Monday, September 8, 2008

Paln; A Speaker to Admire

Michael Alexander, author of Competing Against America comments on the American Presidential elections.

I was sure that John McCain had made a huge tactical blunder when he chose Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his running mate. McCain’s edge in this race is experience. He’s got a lot of it; Obama doesn’t. However, with a former small town mayor and first-term governor as his running mate, McCain made himself vulnerable to the charge that his running mate is neophyte who wouldn’t be able to take over in a crisis. Every time McCain attacks Obama for his lack of experience, Obama will go after Palin’s.

However, after hearing Palin’s speech acceptance speech on Wednesday night, I changed my mind. Palin was under immense pressure. The Democrats and media pundits were appalled by her small town roots, her lack of foreign policy experience, her gun-toting ways, her pro-life position and her pregnant teenage daughter. Though pleased with her right-wing bona fides, some Republicans feared she wasn’t ready for prime time. And her first major political speech would be broadcast to 40 million Americans and millions more across the globe. If she failed to meet expectations, she and McCain would be toast.

But Palin didn’t flinch. She delivered with poise, bravado, and humour, and managed to talk tough without being abrasive. (Hillary, take note.) She also proved to be telegenic in spite of her nerdy glasses and retro hairstyle. (Jon Stewart couldn’t decide whether she resembled Tina Fey or a seductive librarian. I thought she looked like a back up singer for the B-52s.) And she turned out to have that one essential quality that a leader must have to succeed in a televised world: She’s likeable.

The speech itself was superbly written. And I say that without passing judgment on the substance. It clearly indicated where she stands on some key issues such as offshore drilling and also demonstrated that she can throw a wicked punch at the Democrats.

Strategically, the speech also did a lot for McCain. The Republican base has always been suspicious of his maverick ways. Palin’s strong stand put to rest fears they had about a McCain presidency veering to the middle.

Palin’s debut as speaker tells me a lot about her fitness to be vice-president. As a political performer, she’s a natural. Furthermore, she’s got nerve, is a quick study and doesn’t shy away from a challenge. If McCain is elected, give her a year working with his foreign policy advisors and she’ll be ready to play a major role in his administration.

Cont. Here:

1 comment:

Groucho Barx said...

Hows that workin' out for you guys and gals???

18 days later it looks a bt dfferent, eh?