From a distance: Not impressed.

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I’ve seen John McCain’s speech this morning and I can’t say I was very much impressed. Same old, same old. Frankly, even considered the VP candidate’s the attack dog and the Presidential candidate is supposed to be more the statesman, I think McCain was neither. His speech was soporific and ultimately pointless. With his boneheaded decision for Sarah Palin as a VP candidate and the ultra right wing election platform of the GOP he will not appeal much to independents and undecided voters in the political center anyway. He is now firmly attached to the fundamentalist faction of his party. And with another bout of economic worries on the horizon, I really would have wanted to hear some substance.

European newspapers are time lagged a bit and some are still commenting on the Sarah Palin speech, but there are some commentaries out there about John McCain, too. I give you the usual roundup, so you can judge for yourselves.

Gerard Baker in The Times warns of underestimating the McCain/Palin ticket:

It never ceases to amaze me how the Left falls again and again into the old trap of underestimating politicians whom they don’t understand. From Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher to George Bush and Mrs Palin, they do it every time. Because these characters talk a bit funny and have ridiculously antiquated views about faith, family and nation, because they haven’t spent time bending the knee to the intellectual metropolitan elites, they can’t be taken seriously.(read more)

Rupert Cornwell of The Independent, says Palin fits the bill of Republican voters, but:

Remember, however, that she was speaking to the friendliest audience she will ever encounter – “the most exciting new Republican star since Ronald Reagan” one party strategist gushed yesterday. She had some good lines, none better than the way she drew the distinction between Messrs Obama and McCain, the former who had “used ‘change’ to promote his career,” and the Republican candidate who “used his career to promote change”.

But even her lesser lines, including her gratuitously insulting reference to Mr Obama’s work as a community organiser on the south side of Chicago, were guaranteed a rapturous reception in the hall. Outside, it is another matter. (read more)

Charles Clover in his Telegraph environment weekly column adresses the green side of Sarah Palin, or rather her complete lack thereof:

Alaska’s pit-bull beauty queen sneered at Obama for wasting his time “turning back the waters and healing the planet”. Certainly, no one could accuse her of that.

The European press has yet to pick up on Mrs Palin’s extreme anti-conservation record – that’s how the Sierra Club, a non-partisan organisation, described it. Time says she is on the “far right” on green issues – further to the right than her running mate and even George W Bush.


Governor Palin, on the other hand, was described to me flatly by the head of one American environmental group as “Dick Cheney in go-go boots”. (read more)

Michael Tomasky is covering the US elections for The Guardian, was in St.Paul and has listened to John McCain’s speech:

Okay. I’m a liberal in my political beliefs. But I’m also an analyst. I’ve watched 82,000 political speeches, by speakers from far left to far right. I know a good one when I see one and I can call them as I see them – ideology completely to the side. In 2004, I thought John Kerry’s acceptance speech was ghastly. I also thought, as I wrote last night, that Sarah Palin gave a very good speech. Rudy Giuliani gave a very good one too.

John McCain sounded like the vestry board chairman speaking at the church social about the success of the raffle. Or, as a colleague just put it: he looked like the guy who’d been the office accountant for 40 years giving his retirement address. After he’d eaten a little too much Chicken Kiev. (read more)

For the same newspaper, Martin Kettle says:

As Hurricane Sarah blasts through American politics, many lose their bearings and get the whole Palin thing out of proportion. That is nowhere more true than here in St Paul itself. Yes, she lit the touchpaper on a convention that had previously been a damp squib. But the overcompensation is absurd. It sometimes feels as though the selfsame people who at the start of the week were saying that Palin was certain to lose John McCain this election are now saying that she is certain to win it for – and in spite of – him.

This is madness, short-termism and loss of judgment. (read more)

And Richard Silverstein, again at The Guardian, explains why John McCain is “Kissing the Jewish Vote Goodbye”.

The Economist doesn’t mince it’s words any more:

The moose in the room, of course, is her lack of experience. When Geraldine Ferraro was picked as Walter Mondale’s running-mate, she had served in the House for three terms. Even the hapless Dan Quayle, George Bush senior’s sidekick, had served in the House and Senate for 12 years. Mrs Palin, who has been the governor of a state with a population of 670,000 for less than two years, is the most inexperienced candidate for a mainstream party in modern history.

Inexperienced and Bush-level incurious. She has no record of interest in foreign policy, let alone expertise. She once told an Alaskan magazine: “I’ve been so focused on state government; I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq.” She obtained an American passport only last summer to visit Alaskan troops in Germany and Kuwait. This not only blunts Mr McCain’s most powerful criticism of Mr Obama. It also raises serious questions about the way he makes decisions. (read more)

Well, then. John McCain’s decision to choose Sarah Palin is not getting good ratings at all. It was, I believe the mistake that will ultimately sink the campaign and senior advisors of the GOP obviously fear so, too. They have switched to damage control mode. She is currently prepped for the debates with Biden, by Joe Lieberman. Where? In an undisclosed location.

5 thoughts on “From a distance: Not impressed.

  1. Thanks Cats, they’ll have to make something out of that uncut diamond. Have you heard? She won’t give interviews, I expect that’s an effective gag order. Given the spite that leaks from her mouth this may actually be a blessing.

  2. “Now we know, thanks to her triumphant debut at the Republican convention on Wednesday, that Mrs Palin not only slaughters her prey. She impales its head on a stick and parades it around for her followers to jeer at. For half an hour she eviscerated Mr Obama in that hall and did it all without dropping her sweet schoolmarm smile, as if she were handing out chocolates at the end of a history lesson.”

    This really says it all about Palin. It is important to remember this about her in case she ever runs for president in the future.

  3. First they’re whisking her back to Alaska for an undisclosed time. Then they’re not saying if she’ll ever give interviews. And of course it’s the medias fault for picking on her. It couldn’t be McCain’s for picking somebody the country has never heard of before.

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