grandma Sarah Palin stepped to the podium last night at the Republican National Convention as Presidential nominee John McCain's prospective running mate.
There was much on the line as the VEEP prospect waved off a lengthy standing ovation that had the feel of a group protecting a member of it's own family.
The chills were palpable as the crowd's applause and cheers continued on and on, and the strength and length of the crowd reaction to her appearance was obviously in support of the candidate having come under vicious, personal, liberal media attacks since being announced.
It is fairly obvious that the vast majority of the conservative wing of the Republican Party is ecstatic about the Palin pick as the Veep nominee due to her character and her positions on the key issues. It is just as obvious that attacks on her and her family have touched that 'don't talk bout my _____ like that' nerve (fill in the blank with 'mother', 'sister', 'daughter', 'girlfriend', 'wife'...whichever most applies to you) with many folks.
But then Palin began to speak, and proved over the course of the next 36 1/2 minutes that she is plenty tough enough to stand up for hersel. Palin proved more than capable of standing in the box and staring down the hardball's thrown at her from the Dems and, as local radio talk show host Michael Smerconish said afterwards "hit a grand slam" with her speech.
The grannie hit a granny, and a new Republican political superstar was born. She began by accepting the nomination and acknowledging the tough campaign to come: "I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election... against confident opponents ... at a crucial hour for our country."
Her eldest son, Track Palin, will deploy to Iraq on September 11th of all dates, and she related to all the troops and their families: "I'm just one of many moms who'll say an extra prayer each night for our sons and daughters going into harm's way."
She answered the critics of her family life being too much to handle, what with being a new mom of a special-needs child and with her 17-year old daughter Bristol Palin being 5-months pregnant: "From the inside, no family ever seems typical. That's how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other ... the same challenges and the same joys. Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge."
Palin beamed over her husband Todd: "We met in high school, and two decades and five children later he's still my guy." Her parents, Chuck and Sally Heath, were in attendance and she praised them for teaching her "..one simple lesson: that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity."
If she didn't win over Democrats who previously had supported Hillary Clinton's candidacy as a woman with that statement, then they don't have the courage of their convictions.
She answered the critics who say that she was just the Mayor of some small town: "I grew up with those people. They are the ones who do some of the hardest work in America ... who grow our food, run our factories, and fight our wars. They love their country, in good times and bad, and they're always proud of America. I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town."
Did you notice the subtle slap at Michelle Obama there, who claimed that she was only now proud of her country for the first time in her adult lifetime. Sarah's people are "always proud of America." What a tremendous contrast.
She laughed off talk that she was just some 'soccer mom' or 'hockey mom' with a joke: "What's the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull? Lipstick."
Then Palin took the liberal media deep: "Now, here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion. I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this great country."
She spoke of today's political partisanship: "No one expects us to agree on everything. But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and a servant's heart. I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States."
Palin recalled how she took on the establishment in Alaska, winning the Governor's office, and then set about making reforms such as selling the Governor's private jet on EBay and getting rid of the office's personal chef. In her home state, Palin cut taxes, reduced spending, and left her 'The Last Frontier' with a budget surplus.
Palin demonstrated a grasp of foreign affairs and important issues such as energy and terrorism by relating to Mexico, Russia, Europe, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, al Qaeda, and Iraq among others.
She was tough politically, taking a swipe at her opponents while pointing out the heroism of her running mate: "...though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, "fighting for you," let us face the matter squarely. There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you ... in places where winning means survival and defeat means death ... and that man is John McCain."
And then she took one final comparative swing at Obama: "For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words. For a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds."
During this granny's grand-slam speech, she stated that the reason pols should go to Washington is "to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it." After last night, no one doubts that John McCain and Sarah Palin intend to do just that beginning in January of 2009.