Mrs Palin has electrified the race to the White House. Apparently the ratings of the channel screening her first TV interview as candidate are soaring. Politics is interesting again! Republicans want to watch her because they think they are going to agree with her, and think she might stand up for them in Washington. Democrats want to watch her to see if they can trip her up.
I was witness to the passions she generates even on this side of the Atlantic at a lunch I attended in the City yesterday. Under Chatham House rules so I cannot quote or name individuals I listened to a succession of “liberal” women condemning Mrs Palin. They thought her Christian views unacceptable, condemned her lack of experience, disliked her approach to foreign policy and commented on how we only knew so far the views of her speechwriters when we needed to know what she really thought, with the implication that that would be far worse.
I was the only knight to ride to her support. I did so not because I support many of her views or because I have sufficient knowledge of how good an adminsitrator and Governor she is, but because the condemnation was so unfair and biased.
She was condemned for wishing to prosecute the war in Afghanistan – yet that is also Obama’s policy and he too has called for more troops to go there. If you condemn Palin for it you should condemn all leading US politicians for it, and Gordon Brown too.
She was attacked for allowing someone else to write her speeches. I thought that was what Obama – and most other US and UK senior politicians did. I am unusual in always creating my own speeches and blog articles. Just because Mrs Palin uses a good speechwriter does not mean she fails to direct and amend the speeches they write.
She was attacked for being inexperienced, yet I thought she was the only one of the four principal contenders for the White House who had ever run anything.
She was attacked for mentioning God. Apparently you need to be an atheist to run for office.
There are lessons from the Palin effect for the UK. Because Mc Cain is a maverick within the Republican party, who gets on well with Democrats, he needed someone who could engage and motivate the Republican base if he was to have any chance of victory. Mrs Palin so far has done that brilliantly. Republicans trust her and like her views, so they will now work and vote for the ticket.
Because Mrs Palin uses stronger and clearer language than most spin age politicians she communciates directly with more people. Some will dislike her and react strongly against, but many more seem to be liking what they hear and are reacting positively.
If you want to revive interest in politics it is necessary to cut through the miasma of politically correct press releases and pager statements and say something different. It is necessary when communicating to motivate some and annoy others.
Mrs Palin has made Mr Obama look ordinary, tired and very negative. That’s not good for the candidate of hope.