Palin's Triumph

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Michael Wolff has an insightful piece on Palin's opening campaign speech for 2012 on Saturday night, but seems to misinterpret my analysis. I think it was quite brilliant as a political speech, just as her convention speech was extraordinarily effective.

It was and is pure sophistry - a string of crowd-pleasing slogans with no content whatever, except for an endorsement of a global war on Islam, tax-cuts, populist attacks on Wall Street, a subtle but scary attempt to politicize the military as belonging to one party, cooptation of one religion in America, and, with the exception of nuclear power (I'm with her on that) a desire for more carbon energy, not less (as long as it's developed in the US). She has literally no serious plans commensurate with the health care crisis and no plans to cut spending in any serious way at all.

But she sure can make a speech. It was the most electrifying speech I have heard from a leader of the GOP since Reagan.

She can electrify a crowd. She has the kind of charisma that appeals to the sub-rational. and she has crafted a Peronist identity - utterly fraudulent, of course - that is political dynamite in a recession with populism roiling everyone and everything. She is Coughlin with boobs - except with a foreign policy agenda to expand Israel and unite with it in a war against Islam.

Do not under-estimate the appeal of a beautiful, big breasted, divinely chosen warrior-mother as a military leader in a global religious war. Bush at least had some inkling that we need a strategy to depolarize the Muslim world and bring moderates along with us to defeat the Islamists; in my view, he genuinely believed that what happened at Abu Ghraib was wrong but couldn't break down his denial that he had authorized almost all of it (she wants more of it); his Washington Cathedral speech reflected statesmanship (Palin wants brazen projection of hard power everywhere and her election as president would represent a true crisis in any alliances that Obama has been able to rebuild).

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