Let me preface my remarks by saying that I've grown up in a culture where being a great orator is pretty much par for the course for anyone who wants to be a mover and shaker in the community. Part of the reason why I wasn't knocked over with a feather by Barack Obama in 2004 (although I was impressed) was because I've witnessed so many great speeches by black men and women that there wasn't much to say but "what else can he do?" During any given election cycle within my sorority, I will hear some of the most creative, moving and powerful speakers ever. At any given luncheon or banquet, the keynote speaker will be rousing and thought provoking. Hearing a good speech has become rather passe for me because I've been hearing them my whole life.
Sarah Palin delivered a good speech that was prepared for whomever John McCain's nominee would be. Of course it had to be tweaked to fit her but had McCain had his way, Joe Lieberman would have been getting the applause for all of the cheap shots that were taken at Barack Obama. By mainstream standards, she introduced herself to the country with a bang. By my standards, she was ... good enough. Compared to some of my teachers, preachers, girl scout leaders and, most definitely, national officers of my sorority, Palin seemed like a cute little PTA president from one of the suburbs where open housing was an issue when I was growing up. She was definitely no Ann Richards but she was pretty good for a lady from rural Alaska.
Barack Obama's camp issued a statement in response to Sarah Palin's speech:"The speech that Governor Palin gave was well delivered, but it was written by George Bush's speechwriter and sounds exactly like the same divisive, partisan attacks we've heard from George Bush for the last eight years. If Governor Palin and John McCain want to define 'change' as voting with George Bush 90% of the time, that's their choice, but we don't think the American people are ready to take a 10% chance on change."
On Obama's campaign plane, top strategist David Axelrod responded:
"There wasn't one thing that she said about Obama or what he's proposing that is true. She tried to attack Senator Obama by saying he had no significant legislative achievements. Maybe that's what she was told."
On Wednesday, Republicans sought to define Obama as untested and inexperienced, making light of his past work as a community organizer in Chicago.
"For everyday people, ... that seems like real work," said Axelrod.
Ultimately, Axelrod said, the Republicans squandered an opportunity to promote their candidate. He also questioned the emphasis on McCain's years as a prisoner of war, saying the Arizona senator's history already was well known.
"They're shedding an awfully lot of heat but no light," he said. "It almost defies the laws of physics."
As for Palin's claim to be an outsider, Axelrod said that given her pointed criticism of Obama, "for someone who makes the point that she's not from Washington, she looked very much like she would fit in very well there."