Thursday, September 04, 2008

Sarah Palin's Big Speech

Sarah Palin's speech last night fired up the cultural conservatives and libertarians in the Republican Party. She defended her selection as John McCain's running mate, and blamed the ensuing controversy on, who else, elites:
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.
Attacking elites is time honored stuff, but a bit disingenuous given that her party has been in charge of our country for the last eight years.
Unfortunately for Sarah Palin, the buzz over her improbable nomination isn't just coming from Washington. Her nomination may be shoring up John McCain's standing among his own party, but after several days had not done anything to bring along independent voters, including women.

A Gallup analysis of its tracking poll shows that McCain's support among Republican white women improved five points, from 85 percent to 90 percent in the period of August 30 to September 1. In contrast, Obama showed an eight point bump among independent white women. Obama improved 11 points among independent white men.
I expect these numbers to move a bit in McCain's direction now that the GOP convention is fully underway. But so far, Palin's selection has not helped him among independents.
Adam Nagourney describes the road ahead for her in the New York Times:
From here, Ms. Palin moves into a national campaign where she will have to appeal to audiences that are not necessarily primed to adore her. She will have to navigate far less controlled campaign settings that will test not only her political skills but also her knowledge of foreign and domestic policy. And she must convince the country she is prepared to be vice president at a time when the definition of that job has been elevated to the status of governing partner — something voters might have been reminded of Wednesday by images of Vice President Dick Cheney embarking on a mission to war-torn Georgia.
“The people who are in the hall — they’ve already been sold, they are the choir,” said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri,. “Now the question for her and for McCain and for everybody who is inside the hall is how to clarify their message to the American people.”
So far, it's only the choir that's been clapping along with Sarah Palin.

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