Sarah…Decent Speech, But A Big Strategic Mistake

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Conventions, Independents, McCain, Palin, Republicans

My questions…as addressed to Sarah Palin…

  • Why give a speech that was really designed to rally the Republican base when John McCain consistently gets more Republican support than Obama gets Democratic support?
  • Why go on the attack with petty snipes at Obama when you have the chance to frame yourself as a true, transformative political figure and rise above it all?
  • Why tell everybody about John McCain? Everybody already knows about John McCain. He was a POW. He’s a maverick. We get that. But we know pretty much ZERO about you. This was your time and all we really get to know was what the McCain campaign has already told us.
  • Why not give us a sense of how you see America and where it needs to go? After all, the Republican party is supposed to be the party of ideas. I now know a lot of what you don’t like, but why not tell me what you do like?
  • Do you really think people want to vote for a pitbull? I know it seemed like a clever line at the time, but let’s not forget that the reason Hillary Clinton lost to Obama is she didn’t show her softer side. Once she did, BAM, she won New Hampshire. In other words, the “street fighter” card isn’t really working this year. We all assume you’re tough if you’re in politics, so maybe show us something different?

But Sarah, don’t just take my word for it…listen to these Independent voters in Michigan…

“I was completely underwhelmed. She was a Republican novelty act with a sophomoric script. It was not even a speech I would expect for a someone running for the local PTA, much less for vice president.”

– George Lentz, 66, Southfield independent

“Who is Sarah Palin? I’m sorry but I still don’t know anymore about this young lady tonight than I did last night … The way it looks to me, she’s the Republican vice presidential nominee for one reason: because Hillary wasn’t selected.”

– Mike Kosh, 38, West Bloomfield independent

“Sarah Palin is a self-described ‘pitbull with lipstick.’ She spent little time helping Americans learn who she is. She is a cool, poised speaker, but her speech contained few statements about policy or the party platform. … I am not convinced that Palin’s experience as a mayor or governor in Alaska meet the qualifications to be vice president much less one stroke or heart attack away from being commander in chief.”

– Ilene Beninson, 52, Berkley independent

“Nothing worked for me. I found her barrage of snide remarksand distortions to be a major turn off. She is not a class act. The most important point she made is that she will be an effective attack dog.”

– Jan Wheelock, 58, Royal Oak independent

Yes, just a few voices, but my guess is that the large majority of independents want to see a lot more out of you than the speech you gave if you have ANY chance of winning their vote. In fact, you may have lost a good portion of them last night.

And remember, Obama is actually offering “hope.” Whether it’s false hope has yet to be determined, but folks are probably more willing to bet on that then more partisan attacks from somebody who they believe has less experience than Obama.

In any event, good luck!


This entry was posted on Thursday, September 4th, 2008 and is filed under Conventions, Independents, McCain, Palin, Republicans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

10 Responses to “Sarah…Decent Speech, But A Big Strategic Mistake”

  1. Stuperb Says:

    Justin, I agree with you on most of this, and I’ll add one more:

    It’s downright insulting to mock someone for being “just” a community activist. It’s also quite surprising; I’d think the GOP would embrace a the who helps to effect change and make people’s lives better via a non-government, local, grass-roots effort. Isn’t that what the bootstraps party is supposed to be about?

  2. Rob Says:

    Not her fault; she just read it, she didn’t write it.

  3. Jimmy the Dhimmi Says:

    And remember, Obama is actually offering “hope.”

    Wow. He’s got my vote then. Why should Palin be so vague and non-specific when she could offer “hope” and be done with it. Wait a second, I take that back, she mentioned the word change several times last night. I guess that means she outlined a clear vision for America, just like Obama did.

  4. markg8 Says:

    Sarah Palin took a town with $0 debt in 1996 and left it $22 million in the hole in 2002, mostly from the hockey rink/sports complex she shoved down their throats which never became the money generator she promised it would. Another white elephant from another white elephant.

    Even with the stable Clinton economy during most of her mayoral tenure and Jack Abramoff’s crony she hired to lobby Washington to help her now indicted buddy Ted Stevens ring up $27 million in federal pork for tiny Wasilla (pop. 5000 when she entered office) she still managed to leave the town swimming in debt. Three of her pork projects even made McCain’s own wasteful spending list.

    The following organization is the offshoot of President Reagan’s Private Sector Survey on Cost Control started in 1984, also known as the Grace Commission. Definitely not a Dem friendly group but even these guys apparently think Alaska is America’s welfare queen state.

    Citizens Against Government Waste
    http://www.cagw.org/site/PageServer?pagename=homePage

    Rank State Pork Population Pork/Capita

    2000 1 Alaska $394,514,000 619,500 636.83
    2001 1 Alaska $480,297,000 626,932 766.11
    2002 1 Alaska $451,334,278 634,892 710.88
    2003 1 Alaska $393,346,750 643,786 610.99
    2004 1 Alaska $524,329,000 648,818 808.13
    2005 1 Alaska $645,502,000 655,435 984.85
    2006 1 Alaska $325,106,000 663,661 489.87
    2007 not listed
    2008 1 Alaska $379,699,715 683,478 555.54

    As governor she is borrowing from Alaska’s future while she wants to blow today’s Alaskan windfall oil tax bonanza and the huge surpluses they’ve generated on bread and circuses tax giveaways.

    Alaska gets 89% of it’s operating budget from taxing oil coming out of the ground just like Arab kingdoms and Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. They have no state income or sales tax up there. Instead of using that windfall to pay for all the profligate spending her Republican legislature keeps sending her she’s issuing bonds to pay for it which Alaskans and US taxpayers will have to pay off in future years while she takes credit for tax “rebates” while she’s governor.

    Her fiscal policy is a disaster in the making which won’t hit til she’s left the governor’s office. She’d be a disaster as Vice President especially to a President who despite his grievous wounds and type A personality is already past the age his father and grandfather died of sudden heart attacks.

    She can put on all the lipstick she wants but her political record is for the dogs.

  5. gerryf Says:

    I agree with the entire post, but if you are pointing to those folks as proof, as a Michigan resident, I can tell you that every single one of those communities–despite being in conservative Oakland County–are what one might call “democratic” strongholds.

    The only one resembling conservative is West Bloomfield, but even that one has veered left the past couple years, much to the surprise of many.

  6. ExiledIndependent Says:

    Hey Mark, do your stats mean that per capita pork was cut nearly in half when Palin took office?

  7. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Independents and Palin. Says:

    [...] Justin’s post this morning, it seemed clear that independents were singularly unmoved by Sarah Palin’s [...]

  8. Jim S Says:

    No, Exiled, it happened the year before she took office. I think they were trying to duck and cover before the 2006 elections. In Alaska it seems to have worked. Heck, the Republicans just nominated the recently indicted Ted Stevens for the Senate.

  9. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Revisit: Sarah…Decent Speech, But A Big Strategic Mistake Says:

    [...] day after her speech I wrote a post called “Sarah…Decent Speech, But A Big Strategic Mistake” where I laid out the reasons why her speech would ultimately fall flat. The biggest one, [...]

  10. Donklephant » Blog Archive » Did Palin Actually Drive White Men And Women Away? Says:

    [...] fact, directly after Palin’s much ballyhooed speech, I said the following… Why give a speech that was really designed to rally the Republican [...]

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