Thursday, September 04, 2008

Palin's Speech to the RNC

Palin makes her case for VP

After a less than spectacular performance from her Democrat counterpart Joe Biden, Sarah Palin didn't quite have her work cut out for her.

In her speech to the Republican National Convention, Palin forewent the partisan cheerleading normally expected of a Vice Presidential candidate and did something atypical: campaigned on why she should be Vice President: making promises to support the parents of children with special needs, outlining her previous political experience (serving on her PTA as well as being the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska), and pledged herself to be a responsible Vice President.

She did, naturally, take some time out to take some partisan shots at Barack Obama -- particularly his "bibles and guns" remarks of a few months ago, as well as noting that Obama has yet to author a single piece of legisation.

Palin briefly praised John McCain's service record and took note of the servicemen in her family -- One of her nephews is already serving abroad, and her eldest son Track will deploy to Iraq on September 11th.

(A John Stewart joke about whether or not mentioning this as an excuse to mention 9/11 will most certainly be forthcoming.)

In terms of her family life, Palin is either very confident or very foolish to be putting her family front and centre during her speech at a time when her family life is already adorning the front pages vis a vis the teenage pregnancy of her eldest daughter.

Palin lavished praise on small town America -- clearly playing to a Republican strength due to the typically conservative nature of the hinterland regions (regardless of what Little House on the Prairie or Dr Quinn Medicine Woman would have one believe).

Palin also embraced McCain's quickly-fading label of "maverick", insisting that the right reason to go to Washington is to oppose the status quo.

Palin insists that the reforms she put in place in Alaska -- passing new ethics legislation and eliminating various extravagances -- she can duplicate in Washington. She also noted John McCain's pledge to veto blatant earmarked pork barrel bills.

Palin also demonstrated some unexpected foreign policy chops, pointing to the Alaskan pipeline as a necessary tool to ensure energy security while Russia, Iran and Venezuala continue to position themselves to squeeze the global energy market.

While supporting drilling in protected areas, she also pledged her support for nuclear energy, clean coal and alternative energy sources -- promising to move forward solar, wind and geothermal energy. The goal, she insists, is to foster a dependence on "American energy", created with "American ingenuity" and "American workers".

Palin accused Barack Obama of wanting to increase the size of government -- which is ironic considering the extent to which the American government has grown under Republican government -- and pointed to "hundreds of billions of dollars in tax increases" as the "fine print in his economic plan".

"In politics there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers," Palin noted. "Then there are some, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change."

Whether or not one considers McCain's platform to actually represent the potential for change, the fact remains that McCain has brought about his fair share of changes: most notably, campaign finance reforms.

Palin pointed to the dislike of "lobbyists and special interests" as evidence that John McCain is the best man to be President. Rather fickle criteria, perhaps, but it does clearly inspire confidence in the Republican faithful.

All in all, Palin's performance is vastly superior to that of her Democrat opponent. Her speech itself points to her superior speaking skills: 45 minutes compared to 30.

Beyond that, however, many Americans should feel encouraged by a Vice Presidential candidate who, as opposed to merely campaigning for why their runningmate should be president, is actually willing to campaign on why she should be Vice President.

After all, whomever is elected Vice President will become the second most powerful person in the United States. Surely, the job deserves to be campaigned for.

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