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Thread: The Second Coming of Ronald Reagan

  1. #1
    http://www.time.com/time/politics/ar...838553,00.html


    Time.comCNN.comSearch Archive Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Sarah Palin's Breakout Night
    Thursday, Sep. 04, 2008 By NANCY GIBBS / ST. PAUL

    Republican Vice Presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin blows a kiss from the podium during her address to the 2008 Republican National Convention on Sept. 3
    Alex Wong / Getty ImagesArticle ToolsPrintEmailReprintsSphereAddThis RSSYahoo! Buzz You practically expected Sarah Palin to wear a cape when she landed center stage Wednesday night. She was like a one woman Fantastic Four, her faults invisible to the faithful, her strength deployed to close a 20 point white voter gender gap in key swing states, her blazing novelty enough to ignite the hall, and her biography so elastic that everyone from the gun owners to the PTA moms to the Pentecostals to the first timers felt warm in the embrace. "Sa-rah! Sa-rah!" the delegates roared, and the hall that felt like a tomb on Monday might as well have seen the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan, so ecstatic was the crowd.

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    The mood felt very different than it had on either the stunted opening night or during the respectful valedictories of Tuesday. Now the speakers blared "Everyday People" as delegates felt license to dance (the Bushes had left; the storm had died away) and at any mention of energy policy erupted into chants of "Drill, Baby, Drill!!!" In place of the old white men, the podium featured a Latino farmer's son turned California state senator, impressive female CEOs and entrepreneurs, conservative black activists, apostate Democrats and, to deafening cheers, loyal Republican losers who raised the curtain on the surprise winner.

    There was Mitt Romney, arguing that "We need change all right " change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington!" " a transformational feat familiar to the formerly pro-choice, pro *** rights governor of Massachusetts. Then there was Mike Huckabee, who thanked the media for unifying the Republican party and praised Barack Obama's historic achievement before filleting him for his "ideas from Europe" and his willingness to "give madmen the benefit of the doubt." Rudy Giuliani, the veteran New York prosecutor doing part jury summation, part standup, swept swing voters into his arms and danced. He told McCain's heroic story yet again, but this time it was as a relentless contrast to the Ivy League guy who rose through Chicago machine politics to reach the state legislature and vote "present" 130 times because "deciding 'yes' or 'no' was too tough," on his way to becoming a "celebrity senator" who "has never led anything. Nothing. Nada." By the end he was ignoring the teleprompter, riffing his speech, eating into Palin's primetime, and the crowd loved it.

    But it was Palin that the world was waiting for, at the climax of a media frenzy that Team McCain gleefully fed. Seldom has a candidate arrived for a showdown with curiosity so high and expectations so low. Earlier in the day a phalanx of powerhouse Republican women had gathered to denounce the "outrageous smear campaign" against Palin. They were "enraged," "insulted," "offended" by the questions raised about her qualifications or decision to take on the race while having five kids. Palin rolled right on down the tracks they had laid. In a few short days, she said, she had learned 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," she declared. "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 great country." And the Louisiana and Georgia delegations waved their fingers at the men in the network skyboxes.

    Somehow her speech swelled from the 17 minutes promised in the morning to 37 minutes by nightfall; there was suddenly a lot to say, for a woman who's had no choice but to make this up as she goes along. By the time she had gotten through her first two or three punchlines it was clear a new star had been born, one who could go places John McCain may not even know exist and say things he could never confess.

    Presenting herself as the Hockey Mom turned local official, she stared down Obama's resume. "Since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

    She talked with the utmost respect about "Senator John S. McCain," like she was describing a hero she'd once gotten to meet, which wasn't far from the truth. This is an archetypal tale she was telling, Mrs. Smith goes to Washington, the story of small town, common-sensible people who love their country and know how things actually work and if we'd just send them to Washington instead of the phonies and philosophers it wouldn't be long before things were fixed. She'd already done it as governor, she said, looked after the taxpayer's interests, sold the state plane on Ebay, fired the governor's personal chef " "although I've got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her."

    The day's theme was Reform, which gave Palin a chance to sell the central premise of her presence on the ticket, as a fearless crusader willing to confront entrenched interests to serve the common interest. Liberals are bad because they grow government: mavericks are good because they weed-whack it. This is the story McCain wants to tell, and Palin is his wingman. "Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election," she said. "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."

    She spoke with far less respect of her opponents, showing that she was by no means reluctant to take a stick to what she portrayed as Obama's pretentions and presumptions. "This is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform " not even in the state senate," she said. "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. 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?"

    A campaign is partly a battle over images, and all candidates are greedy " they want to define not only their own image but also their opponents'. The acceptance speech is the only time anyone gets a clear shot at both. Palin hit her targets like a sharpshooter.

    Through the evening, her daughter Bristol and her fiance Levi sat in the front row, the focus of a thousand cameras and forty million attitudes, holding hands, hanging tough, thinking lord knows what as they face a trial that nothing in their short lives could have prepared them for. With the whole family gathered on stage when Palin finished, she held baby Trig in her arms and you felt the shattered glass raining gently down. It was a night when everyone was tested in different ways, everyone had a surprise, and so much remains to be seen.

  2. #2
    http://www.time.com/time/politics/ar...838553,00.html


    Time.comCNN.comSearch Archive Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Sarah Palin's Breakout Night
    Thursday, Sep. 04, 2008 By NANCY GIBBS / ST. PAUL

    Republican Vice Presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin blows a kiss from the podium during her address to the 2008 Republican National Convention on Sept. 3
    Alex Wong / Getty ImagesArticle ToolsPrintEmailReprintsSphereAddThis RSSYahoo! Buzz You practically expected Sarah Palin to wear a cape when she landed center stage Wednesday night. She was like a one woman Fantastic Four, her faults invisible to the faithful, her strength deployed to close a 20 point white voter gender gap in key swing states, her blazing novelty enough to ignite the hall, and her biography so elastic that everyone from the gun owners to the PTA moms to the Pentecostals to the first timers felt warm in the embrace. "Sa-rah! Sa-rah!" the delegates roared, and the hall that felt like a tomb on Monday might as well have seen the Second Coming of Ronald Reagan, so ecstatic was the crowd.

    Related Articles
    Palin and the Parent Trap
    Sarah Palin's complicated life story speaks to the agonizing choices that women face

    The Palin Pick: Bold or Disastrous?
    John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin as his running mate will either turn out to be a brilliant wa...
    Why McCain Picked Palin
    John McCain needs to persuade swing voters that he's willing to take on the Republican establishment...
    Klein: Obama's Speech 'Very Tough'
    Barack Obama's acceptance speech tonight wasn't what people have come to expect from a Barack Obama ...
    A Slow, Shaky Start for the GOP
    It's time to wrap up Day One of the Republican convention, where delegates of the Grand Old Party ha...

    The mood felt very different than it had on either the stunted opening night or during the respectful valedictories of Tuesday. Now the speakers blared "Everyday People" as delegates felt license to dance (the Bushes had left; the storm had died away) and at any mention of energy policy erupted into chants of "Drill, Baby, Drill!!!" In place of the old white men, the podium featured a Latino farmer's son turned California state senator, impressive female CEOs and entrepreneurs, conservative black activists, apostate Democrats and, to deafening cheers, loyal Republican losers who raised the curtain on the surprise winner.

    There was Mitt Romney, arguing that "We need change all right " change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington!" " a transformational feat familiar to the formerly pro-choice, pro *** rights governor of Massachusetts. Then there was Mike Huckabee, who thanked the media for unifying the Republican party and praised Barack Obama's historic achievement before filleting him for his "ideas from Europe" and his willingness to "give madmen the benefit of the doubt." Rudy Giuliani, the veteran New York prosecutor doing part jury summation, part standup, swept swing voters into his arms and danced. He told McCain's heroic story yet again, but this time it was as a relentless contrast to the Ivy League guy who rose through Chicago machine politics to reach the state legislature and vote "present" 130 times because "deciding 'yes' or 'no' was too tough," on his way to becoming a "celebrity senator" who "has never led anything. Nothing. Nada." By the end he was ignoring the teleprompter, riffing his speech, eating into Palin's primetime, and the crowd loved it.

    But it was Palin that the world was waiting for, at the climax of a media frenzy that Team McCain gleefully fed. Seldom has a candidate arrived for a showdown with curiosity so high and expectations so low. Earlier in the day a phalanx of powerhouse Republican women had gathered to denounce the "outrageous smear campaign" against Palin. They were "enraged," "insulted," "offended" by the questions raised about her qualifications or decision to take on the race while having five kids. Palin rolled right on down the tracks they had laid. In a few short days, she said, she had learned 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," she declared. "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 great country." And the Louisiana and Georgia delegations waved their fingers at the men in the network skyboxes.

    Somehow her speech swelled from the 17 minutes promised in the morning to 37 minutes by nightfall; there was suddenly a lot to say, for a woman who's had no choice but to make this up as she goes along. By the time she had gotten through her first two or three punchlines it was clear a new star had been born, one who could go places John McCain may not even know exist and say things he could never confess.

    Presenting herself as the Hockey Mom turned local official, she stared down Obama's resume. "Since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

    She talked with the utmost respect about "Senator John S. McCain," like she was describing a hero she'd once gotten to meet, which wasn't far from the truth. This is an archetypal tale she was telling, Mrs. Smith goes to Washington, the story of small town, common-sensible people who love their country and know how things actually work and if we'd just send them to Washington instead of the phonies and philosophers it wouldn't be long before things were fixed. She'd already done it as governor, she said, looked after the taxpayer's interests, sold the state plane on Ebay, fired the governor's personal chef " "although I've got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her."

    The day's theme was Reform, which gave Palin a chance to sell the central premise of her presence on the ticket, as a fearless crusader willing to confront entrenched interests to serve the common interest. Liberals are bad because they grow government: mavericks are good because they weed-whack it. This is the story McCain wants to tell, and Palin is his wingman. "Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election," she said. "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."

    She spoke with far less respect of her opponents, showing that she was by no means reluctant to take a stick to what she portrayed as Obama's pretentions and presumptions. "This is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform " not even in the state senate," she said. "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. 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?"

    A campaign is partly a battle over images, and all candidates are greedy " they want to define not only their own image but also their opponents'. The acceptance speech is the only time anyone gets a clear shot at both. Palin hit her targets like a sharpshooter.

    Through the evening, her daughter Bristol and her fiance Levi sat in the front row, the focus of a thousand cameras and forty million attitudes, holding hands, hanging tough, thinking lord knows what as they face a trial that nothing in their short lives could have prepared them for. With the whole family gathered on stage when Palin finished, she held baby Trig in her arms and you felt the shattered glass raining gently down. It was a night when everyone was tested in different ways, everyone had a surprise, and so much remains to be seen.

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