Critical Reactions To Sarah Palin's Speech

Will Bunch:

Yes, it was a great speech politically, and a great night for her family, but an empty speech for America -- and for America's families. It was defined by its lowest moment, Palin's shameless lie about "the Bridge to Nowhere." This was a Speech to Nowhere.

Adam McGourney, NY Times (registration required):

Clearly, her big task on Wednesday and in the days ahead was to drive home the image the McCain campaign has sought to attach to this unexpected pick: the corruption-fighting governor from outside Washington, a socially conservative mother of five who can easily connect with working-class Americans in a way that Mr. Obama has so far had trouble doing. She scorned the trappings of elitism — she talked about driving herself to work, and how she put the Alaska governor’s plane up for sale on eBay — as she signaled that she would serve as Mr. McCain’s ambassador to Americans who think the government has lost touch with their values and needs. She went as far to compare herself to a haberdasher from Missouri who became vice president and later president, Harry S. Truman.

The problem for Ms. Palin is that that story has been tripped up by disclosures about her professional and personal life, enough so that at least until Wednesday, she had become a bigger figure at this convention than Mr. McCain.

John Dickerson, Slate:
John McCain will win by making Barack Obama look un-American. That's sensitive stuff. Hillary Clinton destroyed herself trying to use it. But Palin may know how to use it. Palin's attacks are potentially dangerous because they are aimed at the crucial voting bloc of women and middle-class voters who can see their lives in her life. Obama talked about coming from a middle-class life. Palin still lives one. She could improvise a joke about being a hockey mom—what's the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom? Lipstick—because she is one.

The secondary purpose of Palin's speech may be the most important in the long run. She wasn't just launching a new brand (her own). She was relaunching a whole new product: the McCain-Palin ticket. Experience is no longer the central argument. Reform is. McCain and Palin are presenting themselves as leaders who can deliver because they speak and act regardless of the political risk. "Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election," said Palin. "In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."

It was a great act—but it was an act, a one-shot show. Palin will have to keep it up for the next nine weeks, when there won't be time to practice or the opportunity to sand down that line to keep it from sounding small and mean. This is a test Obama has already passed. And her sarcasm will wear thin quickly. Reagan could do it because he was a sunny optimist offering a vision of the future. Palin didn't do much of that, other than by offering platitudes (hey, she had a lot of ground to cover).

The Rude Pundit:

So, like, what the fuck does the governor of Alaska do? You can talk about getting rid of corruption as much as you want, but you're still lappin' at that pipeline like a rim job-givin' man whore. Essentially, one's job as governor of Alaska is to keep the oil companies happy as a pig in shit. Because without them, Alaska would still just be a territory of outlaws, moose hunters, and prospectors wondering what the fuck to do about the Inuit.

And to answer another of Palin's statements, um, a community organizer in the projects of Chicago is probably a little more active than a small town mayor in a distant suburb of Alaska. All Mayor Palin had to deal with was tax abatements for the new Target and the occasional walrus attack.

By the way, using one's PTA membership as an example of one's experience to be the vice president of the United States is like saying that because you once took an aspirin, you can handle your speedballs.

So the reason many of us are saying that Sarah Palin is unqualified is not sexism or anti-middle class bias or sucking up to the Washington power structure or whatever stupid ass excuse the right desperately is clinging to in order to calm that gut churn they're feeling. No, the reason we think Sarah Palin is unqualified is because she's unqualified.