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Hockey Mom Scores a Winning Goal

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On Wednesday night, all of America watched a spectacular new comet streak across the political sky, as Sarah Palin, self-styled “Hockey Mom” Governor of Alaska, delivered her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota.

With impeccable timing and an easy-going folksy style well suited to her small town Alaska roots, Palin dazzled the receptive Republican crowd in the Xcel Center.  Meanwhile, liberals and Democrats across the land watched in horror as she deftly skewered their standard bearer, Barack Obama, and the entire Democratic Party platform in a speech that will certainly be long remembered for its historical importance.

Much has been made of Palin's so-called “lack of experience” in the five days since John McCain announced she was his pick for the vice president slot on the Republican ticket. On Wednesday night, she dispelled those doubts unequivocally. 

It has been said that, should the unthinkable occur and McCain die in office, she is not ready to assume the Presidency; her “thin” resume makes her unfit for the top job. It's ironic that the Democrats have taken this tack. When one compares Palin's career as a politician with Barack Obama's, the advantage she has over Obama is readily apparent and striking. Palin, unlike Obama, has actually been in charge — first , as mayor of her small home town of Wasilla, Alaska, and then as Governor of our northernmost state.  Obama's experience, as was pointed out in speeches by several Republican luminaries, including former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, does not include executive responsibility for anything at any point in his career.

Palin also contrasted the differences between her own resume and Obama's, beginning with an amusing crack about how, upon first taking office, she disposed of the Governor's private jet, which she described as being “over the top.” With perfect timing, she paused, and with an engaging grin, told her audience, “I put it on eBay.” The delighted crowd roared, whistled, and clapped.

True to her role as a “pit bull with lipstick,” Palin also took several direct jabs at Obama, some of which were cleverly amusing. Alluding to Obama's soaring, but empty rhetoric, as well the extravagance and glitz of the Democratic convention in Denver last week, she said:

This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed … when the roar of the crowd fades away … when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot – what exactly is our opponent's plan?

Much of her speech was devoted to praise of John McCain, including an anecdote told her by one of McCain's fellow POWs, Tom Moe, of Lancaster, OH in which Moe described McCain's indomitable spirit as, returning to his cell day after day from torture sessions with his captors, McCain would pass the door of Moe's cell, and knowing Moe would be watching him through a pinhole in the door, McCain would “flash a grin and thumbs up – as if to say, "We're going to pull through this."

Throughout, Palin had the audience enthralled. She was completely at ease in this, her first ever national speech; at times ironic, occasionally strong, and forceful. She was interrupted numerous times by applause and cheering from the enthusiastic audience. In their minds, she removed all doubt about her ability to meet the challenges of not only the campaign, but also the responsibilities of the office.

Palin closed with one last slapshot at Obama, saying:

"For a season, A gifted speaker can inspire with his words. For a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds."

An excellent closing, perfectly delivered. It was truly a speech for the ages.

About Clavos

Raised in Mexico by American parents, Clavos is proudly bi-cultural, and considers both Spanish and English as his native languages. A lifelong boating enthusiast, Clavos lives aboard his ancient trawler, Second Act, in Coconut Grove, Florida and enjoys cruising the Bahamas and Florida Keys from that base. When not dealing with the never-ending maintenance issues inherent in ancient trawlers, Clavos sells yachts to finance his boat habit, but his real love (after boating, of course) is writing and editing; a craft he has practiced at Blogcritics since 2006.
  • Lisa Solod Warren

    I know. I decided not to mention it. But thought it funny Murphy and Noonan got caught being so indiscreet.

    Hey Clav: Since you loved the speech so much, thought you might like this “fun fact.”

  • Dave Nalle

    Ok, let me get this straight. McCain is a Republican. He is running as a Republican. But he does not support the Republican party platform. So there is no platform? Or there is a platform but it is not for him. Then who is it for?

    I was going to write an article about this, but thought it was too boring and pointless. Basically, the platform got written as always by a committee which represented various groups and took recommendations from all the state conventions – read my article on the travesty of a platform that was passed in Texas. McCain made suggestions and requests and was largely ignored. The result was a platform with a number of planks which he considered unacceptable, and as previous candidates have done he basically decided he would ignore the platform and run on his own ideas. Many other candidates will do the same.

    The last two platforms were quite moderate, but this year they’ve added planks against gay marriage, abortion and immigration reform which McCain does not agree with. McCain’s opposition to the platform is one of the things which got him the Log-Cabin Republican endorsement last week.

    And when do we find out what he will and will not do, specifically? Tonight?

    Yes, or just go look at his website.

    Is there a way to hold him accountable for any “promises” he makes? Say, for example, the things he said to Rick Warren re his choices for the Supreme Court, or what he and Palin will come out in favor of or against in debates? Or is it only going to be more attacking what the Democrats wish to do?

    Is there any way to hold any of these candidates accountable for what they promise? Has there ever been?

    And BTW, the speech is confirmation that it was Bush’s awkwardness not Mike Scully’s speech writing which was the problem in the past. Give a Scully speech to someone competent and it’s a whole different experience.


  • handyguy

    The speech was pretty good, pretty effective, and much more than that for those who dislike Obama and were ‘fired up and ready to go’ with some red-meat insult-lobbing [and done with more flair and good humor than Rudy's scary-stupid preceding speech].

    But the important question is, how will independent and undecided voters react? Will they take the insult humor seriously? Will they take Palin seriously as a potential president?

    Our GOP friends have stars in their eyes today. But it’s the voters in Ohio and Florida [and to a lesser extent Michigan and Pennsylvania, which are leaning pretty heavily toward the Dems now] who matter.

    I mean, of course the Palin partisans thought it was great. And the MSM were falling all over themselves trying to be ‘fair’ and possibly overpraising the speech in the process.

    They could just possibly have been more diligent in pointing out how utterly lacking in policy the speech was – and how abortions and Jesus were carefully not mentioned lest we be reminded of some of the governor’s views that might seem less, um, cute to middle America.

    But for the delegates in the hall, I’m sure it was magical, just as Obama’s acceptance speech was for many last week.

  • Daniel Miller

    Re #46, Per pro Clavos, who is having some Akismet issues. . . When I assume my rightfully ordained position as The Messiah The President, Spam will become punishable by death and Akismet will no longer be a problem. Damn, it is a nuisance.


  • Jordan Richardson

    I’ve been having a few of those Akismet problems myself, but I just copied my post, hit the back button, and tried again. It seemed to work out fine the second time through.

  • Dr Dreadful

    I’m not sure I like the ‘Daniel Miller’ bit. Makes you sound like a character in The Crucible.

    And not in a good way!


  • Daniel Miller


    There didn’t seem to be an option. Everything I submitted as a comment got rejected as spam; even a blank page. I had my ISP change my IP address, tried (unsuccessfully) to contact Akismet and asked Clav for help, and he contacted the mucky-mucks at BC. This went on for more than two days. Nada. Then, I experimented and changed my screen name; the URL didn’t matter, and nothing else did. Changing the screen name worked.

    Oh, well. If it were easy, then anybody could do it.


  • Dave Nalle

    When did McCain openly and publicly ‘repudiate’ the GOP platform? Party platforms aren’t all that meaningful, but it would be bad form for him to repudiate it.

    His position papers on his website clearly contradict various planks of the platform and he has stated repeatedly that he is running on his agenda, not that of others.

    And the parts of the platform he disagrees with and will probably ignore are also the parts Palin likely does agree with, eh?

    McCain and Palin will certainly agree on quite a few issues, along with most other Republicans. But yes, I’m sure they’ll have differences too. I like the Palin pick, but not because of her stands on social issues. I like her despite them. I like her mainly because she shows that McCain hasn’t sold out and forgotten about reform.

    Dave Nalle becomes more and more rabidly partisan as elections draw near.

    Handy, you do realize that there’s about a 99% chance that I’ll vote for Bob Barr, right?

    A great many of his comments about both Obama and Palin are remarkably one-sided, unfair, and extremist,

    In other words, true but not what you want to hear.


  • Heloise

    Dave, is that JFK on the cover of the book up there? Oh, hell no. I hope you’re not comparing the robotic republicans with my man?

    Here’s what I think of your gal Pa’in:

    Palin impales Obama at the RNC. She’s will get what’s coming to her from the media, more of the same. As for her soulmate: McClone, he will help Obama raise another quick 8 million after he speaks.

    A moose mother all dressed up with NOWHERE to go! What a robotic, lying witch. She paid lip service to the GOP in return for all the money she has stolen from the government and the freakin’ people.

    Her town was a damn community. She’s an idiot who had an idiot. It took her six years to graduate with a ba in journalism!

    I am hearing that community folks and organizers are mad as hell and not going to take it anymore from the GOP.

    The neocons hate the left because we love elitists and brainacs. Well what you see is what you get with Dems. While you GOP had stupid Bush but behind closed doors he kept his brains: Rove in Cheney.

    Don’t get me started.


    McCain means Pa’in!

    No more pain for the people from the repugnicans!


  • El Bicho

    “It really bothers you liberals that the republicans have put an honest to god war hero on their ticket doesn’t it?”

    What likely bothers liberals is that’s all you have to run on. If mentioning McCain was a P.O.W. had been a drinking game, people would have gotten alcohol poisoning the first night. His history didn’t seem to matter to those on the right eight years ago, and the crying over involving Palin’s child after your side rewarded the Bush folks for exploiting McCain’s “black baby” speaks volumes.

    Thanks for the laughs. It is hysterical to see all those on the right fall in love with Palin because she read a speech well after knowing her for less than a week. No doubt you are unaware your reaction is the same as the Obamaniacs.

  • Heloise

    Dave, Right’s convenient amnesia here: NOT ONE GOP speaker breathed “Bush” not one. Pa’in mentioned Obama about fifty times but no one, not one word that started with a B come out of her mouth. Where’s the BUSH? I ask where’s the Bush? No Bush, no problem.


  • bliffle

    “It really bothers you liberals that the republicans have put an honest to god war hero on their ticket doesn’t it?”

    IMO, McCain was not a hero, he was merely a stoic. He took a lot of crap, that’s all. A heroic POW leads an escape (as many have done), or defies authority (Cf, Bridge on River Kwai, or Lloyd Bucher, or even my father-in-law who received a personal commendation from Gen. Eisenhower for escaping 3 nazi prisons).

    One can make the case that John Kerry was more heroic than McCain.

    Anyway, that does not qualify him for presidency. there are millions of men and women who did more heroic actions in our many and various wars.

    Anyhow, it was a long time ago. yet, it seems to be the constant claim of the RNC speakers.

    Over and over McCain claims credit for supporting the surge, but one can argue that the spotty improvements in Iraq are due as much to Al Sadr’s unilateral withdrawal and the purchased loyalty of the iraqi warlords, the famous “Sons of Iraq”. What happens when Al Sadr goes on the warpath again? Perhaps in response to constantly being marginalized in political affairs? What happens when someone else purchass the loyalty of the “Sons of Iraq”?

    What happens is a return of the worst years of the Iraq occupation. There’s no end to this.

  • handyguy

    Quite a contrast between the two speeches.

    McCain’s podium charisma is almost nonexistent, and yet many moments of his speech held me and seemed heartfelt and strong. I don’t support him for President [because of the Supreme Court, the economy, health care, and his scary militarism], but I think he is a great man.

    His speech actually shows up the Palin address for the slick, shallow glitz that it really was. [Surely not his intention.]

    The crowd shouting “USA!” at [apparently completely silent] protesters who somehow got in, was a bit distracting and the delegates did not help their guy by doing it.

    One minor note that amused me: I thought for a minute he said “Sarah Palin has worked with her hands and nose.” This was very puzzling….then he re-read the line making it clear he meant “and knows…”

  • Clavos

    According to this morning’s Wall Street Journal, 37 million people watched Sarah Palin’s speech.

    The article also discusses how she beat both the oil companies and the crooks in the Alaskan government in the pipeline deal.

  • Arch Conservative

    Dave, Right’s convenient amnesia here: NOT ONE GOP speaker breathed “Bush” not one. Pa’in mentioned Obama about fifty times but no one, not one word that started with a B come out of her mouth. Where’s the BUSH? I ask where’s the Bush? No Bush, no problem.

    Well Heloise I don’t recall a single Democrat at The DNC listing any of the things the Dems have done since they gained control of Congress in 2006 that has made life better for the American people.

  • Doug DeLong

    You all seem to be missing the point on the Palin pick. How exactly does McCain get away with proclaiming that he always puts his “country first” as he selects an unknown, unvetted running mate?

    For a man who, if he were to win, would be the oldest president EVER and who has had 4 bouts with cancer, how exactly is he putting his “country first” with such a reckless pick? Given his circumstances, one would expect a candidate who really puts his “country first” to choose someone who would, first and foremost, be unquestionabley qualified to take command of the country, if need be, on a moment’s notice. Even McCain has said this. Clearly, he was not putting his “country first” with this pick. He was putting himself and his desire to win first.

    I loved Joe Lieberman’s answer when he was questioned about Palin’s qualifications to be president if the need arose. He said, “Well, let’s assume the the best. John’s in great shape…” Sorry, Joe, when the future safety and well-being of the country is at stake, I think it’s probably better to assume the worst.

    You’ll notice that the McCain campaign has a pretty tight leash on her. They’ll let her do scripted events, but they’re going to do all in their power to keep her from having to answer tough questions. I wonder why that is. Add to that the fact that there are lots of landmines out there which apparently were missed by the McCain camp and you’ve got the makings of a first-class disaster.

    Everybody close your eyes for just one second and imagine it’s April 2009. John McCain has sadly passed over to the other side and President Sarah Palin has been sworn in. I wonder if America’s enemies might just be tempted to test the new hockey mom president. Kinda makes you shudder just a little bit, doesn’t it?

    The whole thing is like a wacky Disney movie. Let’s call it “The Accidental President.” It’s the story of a spunky gal from a small Alaskan town who was shooting wolves from a helicopter one day and the next day found herself the leader of the free world. You can imagine the crazy mayhem that ensues! I’m thinking maybe Cameron Diaz could play Sarah and Jamie Lynn Spears could play Bristol.

  • Arch Conservative

    “They’ll let her do scripted events, but they’re going to do all in their power to keep her from having to answer tough questions.”

    Gee that sounds like the Obama camp and their refusal to do town halls with John McCain.

  • Daniel Miller

    Based on what I have seen thus far, Governor Palin will eat Senator Biden for lunch during the debate, and there won’t even be any bones left over for the poor puppies. We will see.


  • Doug DeLong

    Gee that sounds like the Obama camp and their refusal to do town halls with John McCain.

    Obama has spent the last 18 months being vetted during the course of the campaign. We know where he stands on the issues and have a pretty clear idea (whether you agree with him or not) of what his level of competency is. This week he’s sitting down with O’Reilly. How about Sarah having a chat with Olbermann? Or anyone who might require her to show some actual knowledge of the world?

    We know virtually nothing about Sarah Palin. And the McCain campaign is going to try to make sure that we only know what THEY want us to know about her. Call me crazy, but I think the American people deserve to get a clear picture of who this woman is, what she believes, and what her level of expertise is on foreign and domestic issues since she could be sitting in the Oval Office in a matter of months.

  • Doug DeLong

    Based on what I have seen thus far, Governor Palin will eat Senator Biden for lunch during the debate, and there won’t even be any bones left over for the poor puppies. We will see.

    We’ll see, indeed. We’ll see if she’s ready to be president or just ready to read speeches written by George Bush’s speechwriter.

  • handyguy

    “Based on what I’ve seen thus far”…

    Palin may be great at thinking on her feet, but nothing you’ve seen “thus far” has demonstrated that a bit.

    Whereas many observers thought Biden did very well indeed in the Democratic primary debates.

    Debate moderators won’t be able to resist lobbing tough foreign policy questions to see how she reacts. This doesn’t guarantee failure, but the GOP is taking no chances that she will commit a hype-deflating gaffe at the moment.

    Gov. Palin’s supporters have put her on quite a pedestal, as if she’s practically perfect in every way [like Mary Poppins]. This could prove to be an unsustainable position.

  • troll

    …can anyone tell me what the status of the republican ticket would be if McCain were to keel over tomorrow – ?

  • Baritone


    No problem. Miss Congeniality, the first runner up, will just step up, assume the crown and scepter, and serve in his stead.


  • troll

    in which case the debates would be between Palin and Obama – ?

    that I’d like to see

  • troll

    (geeeze – sorry Mac)

  • Doug DeLong

    I hate to disagree with B-Tone, but I don’t think Palin would automatially become the nominee if McCain were to die between now and the election. I think the GOP would hold another mini-convention at which they would be free to nominate whoever they choose.