C4P Flashback: September 3, 2008

Exactly five years ago tonight, almost to the minute, Governor Palin took to the stage at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota and delivered the finest political speech of her generation.  In case you’re suffering from a case of amnesia, here it is again.

It’s amazing how prescient that speech was. Unfortunately for our country very few, if any, of her predictions of what an Obama Presidency would entail have not come to pass. Last year we compiled a lengthy list of reviews of her speech from people across the political spectrum.  Here are a few highlights:

Michael Barone, in US News and World Report, described her speech as:

The most electrifying and fearless speech I’ve ever heard from a vice presidential nominee.

In an article for The New York Post, Rich Lowry wrote:

Last night, the question about Sarah Palin wasn’t if she’s risen too fast, but where she’s been for so long.

She may have given the best speech of either political convention. She delivered a brilliantly written text flawlessly. Politicians who’ve been on the national stage for decades could do no better, and usually do worse.

It is widely remarked that Joe Biden is an ideal No. 2 on a national ticket because he’s a “happy warrior.” Maybe. But Sarah Palin is a pretty, charismatic, winsome warrior, with a to-die-for smile, radiant upswept hair – and a steely toughness.

Sarah Barracuda, indeed.


Miss Congeniality isn’t afraid to administer an old-fashioned beat-down. Annie Oakley brought a gun to a knife fight and made like the Obama-Biden ticket was a moose lazily meandering into her gun sights.


Palin quickly established her credibility as a genuine representative of small-town America in a way few politicians can – and then used it to wheel on Barack Obama as a gasbag and a fraud in a witheringly sarcastic assault.

Kathryn Jean Lopez, writing for National Review:

Without pandering, without sounding like a politician, Palin was able to say, essentially, I am one of you. I work hard. Love my family. Love God (“a servant’s heart”). We struggle, just like you. But we know what is right and what is wrong. And I am here today to make sure you can make the choices you need to do right by your family.

She didn’t have to spell it all out, she showed it to us Wednesday night. She showed us that even a small-town gal from Alaska can be successful and be a leader.

And she laid the groundwork for invigorating a movement. Immediately after her speech, National Review Online readers e-mailed me to tell me they had just watched the next Ronald Reagan, the long-awaited successor.

In an article written by Michael Calderone for The Politico, Laura Ingraham had this to say about Governor Palin’s speech: “It’s one of the best political speeches I have heard — ever!” In the same Politico article, even the deranged Keith Olbermann couldn’t bring himself to criticize her speech. In a visibly depressed NBC studio that was so eerily silent you could almost hear Chris Mathews’ leg tingling, Olbermann allowed that Governor Palin “clearly gives a great speech”.

From the blog Broadsideofthebarn.com:

Governor Palin then blew the roof off the place. Everyone knew she had to perform and boy did she ever. Line after line she had every one in the arena jumping right out of their chairs. The media had spent the week slamming her, investigating her family, and exhibiting a level of unprofessionalism previously unmatched. When she ticked off a line about not caring about being accepted by the media elites, the crowd went crazy and started chanting, ‘NBC, NBC…’

I sat with a fellow blogger up in the nosebleed seats being both thrilled and stunned. I was just hoping she’d perform well, but had no expectation for her to deliver like that. It’s a speech I will remember to the day I die; it was that good.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air:

Palin showed her mettle tonight. Alaskans tell us that she is “tough as nails” and doesn’t run from a fight. Tonight, she challenged Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and the media elite to a fight to the finish. And she has bad news for them: she has no plans to quit.

Republicans should feel cheered and elated by this event tonight. No matter what happens in this race, we have seen the future of the party, and it looks bright indeed.

Fergus Shanahan of the UK Sun:

WHY, why, why can’t WE have a Sarah Palin?


She was an electrifying mix of passion, energy, optimism and plain speaking. The exact opposite of the slippery, two-faced, depressing bunch of third-raters who parade on our Westminster stage.


Showing steel beneath her magnolia jacket, she slaughtered Obama’s lack of experience, his vanity, his emptiness beneath the windy waffle.

It was the most powerful demolition of the Democrat hero I have heard in two weeks on the US election trail.

Michael Reagan for Realclearpolitics.com:

In one blockbuster of a speech, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin resurrected my Dad’s indomitable spirit and sent it soaring above the convention center, shooting shock waves through the cynical media’s assigned spaces and electrifying the huge audience with the kind of inspiring rhetoric we haven’t heard since my Dad left the scene.


In a few words she managed to rip the mask from the faces of her Democratic rivals and reveal them for what they are — a pair of old-fashioned liberals making promises that cannot be kept without bankrupting the nation and reducing most Americans to the status of mendicants begging for their daily bread at the feet of an all-powerful government.

Erick Erickson, for Redstate.com:

Sarah Palin took to the podium tonight and gave the speech of a lifetime, perhaps the best nationally broadcast political introduction in the convention history…

Tim Reid, writing for the UK Timesonline:

She spoke for 36 pugnacious, stilleto-heeled, in your face, Barack Obama is a limp-wristed cover boy minutes. She blew the roof off. Sarah Palin has now shaken up a presidential race like no other nominee in modern times.

Update: M_Minnesota notes that the Xcel Center is in St. Paul, not Minneapolis.  I’ve made the correction.

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