Thursday, September 04, 2008

No, She Doesn't, Tom

Tom Shales was all over Sarah Palin's speech last night.

She proved herself in the great arena; that's what counts politically. Nobody could watch that speech and still consider her a joke, no matter how flimsy her credentials and qualifications may seem on paper. The joke, it seems, is on those who'd been laughing at her. Last night the laughing ended -- and the cheering began.

This was the most empty speech I've seen in a very long time.

Style points, yes. She got up there and put on the beauty queen act and threw red meat to the wolves in the audience. She made lots of jokes and took some NASTY swings at Obama (insulting community organizers? Really? They'll be organizing alright, organizing voters to vote for Obama this fall).

When it comes to substance, though, she has NONE. There was none of it in that speech, and none of it in her few appearances so far. Maybe 30 seconds to a minute even minutely focused on policy, and what was it? More drilling! "As someone who knows the North Slope, I know we've got plenty of oil to go around." That was a big applause line, but like all of her other lines, reality gets in the way. The current North Slope production is less than 900,000 barrels a day, according to a January 2008 DOE study of the area and its future production, with only an estimated six to seven billion barrels left in the fields. That will last until 2015, roughly.

If ANWR were opened, while it would lead to a tremendous amount of natural gas being opened up, DOE still estimates only an additional 36 billion barrels of oil being available. That. Is. Peanuts. So, plenty to go around? Eh, not so much.

Just like her Bridge to Nowhere claims, just like her earmark claims, just like most of her claims, the truth is FAR separated from them. She fires up the base, but she's going to turn everyone else off, because she is going to have to face tough questions, and she's going to get exposed for the empty vessel she is, all nasty rhetoric, no grasp of reality.

Furthermore, I wouldn't put down her guard yet. She's made lots of enemies in Alaska, and you know they're salivating at exposing her. She didn't get that "Sarah Barracuda" nickname for nothing. What we've seen this week is the tip of the iceberg, and as long as this election is about her, McCain will have no shot at winning.

Tom, the cheering only began inside the Xcel Center. The rest of the country was probably turned off by the nastiness, and most will still be offended at her miserable excuse for a resume.


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