Photo credit: Joeff Davis
DOWNLOAD: Sarah Palin, RNC 2008 Convention Speech [mp3]
ST. PAUL--Here's what really stood out about Sarah Palin's RNC speech tonight:
1. The woman has ice in her veins. This was the biggest moment of her political career to date, probably the biggest moment she'll have during the '08 campaign, and she didn't look nervous. At all.
2. The crowd loved her knocks on Obama. Of course, Palin was preaching to the choir here, but her unique hockey mom/mean-but-popular high-school girl/rural American everywoman shtick seemed to make the audience extra receptive to her zingers.
3. Palin does this weird, sneery nose-curl thing when she really wants to drive home a point. (If memory serves, her fascinating accent also becomes extra pronounced at these moments.) I'm guessing that most of the people who watched her in the Xcel Center think this a loveable tic. I'm also guessing that many hours will be spent over the next few days trying to eliminate it.
4. After Palin's foray into media criticism--i.e., the media whacks you if you're "not a permanent member of the Washington poltical elite"--a bunch of delegates stood up on the floor and pointed accusatorily at the press section. At one point today, I heard NPR's Robert Siegel say that Republicans are never more united than when they feel besieged by the press. The way the Palin pick has whipped up precisely this sentiment makes me think my conspiracy theory regarding her selection isn't all that nutty.
5. While Palin did a great job inside the convention hall tonight, I wonder how she looked to undecided voters watching at home, and how her act is going to play with the general public over the next few months. A woman sitting next to me during the speech praised Palin's tone, calling it "snarky without being bitchy"--a tough balance, she added, for a woman to strike. Even if you accept that assessment, too much snarkiness could easily end up backfiring on Palin down the road. The prediction here is that it will.
P.S.--After watching Palin and Rudy Giuliani speak, I'm downgrading Mitt Romney's effort to a B-plus. And, keeping on my thinking-like-a-Republican cap, I'm giving Palin and Giuliani flat A's.
P.P.S.--Not sure if this came through on TV, but there was an awkward moment after Palin's speech. McCain came out, everyone went nuts, he talked about how Palin was the right pick, and everyone went more nuts. And then everyone just...stood there. It got quiet, no one quite knew what was happening, and you could practically hear the excitement being sucked out of the hall.
P.P.P.S.--Everyone knows that McCain's no great orator, but if I were him I'd be worried that the strong (if you're a Republican!) speeches of the past couple days will make him look like a total dud tomorrow night.