I Am Confused...
Republicans Lie, All the Time, About Everything

Ezra Klein Listens to Sarah Palin


Ezra Klein: Over the past week, Palin had begun looking like a character from Twin Peaks. Tonight, she looked like an up-and-coming Republican politician.... But I expected more. As delivered, the speech was effective as theater but curiously hollow... said nothing about the presidency she hopes to be part of.

An early example came in the halfhearted attempt to redefine Sarah Palin. No one doubts that things have happened in Alaska over the past 18 months, and Palin has been involved in some of them. But I wasn't quite expecting them to cede the 42 years before she assumed the governorship. The crucial juncture came early in the speech. They had the opening to weave a narrative around her preparation for the vice presidency, and decided instead to throw it away on a jab against Barack Obama. "I was mayor of my hometown," she said. "And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves. I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a 'community organizer,' except that you have actual responsibilities."

Good line. But no responsibilities followed.... Instead, she essentially agreed with her critics: Her experience amounts to 18 months as governor of one of the smallest states.... I listened for the "great things" John McCain would do to no avail. I went back to the transcript. "It's a long way from the fear and pain and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office," Palin said a few paragraphs later.

Nowhere did we hear of the great things John McCain would do, Instead, we heard, over and over, of the agonies John McCain endured. The presidency was presented tonight as if it were the Medal of Honor, or a purple heart.... [I]t is not, fundamentally, a sustainable approach.... If McCain is more appealing for what he did than what he will do, he will lose the election. It is, after all, only during the convention that you get to tell your story...