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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Hockey mom keeps her stick high

One of the key roles in hockey is the enforcer, the skater who keeps his or her blades sharp, stick high and plays the aggressor looking to drop their gloves and mix it up with the other team''s star.

Sarah Palin lived up to her self-styled hockey mom roots last night in a speech that was long on chutzpah and short on substance.

The Killa from Wasilla was in classic vice presidential attack mode, lambasting Barack Obama on his substance and experience. It would have been more effective if she had some of her own.

The speech no doubt energized the troops in St. Paul and we will need to see what it does for the viewing audience. (I wasn't one of them. Like Dick Cheney and the draft, I had better things to do -- like sleep).

The speech frames the McCain-Palin campaign's theme -- attack Barack Obama and Joe Biden and the media and sidestep the mess that eight years of GOP White House ownership. As the Washington Post's Dan Balz summarized it:
Palin knew her targets and went after them one by one. It was an us-vs.-them attack, designed to attach Obama and the Democrats to the cultural elite and to tie herself and McCain to the values of the hardworking, God-fearing, patriotic middle of America. But while her speech seemed aimed at energizing the Republicans' conservative base, Palin also sought to introduce herself as a fellow reformer with a maverick's spirit to match the message that McCain hopes to send from here on Thursday night and through the rest of the general-election campaign.
We know the party faithful soaked it all in:

David Stokes, 69, wore a newly popular button with a picture of Palin that said, "The hottest VP from the coolest state."

"I have been hoping beyond hope she would be in this position," said Stokes, an Alabama delegate. "She is the best thing going. She is profamily, prolife."

His wife, Martha, added: "Alaska is a state very, very close to Russia. That gives her foreign policy experience."

Forget Biden's years as chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. His state only neighbors on New Jersey.

Steve Schmidt, the McCain campaign manager who cut his teeth as a Karl Rove minion, has clearly outlined the GOP strategy: mockery and faux outrage. All of that is on display at the GOP convention: blame the media for focusing on the Palin family and trot them out to play a starring role. Claim Obama is an elitist dilettante with no judgment and experience and then mock him with a surrogate who has even less of those attributes.

And the ultimate contrast: Palin will swing freely and wildly, but woe unto any man who dares swing back. It's just those sexist Democrats again. No recall about the type of campaign they were planning against Hillary Clinton. Remember McCain's response to a questioner during the primary?

Schmidt found the perfect embodiment of that tactic in the high-sticking hockey mom.

Whether a country tired of all words and no results is happy with the decision and having her a heartbeat away from the Oval Office is the question we will debate for the next two months.

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