Balance of Opinion: Palin’s boffo performance
September 5, 2008
Source: Dallas News
If the reactions to GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin’s acceptance speech were Broadway reviews, the Alaska governor would be preparing for an extended run to rival A Chorus Line and Cats.
Just a sampling:
Time’s Nancy Gibbs: “By the time she had gotten through her first two or three punch lines, it was clear a new star had been born, one who could go places John McCain might not even know exist and say things he could never confess.”
The New York Post’s Rich Lowry: “[Wednesday] night, the question about Sarah Palin wasn’t if she’s risen too fast, but where she’s been for so long.”
The Weekly Standard’s Fred Barnes: “She’s a natural, gifted with the ability to connect with people in a way that few politicians can and to perform under extreme pressure. She has star quality.”
The Washington Post’s Tom Shales: “If the Republicans win the presidential election in November, it may well be said that they won it … the night that John McCain’s brilliantly screwy choice for a running mate changed from laughingstock to national star.”
From left to right, practically in unison, analysts agree the former political unknown nailed her first big test. Which means they’re now looking toward what’s ahead.
Marc Ambinder anticipates Ms. Palin will be “quite simply, the celebrity of September.”
“Interest in her will be enormous,” the Atlantic columnist writes. “Just as Democrats painted on Barack Obama’s blank canvas in January and February of 2007, Republicans and independents will get the chance to fill in their view of Gov. Palin. She’s the new thing.”
Newsweek’s Andrew Romano predicts “the Palin storyline will shift from ‘Who is this person?’ to ‘Wow, she was pretty good’ – and after a week under siege, that should come as a relief to McCain and Co. Still, it’s now up to Ms. Palin to prove that she can handle the crucial questions – on inexperience, on Troopergate, on whether her reform record is really what she says it is. And she’ll have to do it without a TelePrompTer.”
Taking stock of Ms. Palin’s sharp jabs at her opponents in her speech, Newsweek cultural critic Jeremy McCarter wonders how they sound “in those fiercely contested Ohio suburbs: Are voters who aren’t Republican true believers loving the vitriol, or does it begin to sound obnoxious? Will Mr. Obama get flustered now that he’s no longer the hottest, youngest story in town? And how much deeper in the insult barrel will Ms. Palin reach? … While you’d have to be crazy to predict how this nutty election will turn out, I wouldn’t be surprised if we find ourselves watching these two going at it for a long, long while.”
Nancy Kruh is a freelance writer in Dallas; her e-mail address is nkruh@ balanceofopinion.com.
A look at the week in punditry and the presidential campaign
OLD NEWS: Palin phenomenon sucks wind out of any pundit interest in Democratic ticket. Barack Obama? Soooo last week.
FORCE OF NATURE: Chatter early in week about whether Hurricane Gustav hurts or helps GOP convention gets blown away by Hurricane Sarah.
NASCENT DEBATE: Opinion divided on how relevant Bristol Palin’s teen pregnancy is to mother’s candidacy. Kathleen Parker grieves for “the pain of a teenager who didn’t deserve to be exposed and exploited” by media and left wing. Ellen Goodman: “Is it beyond the pale to wonder whether Sarah Palin and her husband should have thought first of shielding their daughter from a media lens? … Has the candidate who mocked Mr. Obama for his celebrity status created the newest Jamie Lynn Spears?”