The brighter side of Palin
I think I initially misjudged the choice of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate. Here’s some reasons for a rethink:
THE announcement of the pick blasted Barack Obama off all the news bulletins yesterday, despite his just having delivered a speech at the Democratic convention that was hailed in the media as worthy of Lincoln and Kennedy. Obama’s fine speech all but vanished in the ether, which may become an emblem of his whole wordy campaign. Can you remember more than a line or two?
OBAMA was clearly caught badly off guard. His spokesman’s initial reaction was scathing, mocking Palin for having been until recently merely the mayor of a town of 9000. Hours later Obama changed to gracious, welcoming her as a fresh voice and a nice person, and excusing the earlier mockery as part of the “hair trigger” mood of a campaign on full throttle. Clearly he realised he has a woman problem to address, not least because of his rejection of Hillary Clinton as running mate.
SPEAKING of which, Palin in her acceptance speech paid gracious tribute not just to Clinton but to former Democratic vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Both women - Ferraro in particular - were very gracious in return. This suggests not only that Palin has appeal to women voters, but that she can actually peel off Democratic women from Obama.
PALIN’S speech was polished and hit all the right voter buttons. Nothing in it, except perhaps the modulation of her voice, suggested she was the underqualified, inexperienced candidate her resume actually suggests.
PALIN makes Joe Biden in particular look frankly incredible as an agent of the change promised by Obama. Palin the outsider, the corruption-busting crusader Governor who took on her own party machine in Alaska, represents change. Biden represents more Washington political gasbaggery.
Change … to what? And how?
Simon Heffer wasn’t blown away by Barack Obama’s rhetoric this week in accepting the Democratic nomination:
No-one can dispute that the finale was a spectacle: but, as such, it symbolised a triumph of style over substance that had been apparent during every session of the convention during the week and, indeed, in the whole 19 months of the Obama presidential campaign. This said a lot about Sen Obama’s abilities, or those of his speechwriters and spin doctors, to play an already compliant audience like the proverbial violin. It said little or nothing about his fitness to govern, or to attract the support of the so-far non-compliant....
Mr Obama’s speech was a masterpiece of manipulation: it added precious few clues about how he would restore the fortunes of a country that is very much not at ease with itself. Worse, in an uncertain world, it offered little evidence of why he is equipped to deal with some of the lethal challenges that could at any time confront America. The candidate’s combination of old-fashioned oratorical skill, film-star looks, and determination to put his personality and “story” at the front of his approach to politics certainly seems to appeal to his party: but it is entirely shallow, and typical of the American left’s confusion, or conflation, of stature with celebrity....
The real question is whether America’s tens of millions of undecided voters will have been swayed by anything they might have seen, heard or read from Denver this week. It seems, it must be said, pretty unlikely… We still don’t really know what Mr Obama is going to change, how he is going to change it, and to what. And we can’t tell that he has a clue what to do with uppity Iranians, aggressive Russians or any other threat to his country’s security. As such, he has left himself open to sustained attack by his opponents - and therefore has by no means won this election yet.
Another Distraction To Help Rudd
By Glenn Milne
OPPOSITION Leader Brendan Nelson has been severely embarrassed by revelations one of his senior MPs committed security breaches while on a parliamentary tour of the Gulf, putting the lives of Australian servicemen at risk.
The breaches, by former parliamentary secretary Peter Slipper, Liberal Member for the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher, occurred in July after he insisted on using the satellite phone on HMAS Stuart to call his family and office.
Defence sources say that during those calls Mr Slipper divulged key security information regarding the ship's location and operations.
Mr Slipper said the claims were politically motivated and being made by someone "trying to make a mountain out of a molehill".
He denied there had been any "reading of the riot act" by the Stuart's intelligence officer, but confirmed there had been a briefing which he described as "routine" for parliamentary delegations.
Mr Slipper confirmed that the planned boarding of a tanker had been aborted:
"I asked permission to make the calls. I thought I was doing the right thing at all times. If I had been in breach of security, the commanding officer would have mentioned it to me." - clearly another attempt by the pathetic Rudd government to smear someone. Shame on Milne for complying - ed.