opinions and judgements on political issues and candidates. That is banal. It was made even more banal by the fact that nobody had heard of Sarah Pailin but yet it didn’t stop pundits across the media from becoming instantaneous wise omniscient King Solomons.
We’re like that with everything. When the economic bubble was expanding everybody was in denial, suggesting that the weight of history meant nothing, and for once the property boom and credit boom and high consumer spending could continue indefinitely… that we had somehow discovered a counter cycle. And we were wrong… We will realise just how wrong we were in the coming months and years. And then it will all start to recover and optimism will return and once again everybody will begin talking in expansionary terms again and will quickly forget the painfull lesson we learned…
The only point I have made about Ms Palin is that we should at least wait a couple of weeks to see how she gets on before making judgements about how good or bad she is.
Incidentally, realclearpolitics.com is a really good site if you are looking for the full range of opinion on American politics.