When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.
What about Sarah Palin? She was impressive Friday morning, but will she have the "deer in the headlights look" tonight after the several rough days she's endured since? Would this gamble pay off?
Expectations on her have been great, and the speech was no exception. I think she met them as well as the "small town" rookie looked anything but tonight.
First, her heart had to have been warmed by the lengthy & enthusiastic ovation she received on her approached to the podium.
A few things were repeats of Friday's sound bytes, but good to hear again, particularly for the newcomers.
She (re)introduced the family, including her son who's enlisted in the Army, deploying to Iraq 9/11 of 2009. Speaking to those with loved ones in the military, she noted that, "As the mother of one of those troops, [McCain] is exactly the kind of man I want as Commander-in-Chief."
Shots of the family were touching, particularly for me Piper's hesitation to stand up and then enthusiastic waving to the crowd and the American viewers. We also saw Trig, her infant son with Down's Syndrome, with daddy waving his little hand for him toward the crowd.
She particularly addressed families of "special needs children," explaining that they would have a "friend and advocate in the White House."
Though not officially introduced, what seemed to be Bristol's male suitor was on hand, holding her hand on the stage. Can you imagine what his life has been like the past week?
Governor Palin introduced her parents, who had both worked at the elementary school. They taught her the simple lesson that "This is American and every woman can walk through every door of opposition." This, of course, got the ladies in the crowd jazzed and it was nice to have the GOP being the party inspiring women to follow their dreams.
She continued to share her feel good story about how she was just a small town hockey mom who signed up for the PTA and got involved to make the school, town, state, and country a better place.
One of her best funnies was when she asked, "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull?" The answer: "Lipstick."
She defended her experience as mayor by explaining what she did in that role, "what the job involves." She said, it was "sort of like a 'community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities." Ouch! Obama felt that one very much.
She portrayed herself as outside of the Washington circles, which means she's not corrupted by their ways. "I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment."
She then explained how that has been very costly to her as the media have relentlessly attacked her the past several days, but she said, "I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this great country."
She shared of her record of reform in Alaska and spoke of the need for "energy independence," doing a good job of drawing attention to that topic and national security, showing their superiority in both areas.
"Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America and he's worried someone won't read 'em their rights!"
Honing in on the essential difference in philosophy among conservatives & liberals, she reminded us that government is too big and he wants to make it bigger.
"What does he actually seek to accomplish ... after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger and take more of your money and give you more orders from Washington and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world."
In contrast to McCain's slogan, "Country First," Palin lumped Obama in with the category of self-serving politicians: "In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers ... and there are those, like John McCain, who use careers to promote change."
Being unique among politicians, McCain "doesn't run with the Washington herd" so America should "take the maverick out of the senate and put him in the White House."
Recognizing Obama's obvious oratorical gifts, Governor Palin noted that, "For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words, but for a lifetime John McCain has inspired with his deeds."
She closed by noting that the election seemed to be about character, hope, and change, but that the McCain/Palin ticket had the upperhand in each of these.
I was impressed by her presence on such a grand stage, as I was Friday. She certainly didn't come across as intimidated or as a newbie. I was surprised that she went after Obama at all, let alone with such vigor and boldness. It demonstrated toughness on her part, as a competent politicial foe, not just some "stewardess" as Bill Maher called her. She's going to be formidable and I look forward to the VP debate of October 2nd.
I'm concede nothing, but if they don't, I challenge the GOP to come up with someone better for the top of the ticket in 2012 than Sarah Palin. I don't think they can.
Watch the video of Gov. Palin's speech.