Wednesday, September 03, 2008


An amazing speech by Sarah Palin tonight, simply amazing.

As I was listening to her most extraordinary speech tonight at the Republican National Convention, this is what came to mind:

I listened to the television network pundits after the speech and it's clear: they just don't get it.


Anonymous said...

I am impressed!

Anonymous said...

Very impressed with Palin, which makes me very, very sad she's running with McCain. She's such a great, small-town localist politician. John "National Greatness" McCain is the polar opposite. I don't like this. I feel like we're losing a great future politician to the current nonsense.

(Not that I have any strong views on the matter ;-) )

Unknown said...

That's interesting, Travis - when you mention "national greatness" are you talking about David Brooks and Bill Kristol or even Reagan's "city on hill" writings in conservative circles? Or is that the lefty-conspiratorial view of "American imperialism?" Or is it something else?

Having worked on a Senate Committee that McCain attended, I wouldn't classify McCain as imperialist (hardly) - in fact, his ability to be self-critical of the very parts of American government that he loved the most was quite remarkable at the time.

I'm not sure where the "national greatness" critique comes from for McCain - I am for one concerned that there an embedded fatalism in business investing that is creeping into the DC/New York business establishment (and I am a Reagan Conservative, make no mistake about it) - but has been causing me disquiet.

It's hard to see stories like this one and not wonder if this is just an isolated incident or if something is terribly, terribly wrong:

But I am wondering what you mean by the phrase "national greatness" - is it from the essay David Brooks wrote about ten years ago? Or does it have new meaning - like a left-wing view of American imperialism? If it's the latter, I wouldn't categorize McCain in that fashion. It's a very interesting phrase - what do you mean by it?


Anonymous said...


I agree. This has been the first time since the beginning of the election that I have wanted to vote for McCain - if that is the kind of future we can look for then I'm all for it.

Sarah rocks! Hope she does turn DC upside down.


Anglican Beach Party said...

TREMENDOUS speech. I could not be happier with Governor Palin!

She is a winner, in every sense of the word that I can think of.

Andy said...

Stupendous!! I stayed up past my bedtime to catch Governor Palin's address last evening and I'm still juiced. I believe she may have galvanized the party with her speech.

Folks, I think we may have witnessed America's Margaret Thatcher.

Anonymous said...

Great speech. No doubt she has a charismatic, winsome personality. Moreover, she can certainly deliver a line from the teleprompter and - I might add - she looks pretty good doing it, too! However, I found her string of negative, sarcastic, and deprecating jabs offensive and belittling to the high office she (and her running mate) seeks, not to mention the meaningful work of others. Besides, if we're picking a president (or VP) on eloquence alone...well...she's not even close! (Watch Obama's Iowa victory speech! "Yes we can!")

In the end I'm somewhat amazed at the way these two tickets are mirror images of each other. And, whatever the end result, either ticket would be hard-pressed to do worse than the present administration. So at least we have begun the countdown on the worst presidential administration in over 100 years.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to have to back up a bit. I'm a Bill Kauffman-style libertarian/localist. I'd might have been an anti-federalist at the time of the writing of the Constitution. I'm in favor of a non-interventionist foreign policy. So, I'd consider myself a conservative in the historic sense, not in the current sense. I see Reagan as a great president in so many ways, but ultimately one who did not downsize government as he ran to do.

So anyone who sees America as a liberator, as a Great Nation that has the burden of ensuring freedom around the world - I'm just not really down with that. I don't think we have a Constitutional right to do that. The founders said avoid entangling alliances; I think that was wisdom that we've long ago abandoned.

It's a libertarian/localist critique of McCain's foreign policy, not a leftist one.

Unknown said...

That makes a lot of sense, Travis. I am libertarian when it comes to the size of government.

That is a fascinating subject though - America's responsibility to come to the aid of those seeking liberty abroad (George Washington himself no less I think would agree with your perspective, Travis - which is great company and he was a federalist, but then - he didn't approve of the party system either!).

The topic of America's responsibilities abroad - what Reagan called the "City on the Hill" - which goes way back to the founding of the country - is part Jeffersonian "Manifest Destiny" and part Teddy Roosevelt's "Corollary" - this sense of mission. The question I think amongst conservatives is "how." In that way, McCain is very very different that George W. Bush - often those who have seen war up close become the peacemakers, like Eisenhower, who actually downsized the military (we can argue that the Soviets took full note of that and exploited it later, but never mind!) and poured finances into transforming the highway system (which some could argue actually had military goals - but never mind about that too!) ;-)

When I was growing up the idea of being openly patriotic was so trashed, perhaps today we can scarcely believe it. Vietnam Vets were spit upon and the idea of celebrating America was despised. I went to a progressive university and I use to listen to my profs go on and on about what a terrible country the USA was - just on and on - and perhaps we're still dealing with the aftermath of those years, especially with those who can remember the 60s and 70s.

When did it change - perhaps when the hostages were taken in Iran. That seems to have been a turning point. When did we know something had changed? When the USA Hockey Team won the Olympic Gold.

I wouldn't say it is a shallow nationalism - we show all our flaws on international television for the world to see. We have a puritanical need to confess all our sins in public in order to find out if we are indeed one of the "elect" - and that is a whole other subject. But it's funny that even after all these years - whether we are Democratic or Republican - our puritan (in the best sense) heritage is still on display for the world to see. Our country does believe it is in the "elect" and that it's "chosen" and yet we go through this endless self-review to see if it is really true, every political stream runs through New England.

I don't think you are wrong, Travis, to be cautious about the "Great Nation" rhetoric, no not at all. We are a long way from the flag burning years of the 60s and 70s and humility is perhaps a trait we should learn express not only here at home, but perhaps most especially abroad.

It was so interesting being in London for the shindig in Canterbury and just see how American the Americans really are - on all sides of the fence. It's like we can't even help it, like we know (whether we are on the left or right - it knows no political bounds, especially when we're abroad) that we belong to the best nation on earth and there's no way we'd trade being American with being anything at all. And the thing is, our friends abroad know it.

We think we're so self-critical, but in the end we still know in our hearts that we live in the best nation on the planet. It's part of the American DNA. If we become jaded our cynical, we become expatriots and go live somewhere else. But even then, as we see in writers of the Lost Generation - that even as they got dark and cynical, there was still this thread of expectation that American was meant to be great, even when she is not.

Thanks so much for posting - this topic is one that would be so fun to talk about around butterbeers and chai - and perhaps a few shots of Fire Whiskey. ;-)

Looking forward to your book, Travis!!