Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The best convention speech ever (behind you know who)

It's easy to forget given what she's become, but four years ago at the Republican National Convention, then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin delivered a jolt to the 2008 election with a speech that had Republicans and Democrats quaking for very different reasons.

It was one of the best convention speeches ever - behind, perhaps, America's introduction to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in 2004 and N.Y. Gov. Mario Cuomo's fiery "Tale of Two Cities" speech that he gave as keynote speaker to the 1984 Democratic convention.

In St. Paul, Palin was everything you want a vice presidential candidate to be in that moment - attack dog, character reference, values voice - but she also brought a dynamic that was new to national politics. She was a mom, small-town and sharped-tongued, and her audience ate up that fresh voice. Plus, for all the folksiness in her speech, she had an exquisite sense of timing and inflection.

Now, of course, Palin is a caricature of herself, tapping at the window but dismissed by many in her party. Still, her speech endures, setting a high bar for future vice presidential candidates. That brings us to Paul Ryan, who will step on stage in Tampa tomorrow for the speech of his political life. Republicans already are tamping down expectations - and with good reason. Ryan is smart and eloquent, but he's a white guy political wonk from Wisconsin, not a hockey mom from Alaska.

Ryan does, however, have speechwriter Matthew Scully, who also happened to be Palin's RNC speechwriter four years ago. According to the New York Times, Scully has been getting to know him and soaking up his speaking style on the campaign trail. That collaboration could produce something memorable, especially given the switchblade feel to the campaign thus far. But it's likely not going to reproduce Palin's electricity from four years ago. No one could, really.

It's worth remembering why:

Peter St. Onge


Bill said...

Let's not forget who else was in attendance at the 2008 RNC.

Isaac Aguigui, the Army private and alleged ringleader of a plot to assassinate Barack Obama and "take over" Ft. Stewart in Georgia, served as a page at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minnesota.

Larry Comrades said...

Who had odds on Democrats having the best speech?

Anonymous said...

Depends. If it's fiction and fantasy we're hoping to hear, then with no doubt, the Dems will win- hands down!

Jim said...

@ Bill 4:02 p.m.

Yeah, Bill, and John Wayne Gacy was active in Democratic politics and was photographed with Rosalyn Carter -- so what?

kantstanzya said...

Paul Ryan does not have to give as "electric" a speech as Sarah Palin gave in 2008. 2008 was about electricity and style and Barack Obama won handily. 2012 is about competency.

After four years of a dismal record, Barack Obama is not going to be able to over come his lack of competency no matter how "electric" his speech is or how many styrofoam columns or how much fake smoke he uses to create an illusion of greatness.