The Palin Speech

After the pounding that McCain-Palin have taken over the last week I think that a lot of people tuned in to Sarah Palin’s speech for a spectacle. And she got off to a start that suggested a neophyte out of her league, but she rapidly adjusted and delivered a real stemwinder. As many have commented, she is a mastermind of the caustic aside.

I think that just about everyone in the country saw what was going on all at the same time. All week long the analysis of the Republican VP choice is that it was an attempt to drive a wedge between the Hillary Clinton and the Barack Obama supporters. About a quarter the way through her introduction of her family it dawned on S. and I the true case for her selection by the McCain campaign. When her speech was over and MSNBC cut to Chris Matthews, his opening point was that analysts have been misreading the Palin pick all week long, that it was a culture war move; it’s aim was the elitism narrative. I feel like the knife has been held just outside my field of vision and only in the midst of the speech last night did I catch the first glint of whetted steal.

The whole clan is too much. The candidate herself is unmistakably an aging beauty queen. Her husband, a fisherman, a union member, an Alaskan Men cover model, a “snow machine racer” is right out of central casting. The son solemn and stern in anticipation of shipping out for Iraq. The daughter, starting to show, is too fast on the heals of Jamie Lynn Spears and Juno (the damn film and its namesake are even named for and Alaskan city). Contrary to the Republican mythos, the “heartland” is plagued by degeneracy and altogether too many of these people will be able to identify. The down syndrome child is clearly dog whistle politics. It’s a lesser-known subject of discussion that almost no down syndrome children are born anymore and on the right it dovetails into the strawman connection between reproductive freedom and eugenics. To flout one is a clear symbol to the illuminati about Ms. Palin’s position on abortion. As Peggy Noonan inadvertently said, Governor Palin is narrative, not policy or capability.

From this speech it’s clear that the coming election will be the culture war all over again. It’s going to be a rerun of the 2004 election and it’s going to be nasty. It’s really amazing that the Republicans have only one script.

It’s completely dismaying the degree to which the future of the country is in the hands of a fairly unsophisticated media. If on Monday Time, Newsweek and U.S. News all have glowing cover stories on her then the Democrats are fucked. If the litany of lurid, tabloid-esque stories don’t abate, then everything will be okay.

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