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My Review: Sarah Palin’s Speech

I write this as an Obama partisan, but also someone who has worked for, voted for, and admired a number of Republicans.  And as someone who has followed the party closely and has attended their 1976, 1980 and 1984 conventions (not as a partisan, but schlepping coffee for a bunch of journalists including my dad).

I thought her speech came from the Dark Side of the Party. The Nixon-Cheney-Rove wing of the Party. It was the most effective kind of speech to give at a Republican convention — the heart and soul of the party likes loves the Dark Side stuff.

It was not a sunny, Reaganite speech, a Peggy Noonan speech.

And as such, I'm not sure it will wear as well as some think.

I found it smug. Sarcastic. Condescending. Small-minded. Petty. Maybe even mean, in parts. Not one gracious note about Barack Obama, who took the time to say positive things about her this week, and John McCain last week.

With the lack of grace, the smugness, even the delivery with a curled lip, it felt like a Bush speech. Not at all surprising that it was written by his speechwriter.

Personally, I found her use of the family creepy. Parading her teenage, pregnant daughter and boyfriend up there in the spotlight felt weird to me. As the father of a 9-year-old daughter, I could NEVER fathom doing anything like that, putting my daughter through that. Good lord, it's tough enough for kids of politicians being in the spotlight, without having their intimate personal life as teens spread out before the Nation. It seems incredibly twisted to me. But maybe others will find it somehow compelling.

Finally, this. There is something a bit off for me about Palin. Something not quite trustworthy. I can't put my finger on it, but something about her demeanor, the blatant using of her family as props, her persistence in blatant lying about her "reform" record, and her career path suggests to me she is not someone who values loyalty much at all. Someone who wouldn't blink to throw a mentor, friend, or colleague overboard if she had to. After all, she's been happy to do it before to get ahead.

If I were John McCain or one of his senior advisors, I would be careful.

She threw around military metaphors liberally tonight. Here's mine: I wouldn't want to share a foxhole with her.

One last thought: for someone who is such an avowed Christian, Palin's speech oddly lacked any sense of grace, or humility. Read the best speeches of Ronald Reagan — and, Barack Obama — and  you'll find them full of both.

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