For all those media analysts who think Joe Biden or Barack Obama should be ‘careful’ when discussing or debating Sarah Palin, I think that is clearly behind us now. Tonight, Sarah Palin put the gloves on and came out swinging. Her criticism of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the Democratic party was harsh and absolute. I think it interesting that Palin – after attacking the Democratic ticket – extended the olive branch in seemingly unlikely fashion:
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.
These statements, given at the end of her speech seemed almost to reach across the aisle. However, after her prolonged attack on Obama, the Democratic ticket, and Democrats as a whole, it seems insincere at best.
Palin, it seems, is really good at following the party line and Republican-scripted attack used throughout the convention. For instance, Palin made sure to mention McCain’s POW experience and sacrafice prominently:
A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio, recalls looking through a pin-hole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway, by the guards, day after day.
As the story is told, “When McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn toward Moe’s door and flash a grin and thumbs up” – as if to say, “We’re going to pull through this.” My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through these next four years.
Once again this transparent and obvious attempt to divert attention from the great issues of our time – which the Republican Party is great at – is revolting in the extreme. In particular, the convention focus on John McCain’s POW experience is – again – manipulative and sickening.
But Palin was not through beating us over the head with this issue. In case there was any doubt that she was sincere instead of politically shrewd and manipulative, Palin added:
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. In our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world in which this man, and others equally brave, served and suffered for their country.
It’s a long way from the fear and pain and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.
I guess we have our answer: Politically shrewd and manipulative. Sadly, it is blatantly obvious that the single minded focus of the Republican Party in this election is to win by any means – even if that means manipulating McCain’s military service, distorting the facts, or frightening the voting public with talk of war and terrorism.
In fact, Palin and all the speakers tonight make it very clear that the politics of fear and division is their preferred method of campaigning, relating to the American people, and defeating their opponents. Palin and her colleagues attempt to instill this fear and division by mentioning 9/11 again and again, referencing McCain’s POW status and torture over and over again, and talking about the continued dangerous threat by terrorists – that could attack on our soil again.
But, in her attempts to convey this message to the American public, Palin faultered.
Palin is – to put it bluntly – factually challenged. But she was not alone. Romney, Giuliani, Thompson, and President Bush all seem to manufacture the truth – a Republican truth – not, of course, the actual truth.
But don’t take my word for it. The bipartisan group – FactCheck.org holds both parties accountable for their misstatements. Last night, they worked overtime to keep up with the misrepresentations and distortions of the Republican speakers.
My prediction is that Sarah Palin will keep FactCheck.org very very busy, indeed.