SHOTS ACROSS THE BOW
by Charles Jackson
Since her speech at the Republican National Convention, much has been said and written â an avalanche of both enthusiasm and distain about Sarah Palin. Now it's my turn, to elaborate in some depth on my comments about Palin posted September 25th. This is the first of two installments.
Before John McCain's bombshell announcement of Palin's selection to be his running mate, conventional wisdom suggested three more likely possibilities: Joe Lieberman, Tom Ridge and Mitt Romney.
McCain-Lieberman? The Grumpy Old Men ticket. One big snooze. Joe Lieberman is tied to McCain's hip on the war in Iraq and that's a good thing. The Democrats would like to stone Joe and that, too, makes him okay in my book. But he votes with Harry Reid most of the time and his abortion rights position makes Lieberman anathema to a large segment of the Republican base.
McCain-Ridge? Tom Ridge hasn't been in the public eye since he left Homeland Security in 2004. He served two terms as governor of Pennsylvania until 2001. Being out of the spotlight for four years and not having an electoral base for seven, doesn't make for a good resume if you're looking for a VP candidate with current public service credentials. Ridge also has the same problem on abortion as Liberman. McCain-Romney? Mitt Romney comes across a a game show host soo eager, too pretty, never a wrinkle, with a prissy sounding name like Mitt. His record as governor of Massachusetts left him clearly vulnerable as a flip flopper on several key issues including abortion. Then there was all that chatter that he and McCain didn't like each other very much. Oh, there was also that Mormon thing. BP (Before Palin), the McCain campaign was going nowhere. He became the nominee because he was the last man standing. Rudy Giuliani's celebrity status and 9-11 mantra wore thin. Fred Thompson, to say the least, didn't have the proverbial fire in the belly. Mike Huckabee, an early media darling, faded as his tenure as governor of Arkansas was scrutinized and found wanting. Plus I don't think Americans like preachers running for president And Mitt Romney was a victim of his own slickness. BP, conservatives had serious problems with that last man standing as their Republican nominee. The base was lethargic.
The McCain campaign didnât seem to have a focus or clear message. The biggest problem of all was that cool, telegenic, rock star Democratic senator from Illinois. He gave great speeches before adoring crowds. The Democratic base especially the kook fringe was all fired up, and ready to go, the media worshiped the new Messiah. How could cranky, dour, old John McCain compete with all that? Then came Sarah! The skies cleared. The heavens opened. The angels sang and the bells rung. Her speech was electrifying. Millions of Americna were just plain blown away. I jumped out of my chair several times yelling "Right on!" Rush Limbaugh said he wished the speech had never ended.
With poise, confidence, stinging humor and soaring prose, Sarah hit all the right notes 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. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, not just to mingle with the right people. Then, there was the memorable line "I love those hockey moms. You know the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."
The media was Obama-like ecstatic. The AP reported on September 7th "With a forceful speech that served as her introduction to millions of Americans on Wednesday, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin seduced many on television who had spent days doubting her candidacy." "It wasn't just a home run," said CNN's Wolf Blitzer; "it may have been a grand slam." "A very auspicious debut," said NBC's Tom Brokaw. It was a "perfect populist pitch", said CBS' Jeff Greenfield. "Terrific",said Mort Kondracke on Fox News Channel. "A star is born",said Chris Wallace on Fox. "A star is born", Blitzer said. "A star is born", said Anderson Cooper on CNN.
That was then. In a little less than a month, they have turned on Palin with a vicious frenzy. The media giveth and taketh away. Moreover, now some conservatives, who had at first circled the wagons to defend her, are having second thoughts. Kathleen Parker TownHall.com, Rich Lowry National Review, Phillip Klein American Spectator, David Brooks New York Times have all expressed second thoughts - Palin is simply not ready to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Tonight Biden-Palin debate is HUGE. Stay tuned.