Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Palin factor

Sarah Palin was tonight's surprise. Maybe her speech was written by someone else, maybe she used teleprompter, but she delivered it with intent and gusto. She was great even though I will never be caught dead voting for her. Now, how much more objective than that can I get?

Palin sure showed a few democrats that they were a tad early in dismissing her so fast. A few days ago I thought that Obama had it all wrapped up, but well, maybe it is not that wrapped after all. You know, the thing about Palin's speech that knocked even occasional cynics like me was that all American quality of trusting oneself, of not doubting that it is worth trying the challenge. The woman is a small town mayor and a small state governor (population wise, of course), and yet she behaved as expected tonight, not intimated at all, though slightly endearing as it was cool to see her unable to sense her wonder at being suddenly projected to such a stage. She almost mangled the word Venezuela when she discussed freeing he US from the blackmails of you know what gang. This confirmed indeed that the speech was written for her as she probably had no idea where Venezuela was until two weeks ago. But that is the way politics are played, Obama did not know about Venezuela one year ago either but he also dismissed Chavez a few months ago. That is what happens in serious countries where state interests are more important than individuals and thus easily cross party lines. Something unthinkable today in Venezuela

And all of this is what makes US politics so fascinating, allowing us to watch any convention and enjoy the show equally, no matter who we plan to vote for. And for sure this electoral campaign is a heck of a campaign and luckily for us observers who cannot vote, the show is far form over.

With this post my coverage of US elections is over as I probably will not be able to watch the debates due to the busiest time of the year for me, and also the need to cover the local contest where not a single politician, not even Chavez, could give us a speech as crafted as the one Palin gave us tonight. And this was only one speech in a speech rich campaign.

Totally irrelevant and hyper-hypothetical note: I write this down separately because as I was observing Palin's speech I caught myself thinking that even though I disagree with her on many essential issues if she were to call me to ask for some consulting on some issues I would have no trouble sitting down with her. And yet if Chavez were to call me, a way more improbable event if possible, I would refuse. I suppose that until a couple of years ago I would have still accpeted a presidential invitation, but at some point during the 2007 referendum campaign I realized that Chavez is beyond reach for anyone and goign to Miraflores would be a perfect waste of time for anyone (unless of course you want to plug yourself in some sweet deal). Maybe it is the ability to have that feeling that you can still sit down with a political opponent, that it will not be a total waste of time, what makes real democracies tick.

-The end-

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