Palin-mania reached a new climax Wednesday night with the vice-presidential candidate's Republican National Convention speech. To say it has been "talked about" today is to say that Palin is "kind of conservative." After several days on hotel lockdown, Palin came out with a smile, proving that, if nothing else, she can outread George W. on a teleprompter any day.
Last night's speech received rave reviews from mainstream news sources. Here's a sampling:
"She Shoots! She Scores!" the Washington Post gushes.
"Palin came out swinging!" the Wall Street Journal cries.
"Palin Assails Critics and Electrifies Party!" the New York Times exclaims.
For a speech that, to my mind at least, did little beyond point fingers and reinforce how damn wholesome she is, the mainstream press seems awfully impressed with her.
More from the New York Times: "Ms. Palin's appearance electrified a convention that has been consumed by questions of whether she was up to the job, as she launched slashing attacks on Mr. Obama's claims of experience," Times reporters Elisabeth Bumiller and Michael Cooper report.
Gloria Steinem, meanwhile, hit back with a piece in the Los Angeles Times about why Palin is the wrong woman with the wrong plan and support for the wrong issues. Noting that "Palin shares nothing but a chromosome" with Hillary Clinton, Steinem reinforces the belief that voting for the McCain-Palin ticket out of spite would be akin to saying, "Somebody stole my shoes, so I'll amputate my legs." A poll of Michigan voters supports Steinem's thoughts on Palin, showing that independent voters are unimpressed with both the lady and her speech.
Minimal coverage was given to what Sarah Palin did not say, as well as to the fictions she upheld, including her continued insistence that she did not support the Bridge to Nowhere plan (when she did). The Post's Tom Shales went so far as to suggest that if the Republicans win, they may well attribute their victory to Palin. Though he feels her rhetoric is less than brilliant, he describes her as genuine and down to earth, traits that hold heavy sway with voters. And he may be on to something.
Following a week of Democrats taking the high ground in Denver, Palin dug in her canines. Though it has become something of a trend in the Democratic Party to avoid full-on character assault, Glenn Greenwald points out the potentially detrimental side effects of this strategy today, noting that as Republicans build a campaign on character alone, the nice-guy response could cost Obama the election. Nonetheless, the Daily Kos lends credence to the contrary view, with a personal story about getting turned off by the Republican Party, thanks to all of its Democrat-bashing.
In closing, I will turn to the words of Sarah Palin herself: "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?" What, indeed?