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Palin: From Nobody to Hero in No Time

While the Alaska Governor wasn’t quite nobody last week (some of our readers had been pushing her for VP as long ago as July 2007), a “week ago,” according to Rasmussen reports, “most Americans had never heard of” her.  Today, she’s more popular than Barack Obama or John McCain.

Obama is no longer “the only ‘rock star’ in presidential politics this year.”  More than forty million people tuned in to hear her speak Wednesday night, a “huge audience [rivaling] that for Obama’s address at the Democratic National Convention six days earlier.”

And the media, trying to destroy her, set her up for success. They, Peggy said, “overstepped: . . . . In the end it made Palin the underdog, and gave her the perfect platform for the perfect dive she made Wednesday night.

Her speech, telling her story, taking on her rival with passion and humor, articulating conservative ideas in a straightforward and energetic way has made her a new hero for Republicans, indeed, if my e-mail is any indication for a good number of non-Republicans as well.

We love her feistiness, we love her humor, we love her sincerity, we love her story, we love her accomplishments.  And the media notwithstanding, we love her family.

She has earned her affection in a matter of moments because John McCain recognized those qualities and plucked her for relative obscurity to join him on our party’s ticket.  As the Arizona Senator himself said, “I’m very proud to have introduced our next Vice President to the country. But I can’t wait until I introduce her to Washington.”  Let me repeat.  Neither can we.

Even Rush Limbaugh, no fan of John McCain is excited, calling the GOP nominee McBriliant:

This lady has turned it all around.  And I’m here to tell you today that John McCain, from now on, on this program, regarding this choice, will be known as John McBrilliant.  This was a brilliant choice on the part of Senator McCain . . . . he let Sarah Palin fire both barrels. . . .  The Democrats are doing everything they can to discredit Sarah Palin because it was somebody else wrote the speech.  Somebody else from the Bush campaign, somebody named Scully.  Well, I don’t care who wrote the speech.  The speech was about her life.  A speechwriter cannot make that up.  A speechwriter cannot tell that.

And that’s why we love her. All of a sudden she appears on the national stage and delivers a boffo performance.

And the media, eager to destroy her, made it all possible. They got the American people curious and rather than trust the MSM, they trusted their own eyes and ears. We watched, we listened, we loved.

Sarah Palin-The Female Teddy Roosevelt?

This morning as I prepared for the day and reflected on the speeches of my party’s president and vice-presidential nominees, I wondered if ever before the running mate had been more charismatic than the man at the top of the ticket.

All of a sudden, I remembered what I read about the election of 1900 when Republican WIlliam McKinley, running for reelection, needed a new running mate, Vice President Garrett Hobart having died in office.  The Ohio Republican tapped Theodore Roosevelt, elected Governor of New York just two years previously.

The brash New Yorker was far more outgoing and energetic than the staid McKinley. Rather than travel the country and speak in front of large crowds, delivering a populist message, he, in his 1896 pioneered the “front porch” campaign where supporters and press came to his home in Canton, Ohio to hear him.

While I would hardly call John McCain staid, he does not show the same vigor on the stump as does Roosevelt, one of his political heroes.  In his address last night, he referred to ours as the party of Roosevelt.

Sarah Palin has a lot in common with the 1900 GOP Vice Presidential nominee.  She’s two years older than her forebear was at the time of her nomination.  She loves the outdoors and hunts.

No wonder John McCain picked Sarah Palin.  She reminded him of one of his great political heroes.

McCain’s Speech & His Sense of Gratitude

Perhaps, I shouldn’t have talked to anyone before I reached my own conclusions about the speech. I have to say I liked it, though not nearly as much as I liked Sarah Palin’s last night. Still, it moved me more than I had expected it to.

Was it the speech, a week of constant blogging or the sadness in realizing today was the last day of a convention where I met and befriended many people whom I had only previously known as pixels on a screen which caused me to pause, sit back (or stand up) as the case may be and focus on the speech and not considering how to formulate a verbal reaction to it.

I watched, I listened, I was moved. I was not wowed as I had been last night, leaving on Cloud Nine, floating out of the Xcel Center, so dazed I headed in the wrong direction at one freeway interchange. Then, I was full of energy, exuberant, ecstatic almost.

Tonight, I was more subdued. It was a much different speech, a much different leader delivering it.

Sarah Palin’s was clearly the best speech of the convention. This was only one of the best, better certainly than Barack Obama’s last week, not as good as Fred Thompson’s or Rudy Giuliani’s this week.

Perhaps, that’s because there was less excitement about this speech. People tuned into Palin’s speech, curious about her because of the stories circulating in the media about that good woman. Americans wanted to see who she was. Not just that, as blogger Josh Trevino put it, “we know McCain, and there is no anticipation of the new” (via Instapundit).

As I left my spot on the rafters and descended to join my friends at the Pajamas TV booth, something struck me about the speech. It may be significant. Or it may mean nothing at all. I was struck by what I will call his “framing device.” He began and ended the speech with acknowledgement, expressions of gratitude.

At the beginning, he acknowledged his rivals for the Republican nomination and expressed his gratitude to the president and his family. He concluded by acknowledging his fellow POW Bob Craner, telling us how that good man “saved” him.

Maybe I read too much into this, but it says a lot of a man that he frames this speech by acknowledging how much he owes to others, showing how grateful he is for their love, their inspiration, their support, their compassion. He knows, more, he recognizes what he owes to others. For no one who has achieved any measure of success in any given endeavor could have accomplished anything without the support of others.

Devoting so much time in a speech of this significance suggests a certain humility, something we don’t see in many politicians, particularly this election cycle.
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