Thursday, September 04, 2008

Why Palin Laid An Egg

Forget for a moment that the whole evening's outcome was preordained.

Andrew Sullivan predicted Bill Kristol's column three hours before he filed it...and it turns out he was pretty much right.

(For the record, I was wrong. Yesterday, I predicted that Chris Matthews would call her speech a "grand slam." It turned out to be Wolf Blitzer instead.)

And forget even the comedic cognitive dissonance of her delivery: An Amy Poehler SNL character delivered by Tina Fey.

But the real problem with the speech is that she failed to convince anyone out there who McCain wasn't going to appeal to anyway.

This has been the central problem with choosing her to begin with. The gimmick didn't work: it started turning off undecided voters immediately.

Last night, Sarah Palin had a chance to introduce herself to America, and appeal to someone--anyone--other than social conservatives.

She failed

James Fallows: She brought no one new to the table:
To return to the main theme: both Reagan in 1964 and Obama in 2004 were effective because, apart from their personal skills, they added something to their party's constituency that had not been there before. Reagan began recruiting the "Reagan Democrats," starting with white Southerners. Obama tried to recruit people tired of divisive partisanship.

Sarah Palin, at least tonight, did not seem interested in bringing anyone new into the fold.

Nate Silver: She overreached.
I think some of you are underestimating the percentage of voters for whom Sarah Palin lacks the standing to make this critique of Barack Obama. To many voters, she is either entirely unknown, or is known as an US Weekly caricature of a woman who eats mooseburgers and has a pregnant daughter. To change someone's opinion, you have to do one of two things. Either, you have to be a trusted voice of authority, or you have to persuade them. Palin is not a trusted voice of authority -- she's much too new. But neither was this a persuasive speech. It was staccato, insistent, a little corny. It preached to the proverbial choir.

Even the Associated Press(!?) points out that she fibbed. A lot.

By going on the attack, she did not define herself as someone expanding the tent for the Republicans in an era where their party is shrinking. Instead, she's a fresh new face fighting the angry old culture war from a teleprompter.

That's not going to give anyone undecided about the McCain-Palin ticket much to rally around--but it should give her the inside track to be a defective, right-wing Rachel Maddow to O'Reilly's Olbermann on Fox.

Laura Ingraham, watch out!

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