View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Palin Speech: Good, but ...

I actually stayed up to hear Governor Sarah Palin's speech (my normal school night bedtime is about 9:30).

I think she dispelled fears that she was lightweight, or would cave under the anti-Palin onslaught (MSNBC - the Obama network - leading the way).

She was funny and articulate, and began to address issues (such as energy policy, about which she has knowledge) and foreign affairs. Yes, I know she had help writing the speech, but that's a common practice so I don't hold that against her. Moreover, no matter how well-written, a speech needs to be well-delivered for it to work - and she certainly did a great job. Her accent - Midwest? -and folksy style played well. If she campaigns a lot in Western states and places like Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia and Pennsylvania, she may help to give those states to McCain. I think she will really appeal to moderates, conservatives, and small town folks.

My quibbles:

It went a bit long. It was as if she was trying to pack too many different things in.

There are some issues she could have addressed to counter some of the attacks. For example, she used the Bridge to Nowhere story again, but she could have addressed the flip-flop charge by saying something like, "Yes, when I was campaigning for governor, I supported the project. But once elected, once I saw the overall budget and the needs across the state, I realized that bridge was not the best way to use to money, so I decided against it. That's not a flip flop - that's showing judgment and leadership."

She only indirectly alluded to abortion when she talked about the birth of her fifth child, who has Down syndrome. It was nice to see her reach out to families with special needs children. Still, I would have liked to have seen something more direct.

My biggest problem, though, is she got too sarcastic and sometimes unfair in her attacks on Obama. Her tone didn't cross the line into outright nastiness, but it came close. It made me wonder what's going to happen on the campaign trail as voters and reporters challenge her. How will she respond?

Still, overall it was a good, solid, even inspiring speech. She gave herself and the campaign a real boost. Two weeks ago, I would have said the odds were in Obama's favor. Now, I think McCain might just have an edge. And if the energy he's shown since picking her continues, if the enthusiasm among his supporters continues to grow, and if she performs on the road the way she has so far, I think we may just have our first woman Vice President.


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