Democrat’s view: Nothing Delivered
By Elan Barnehama
I was really looking forward to Sarah Palin’s speech—and while I could barely make it through Mayor Guilliani’s sophomoric diatribe aimed at getting his campaign debt paid off by the Republican party, I waited it out.
When I first learned that Senator McCain chose Governor Palin as his running mate, I didn’t have a problem with her limited experience. I’ve always liked McCain and was eager to learn more about his pick. Many young, talented, ambitious folks have stepped into the unknown and come through brilliantly. Experience is important, but often over rated. Maybe Palin was the real deal—just as I think Senator Obama is.
Palin’s introduction into the race was an instant breeze of fresh air in an otherwise very stale election. Still, what I wanted to know about was not her daughter’s sex life, but what were her politics, her policies, her positions. Sure, for now her views are the same as those of John McCain. But Lyndon Johnson never really agreed with Kennedy and George Bush never was completely on board with Ronald Regan.
Unfortunately I learned nothing tonight. Sarah Palin revealed nothing, repeated slogans, and gave us more of the same Republican talking points that want to turn her few accomplishments into a career. Her speech was simply conventional. What we really need to know is what are her beliefs and how will she act on them.
This was supposed to be Sarah Palin’s speech of a lifetime. I’m betting it’s not. She’ll have others, even if her ticket loses in November. But it might prove to be the speech of John McCain’s career. Maybe even more important than his acceptance speech.
I’ve never been convinced that Republicans dislike Obama because they think he lacks enough experience. They dislike and distrust him because they disagree with his policies. They disagree with his plans for the country. Imagine Obama delivering Palin’s speech. Wouldn’t his same experience be met with applause? The early focus on Sarah Palin’s experience neglected to help the country understand her views and where she would take us if she became president. Tonight’s convention added nothing to that blank slate.
Our system needs a lot of fixing and maybe this gun toting, anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-evolution, hockey mom has the right ideas, the right appeal for many voters. But not this one.
Elan Barnehama is a writer living in Western Massachusetts. He has taught at several colleges and was, most recently, a Senior Writer for Wesleyan University in Connecticut. His commentaries have aired on public radio and appeared in newspapers. E-mail Elan at: firstname.lastname@example.org.