When she was talking about her family, I was thinking "Hm, she's not so bad. Don't think I'd want her in charge of the country, but she seems like she could be fun to hang out with, or watch on TV." That's pretty much how I feel about Mike Huckabee too, actually. I was feeling fairly positive about it all during that section.
But then she got to the second part of the speech, and all that warm fuzzy feeling went away. My overwhelming feeling was "Wow, she's so mean. And nasty. And disrespectful." Yes, the Democrats said some negative things about the Republicans last week, but I honestly don't think they were as nasty and petty and sarcastic and spiteful about it as the Republicans are being this week. They showed respect for McCain's service and for other accomplishments. The entire Republican strategy seems to be to hurl every random (true or untrue) insult they can think of. Don't they have any better ideas?
Random questions/thoughts: When did "community organizer" become a bad thing? And did she ever actually describe what she did as mayor, after the community organizer laugh line? How many hockey moms are there? It's lucky she was in Minnesota and not somewhere less ice-friendly. Why did they keep passing that poor baby around? The kids? Totally adorable. McCain on stage with the Palins really looked weird generationally - like the slightly dotty old great-uncle who sits in the corner. That effect was much more pronounced than when the Bidens and Obamas were together - maybe because the multitudinous Biden clan evened out the generational stuff. Wait, why don't we ever see McCain's grandkids? Will they be there tonight?
I thought Huckabee was fun to listen to, as always. He at least seems earnest and genuine, and therefore I respect him even when I disagree with him. And he was the only speaker who seemed to have any respect for Obama or his historic accomplishments. Romney and Giuliani both made me want to throw things. They were both whiny, and Giuliani really seems like a bully. Really, it's kind of hilarious that the former governor of Massachusetts hates all the "eastern elites" and the former mayor of New York is all anti-"cosmopolitan" places. Do people actually buy into this? I just don't get it. Oh, and I still don't get what the big deal is about Carly Fiorina - before this, wasn't she primarily known for running HP into the ground? Why is she a good example?
"I just don't get it" might be a good summary of my reaction to all of it, actually. Time after time, I found myself asking myself (and the poor friends receiving my many e-mails and IMs) whether people (not necessarily the speakers, but the intended audience) actually believed that these things they're saying are true. I just... can't conceive of it. A lot of it was like, oh, when I try to read French, even though I never studied it, but based on my knowledge of Latin and Spanish and Italian. I could get the gist, but it just didn't quite make sense. Statements being presented as causal seemed completely unrelated.
Okay, here's an example of something that just seemed absurd. Palin said that one of the things Obama seeks to accomplish is "to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world." If she had said that his other goals would have that effect, then okay, she could make an argument, and I probably wouldn't agree with it, but I could understand it as a point of view. But no. She said that that, in itself, was his goal. As in, he wakes up in the morning and thinks "Now, what can I do to make America weaker today?" Do people really believe this? That's not entirely rhetorical. If any of you do believe this, please say so. I want to understand. It's driving me crazy.
As I said, I just don't get it. I've never really bought into the whole red/blue America, two different countries, blah blah blah thing. I believe things are more mixed, more complicated, more nuanced. But after last night I'm wondering if that was just me being idealistic. Because my Republican friends (friends! people with whom I have a lot in common, in many cases!) found last week's speeches as incomprehensible as I found last night's, maybe the country really is more impossibly - and irreparably - divided than I ever wanted to believe.