Palin sparkles in national spotlight
September 7, 2008
Source: Arkansas News
“As American as mom and apple pie” isn’t a phrase we hear much anymore, but it does emphasize a self-evident truth etched into the national psyche: Americans, by in large, love their mothers.
We not only love our mothers, but we like to talk about them, no matter who you are or were you live. It’s what we do.
It’s why Barack Obama’s eyes sparkle every time he talks about how his mom woke him up early every school morning to study. It’s why John McCain puts his arm around his mother whenever she is within his reach.
It’s why Joe Biden gets a lump in his throat recalling his mom’s patience with her stuttering son. Out on the campaign trail, Hillary Clinton recognized the power of the bond between a mother and a daughter.
And so it is McCain’s choice for running mate. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin understands the power and value of motherhood (the hardest job in the world, bar none) and, more importantly, embodies it.
Predictably, her selection set off a tidal wave of hypocritical criticism that swept up her entire family, including her 4-month-old son.
Her hyperventilating critics on the left pooh-poohed her experience as governor, declaring the former small-town mayor unfit for the national stage. Why, she had hardly traveled abroad (except to visit the troops) and had never made the Washington cocktail circuit.
Feminist mavens followed with efforts to undercut Palin’s groundbreaking vice presidential nomination in their catty newspaper columns. They claimed this mother-of-five should be at home raising the kids, not out in the rough and tumble world of politics. So much for sisterly solidarity in the bedrock principle that women can have both a family and a career.
Nothing has been off limits. Cable news talking heads raise questions about the quality of the prenatal care Palin sought before giving birth to her infant son, who’d been prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome. Palin’s critics pounced on the news that her unwed 17-year-old daughter was five months pregnant, snidely implying that Palin was an unfit mother.
For many observers – and even some supporters – the open question was whether the ferocity with which the media “vetted” both her and her family would prove to be too much of a distraction. Moments after Palin confidently walked on-stage Wednesday night to thunderous applause at the Republican National Convention, the answer was clear.
As the first woman on a GOP presidential ticket, she walked to the lectern carrying an additional load. But you would have thought she was delivering a talk at the local Wasilla PTA (where she began her public involvement) rather than before a worldwide audience.
She chatted with the audience in St. Paul and viewers around the world with poise and grace. The one-time self-described hockey mom talked about her experience as a chief executive, made the case for the reforms she and McCain would take to Washington, and argued for a steady hand in foreign policy. She jabbed at and joked about Obama and Biden’s euphemistic rhetoric, self-defeating policies and penchant for stadium lights and Styrofoam columns.
Should Palin prove to be an effective campaigner who rallies voters to McCain’s winning cause, no doubt most observers will point to the masterful performance she gave delivering one of most the anticipated political speeches of the modern era.
To borrow from Keith Olbermann’s breathless opinion of Obama’s speech to the Democratic National Convention, “Grand slam. Grand slam out of the ballpark, across the street. Across the buildings across the street.”