So it seems at the moment. The woman is some sort of answer to the Obama phenomenon. Did you know that North Alaska is sunny half the year and dark half the year because Sarah Palin needed the reading light, then wanted a nap? (see the end for more!)
Stories abound about Sarah Palin. Her electrifying performance at the Republican National Convention was watched by perhaps a record number of people in the US - 37 million, almost as many as Barack Obama.
Time Magazine attempts a look at what makes her tick.
Everyone can agree that Palin is no Beltway creature, but in less than a week, the country has uncovered at least half a dozen new Palin personas that are competing to share top billing on her Wikipedia entry. She's a beauty queen turned sportscaster turned governor. An anticorruption crusader in an oil-soaked, scandal-racked state capital. A caribou hunter who also showcases her femininity in fashion shoots. An Evangelical with very sharp elbows and worldly ambitions.
The Economist weighed in last week with The maverick and the hockey mom. I love the first bit:
BEFORE Barack Obama’s big open-air speech in Denver last week, some
Christian conservatives prayed for rain. That was in poor taste. But
this is a competitive election, and anything the right can do, the left
can do better. When the news came that a hurricane might strike New
Orleans during the Republican convention in St Paul, Minnesota this
week, Michael Moore, a film-maker, said it was “proof that there is a
God in heaven”.
Since voters say they care most about energy, and since she governs
an oil state, she spoke about it at length. She scoffed at Democrats
who oppose drilling for oil on the ground that it won’t solve all
America’s energy problems—“as if we didn’t know that already”—and
promised to promote nuclear, solar, wind, geothermal energy and clean
coal, too. The crowd chanted “Drill, baby, drill!”
An interview with Todd Palin (husband) seems ridiculously casual to me, but the down-to-earth ordinary bloke plays well. The interviewer is actually pretty capable in the way she asks the questions seemingly off the cuff. Worth a watch if you want to understand them better.
Todd knew he would marry he one day from soon after they first met. Not the ugliest girl in the class! She was Miss Wasilla 1984:
John McCain has varied his speech quite a bit since:
The old sections have just been condensed, so that McCain
spends just a few sentences each on a standard set of topics:
out-of-control spending that has "got to stop"; veterans as a "company
of heroes" that he will never let down; the need to produce more energy
domestically and "stop sending $700 billion overseas to countries that
don't like us very much"; reforming the common congressional practice
of "earmarking" federal money for special projects; today's "tough
times" for many families; and his pledge to "keep this nation safe"
from Russian aggression, Iran's nuclear ambitions and other threats.
McCain is a lot heavier on empathy than solutions, though. He
spends nearly all his time defining problems, and very little time
giving detail on how he would fix them.
Various races in the US are tightening up in McCains favour, now that Palin is on-board, although it seems far to early to say if this is a trend.
The press seems to be having a field day with negative commentary . The New York Times could be expected to be upset that someone might interfere with their chosen candidate, but the scale of their bitterness is frightening:
If he seriously thought this first-term governor — with less than two
years in office — was qualified to be president, if necessary, at such
a dangerous time, it raises profound questions about his judgment. If
the choice was, as we suspect, a tactical move, then it was shockingly
But that is not what troubled us most about her remarks —
and, remember, if they were scripted, that just means that they reflect
Mr. McCain’s views all the more closely. Rather, it was the sense that
thoughtfulness, knowledge and experience are handicaps for a president
in a world populated by Al Qaeda terrorists, a rising China, epidemics
of AIDS, poverty and fratricidal war in the developing world and deep
economic distress at home.
In a dangerous world, Americans need a president who knows that real strength requires serious thought and preparation.
And this comment could easily refer to Mr Obama, who is actually running for President rather than the second job.
The interviews made clear why Americans should worry about
Ms. Palin’s thin résumé and lack of experience. Consider her
befuddlement when Mr. Gibson referred to President Bush’s “doctrine”
and her remark about having insight into Russia because she can see it
from her state.
We should also remember that Al Gore, who is no rocket scientist, was VP for 8 years and apparently did a good job (I don't recall hearing huge complaints). Surely all sides can agree that Clinton was and is a very capable bloke, despite his flaws. Gore is no Clinton, and didn't need to be. But Palin seems more grounded and perhaps actually more effective than Gore. The Times is on thin ice with this sort of nasty and picky editorial.
More generally, supporters of McCain / Palin complain that Mr Obama gets better treatment in interviews. This comment is doing the rounds:
Perhaps the shock of having an idiot from Alaska (of all places) take the country by storm, is forcing the papers to do their best to shoot Mrs Palin down. Some think (hope?) she has peaked such as this senior adviser to the Gore 2000 Presidential Campaign, who writes:
Frum thinks McCain has found a path to the White House.
I think McCain and Palin have peaked. The debates are coming—where
their camouflage will be stripped away. Recession, McCain’s echo of the
Bush-Cheney policies, his admitted ignorance of economics, his
indifference to 47 million Americans without health insurance and his
bellicose unilateralism will all come home to roost. Palin will remain
interesting, but become increasingly irrelevant—unless she memorably
reveals her vacuity. If Obama does his part—and he will—the voters will
figure things out.
Others (such as this presumably McCain-supporting journalist) blame Mr Obama:
Now, facing John McCain's blistering ads, Obama seems unable to
fight fire with fire. The Democratic rank and file are furious (while
simultaneously denouncing McCain's negativity).
Obama, they may be realizing, doesn't know how to close the deal.
the Obama campaign has vowed, once again, to take the gloves off and go
after McCain hard, linking him to President Bush and highlighting the
fact that the Arizona senator is out of touch.
One flaw with
this supposed course correction is that it isn't one.
McCain-Bush-Economy has been Obama's message for months now. Indeed,
ABC News' Jake Tapper wrote on his blog that this is actually the
fourth time Team Obama has pledged to engage in a bracing round of
He quotes from a recent ad, which has not exactly hit the mark:
"He admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an
e-mail, still doesn't understand the economy and favors $200 billion in
new tax cuts for corporations, but almost nothing for the middle
class." All the while it shows ancient computers and a cordless phone
that looks like a World War II-era walkie-talkie.
What's new is the charge of computer illiteracy and the blatant attempt
to attack McCain as too old for the job -- and that speaks volumes.
First, the ad is dishonest. McCain has been one of the Senate's leading authorities on telecom and the Internet.
2000, Forbes magazine called him the "Senate's savviest technologist."
That same year, Slate's Jacob Weisberg gushed that McCain was the most
"cybersavvy" of all the presidential candidates that year, a crop that
included none other than Al Gore.
Oh dear oh dear.
One reason McCain is not versed in the mechanical details of sending
e-mail and typing on a keyboard is that the North Vietnamese broke his
fingers and shattered both of his arms. As Forbes, Slate and the Boston
Globe reported in 2000, McCain's injuries make using a keyboard
painfully laborious. He mostly relies on his wife and staff to show him
e-mails and websites, though he says he's getting up to speed.
"It's extraordinary," Obama spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said, "that someone
who wants to be our president and our commander in chief doesn't know
how to send an e-mail." For the record, President Clinton sent exactly
two e-mails while in office, according to the archives in his
Well, I — I don't know Gov. Palin. I have not met her before. I had a
brief conversation with her — after she was selected to congratulate
her and — and wish her luck. But, not too much luck on the campaign
trial. And — she seems to have a compelling life story. Obviously,
she's — a fine — mother and — up-and-coming public servant.
So, it — it's too early for me to gauge — what kind of running mate
she'll be. My sense is that she subscribes to John McCain's agenda. And
ultimately, this is going to be about where I want to take the country
and where Joe Biden wants to take the country, and where John McCain
and his running mate want to take the country.
Finally, for a bit of light relief:
And I'm sorry this post is so long, it's a topic I've been collecting for for a while, and haven't got around to posting!