Before you read the rest of this post, I want you to watch this:
That is Sen. Obama, speaking extemporaneously, without a teleprompter, discussing the “quiet storms” that we all face. The speech was so good that Jay Newton-Small, who has covered Obama for 20 months, called the speech as good as any she has ever seen.
Sen. Obama is the man the Republicans like to say is just good at speechifying. You heard Joe Lieberman last night dismiss Obama as “eloquent,” but nothing more. You heard Fred Thompson last night say that “we hear a lot of talk about hope.” They like to say they are just words, and that he has no record, and that a good speech does not make a good president.
And then, after months of snide comments like that, the Republicans are going to trot out Sarah Palin, someone they would like to pretend is “authentic” and “real” and who has a real “record of reform,” but who is actually just another right-wing ideologue following a long line of pre-made hacks. And what will this “authentic” and mavericky “reformer” have to say? Whatever they tell her to say:
There was a flutter of attention when McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told a group of Post reporters and editors yesterday that his team was having to rework the vice presidential acceptance speech because the original draft, prepared before Gov. Sarah Palin was chosen, was too “masculine.” While we all wondered to ourselves what might make a speech masculine or feminine, no one batted an eye at the underlying revelation: that the campaign was writing the nominee’s speech before knowing who the nominee would be.***
So when you watch Sarah Palin tonight, expect to learn something about how well she handles a Teleprompter. Expect to learn something about the McCain campaign’s assessment of its political standing with women, or working families, or social conservatives. Whether you’re learning what Sarah Palin really thinks or feels is anybody’s guess.
How authentic. Fred Thompson won’t be the only phony just reading lines at the Republican convention in 2008.
*** Update ***
A preview of the zingers they wrote for her to recite. Should be quite the performance, and we will see she is a “fighter.” How authentic.