Thursday, September 04, 2008

A Few More Quips

Steve Benen:

Watching the speeches, and the contortions Republicans have to go through to avoid mentioning the current president (and ostensible head of their party), it's like getting stuck in a "Twilight Zone" episode. The multi-millionaire former mayor of New York railed against "cosmopolitans." The multi-millionaire, Harvard-trained, former governor of Massachusetts railed against "eastern elites." Just 48 hours after the party's nominee insisted the convention would be less partisan, we're bombarded with the most ugly and nasty partisanship of any party gathering in years.

Jesse Taylor

Haha, “community organizer”. Barack Obama sold mixtapes out of the back of his Cadillac, that shifty bitch.

Ezra Klein:

...the speech was slave to the same priorities that governed her selection as vice president: It was aimed at wining the news cycle, not the campaign.

Oliver Willis:

...basically the GOP told the party the Reichstag was still burning...

Jesse Taylor again:

This is a speech to Michelle Malkin’s fucking comments section.

Sean at

In the past several hours, Dems I’ve spoken with and who’ve flooded my inbox are energized. A woman friend and Democrat who had not worked for Obama’s campaign: “I am volunteering tomorrow.” An Obama organizer who was operating on fumes five months ago: “They are not getting away with this. 10 hours of call time tomorrow.” A shorter read of the mood: “Let’s get it on.” (...)

Fire up both bases equally, it’s not even close. Obama wins going away. In 2008, there are so many more Democrats, numerically.

Finally, Nate at

I think some of you are underestimating the percentage of voters for whom Sarah Palin lacks the standing to make this critique of Barack Obama. To many voters, she is either entirely unknown, or is known as an US Weekly caricature of a woman who eats mooseburgers and has a pregnant daughter. To change someone's opinion, you have to do one of two things. Either, you have to be a trusted voice of authority, or you have to persuade them. Palin is not a trusted voice of authority -- she's much too new. But neither was this a persuasive speech. It was staccato, insistent, a little corny. It preached to the proverbial choir. It was also, as one of my commentors astutely noted, a speech written by a man and for a man, but delivered by a woman, which produces a certain amount of cognitive dissonance.

In exceedingly plain English, I think there's a pretty big who the fuck does she think she is? factor. And not just among us Daily Kos reading, merlot-drinking liberals. I think Palin's speech will be instinctively unappealing to other whole demographics of voters, including particuarly working-class men (among whom there may be a misogyny factor) and professional post-menopausal women. As another of my commentors put it:
Not only does Palin's inexperience trump Obama's... her "otherness" also trumps his. Where she comes from, the way she talks, her bio, lifestyle, and all the moose and caribou stuff... it makes her seem more exotic than Obama, who after all lives in the middle of America and has a life that people can readily understand.

Palin may be just as American as anybody, but she still seems to come from Somewhere Else.

This would be fine... even interesting and appealing... if she weren't attacking. But we have a deep, instinctive aversion to people who are part of us (even if we don't really like them much) being attacked by people we perceive as outsiders. Our instinct is to stiffen up, to protect.
This point may be a little bit overstated, but the fact remains that Barack Obama is extremely well known and Palin is largely unknown, and when that is the case, your perception of the known commodity is more likely to influence your perception of the unknown commodity than the other way around. If there's a certain Italian restaurant that you've been going to for years, and some stranger stops you on the street and tells you that they don't know how to cook their pasta, you're going to think that the stranger is a kook -- not that the restaurant is poor.

And not only is Barack Obama exceptionally well known, but perceptions of him are exceptionally well entrenched. In today's Rasmussen numbers, 63 percent of voters had either a very favorable or a very unfavorable perception of Obama. This is an extremely high figure.

No comments: