One of the first emails that hit the inbox last Friday made reference to how much Sarah Palin looked like a young Sally Field, star of the overwrought TV show Brothers & Sisters. You remember last Friday, when the world awoke to rumors of Sarah, and collectively said, Barack Who? (OK, maybe that was just me.)
So it is fitting that one week later we mangle an overused quote from the overwrought philosopher/actress to describe the GOP delegates’ attitude toward the Alaska governor:
They like her. They really, really like her.
They like her level of experience for a VP candidate – VP as in vice president, as in the person not leading the free world, not commander in chief,. The No. 2 in an administration led by a man with decades of government, military and political experience. She would break tie votes in the Senate, which the world hopes will include Obama and Joe Biden next year (OK, maybe that’s just me).
They like her record of reforming government, cutting taxes, and holding politicians accountable as both governor and mayor of Wasilla. That’s the town, according to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee Wednesday night, where she earned more votes as a mayoral candidate than Biden received in his run for president.
They like her good-looking, all-American family. The handsome dad. The son in the Army who heads for Iraq next week. The daughters (yes, even that one, maybe especially that one). The baby. The world’s most famous groom to be, who could star in a political version of Meet the Parents called Meet the Presidential Candidate Uncle.
They like that she’s run a business. That she’s comfortable in the outdoors, around hunting, fishing or snow-machine racing. That she can talk knowledgably about firearms with her Secret Service agents. That she played basketball then; that she coaches it now. That she won a beauty pageant then, and probably still could now (OK, maybe that last is just me).
They like that she’s been on the PTA. That she’s a hockey mom. That she made hockey moms cool with one ad lib on pitbulls and lipstick. That she seems more like them than any other national ticket contender in memory.
They like having a pro-life candidate who walks the walk.
They like the enthusiasm that Palin has generated among the party faithful. The increased numbers of calls from potential volunteers and donors. The growing requests for signs and bumper stickers, even if they just say “Palin for Vice President.”
They like her acceptance speech. Well, they love her acceptance speech. It showed that she could be tough yet good humored, whether on offense against her political opponents or in defense of herself and her family. They like her love of the people in small-town America.
She said, “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.”
They like that she showed her strengths in some policy areas, such as reform and energy, and that she’s ready to tackle others, including foreign policy. That she made it plain there’s a place in Washington for someone from outside the Beltway – especially someone from way, way outside the Beltway.
They like the phrase she uses to describe how elected officials should approach their jobs: a servant’s heart. And they were moved to tears by her promise to be an advocate in the White House for families with special-needs children.
They even like the media. Maybe that’s going too far. How about, they appreciate the irony of one question they’ve heard nonstop this week: Is this person qualified to be president?
If the initial response is silence, don’t worry. They’re not dodging the question. They’re stunned speechless. They can’t believe the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Palin’s resume when their own concerns about a certain presidential candidate were dismissed for so long. When they do answer, expect them to highlight the executive years of their No. 2 vs. the Democrats’ No. 1. For them, one can’t be talked about without the other.
And don’t expect this debate to go away. Neither side will satisfactorily answer the other between now and November. Sarah backers are from Venus; Obama’s are from Mars – or, in some cases, even farther out (maybe it’s me).
The delegates who arrived in Minnesota are not the same ones who will be leaving. If anything, they like Sarah Palin even more. Really, really like her. That’s not just me.