Palin: Maverick or Rogue?

By
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 1:38 pm

TOLEDO, Ohio — The McCain camp has pushed back hard on the notion that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is operating independently from the senator’s campaign — or, in the colorful parlance of a typically unnamed staffer, “gone rogue.”

Having observed the McCain campaign for almost two years, I’m inclined to believe Palin’s less-scripted moments are, in fact, less a result of active disobedience than in the governor’s own somewhat McCain-like unwillingness to stick to a script.  Here, in Toledo, where she just gave a speech on energy independence, Palin’s own independence took a literal turn: If there is any one place she has gone rogue, it is against her teleprompter.

Visible over the shoulder of the press corps, the monitor that displayed Palin’s speech shifted occasionally, as its operator struggled to pick back up after she drifted off in tangents, dropping in folksy-isms like urging some “tappin’ into new ideas” and noting “special interests” –  “I’ve had to take on some of that,” she said, “especially up there in Alaska, where they didn’t want any shakin’ up.”

Her ad-libs are short on “g’s.”

Following along in the prepared remarks, another theme developed in the lines Palin delivered: herself.

To the statement, “So, we introduced the big oil companies and their lobbyists to a concept some of them had forgotten — free-market competition,” she inserted, a “when I got elected,” as in, “So, we introduced — when I got elected — the big oil companies.”

And when the remarks had her warning “energy security…demands of us that we shake off old ways, negotiate new hazards and make hard choices long deferred,” she made the plea personal: “I do not want to hand this problem off onto my children or to your children.”

Though the speech was mostly a recitation of energy-policy proposals that Sen. John McCain has been offering for months — nuclear power, limited offshore drilling, “clean coal” — Palin’s flourishes made the speech hers. The line, “Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas” could be said by either the top or the bottom of the ticket.  But, “God has so richly blessed our land with the supplies that we need”? You would pretty much have to write God into a McCain speech to get him to say it. Palin adds it on her own.

The media traveling with Palin say that none of these flourishes are particularly new. They are artifacts of her stump speech, and, obviously, part of being a compelling public speaker is to make speeches written by other people sound like you. Unless you’re Joe Biden, in which case you simply claim all your speeches to have been written by you.

Obama is deeply involved with crafting his speeches before they’re delivered, and so doesn’t tend to improvise. McCain has the advantage of having worked with the same speechwriter — Mark Salter — for 20 years, achieving a sort of mind-meld that allows Salter to anticipate even where a “my friends” or three should be added.

If Palin’s speechwriter wants to keep his or her job beyond next Tuesday — like, say, through 2012 — I’d take note of what Palin’s verbal crutches are as well. McCain’s “my friends” tic is both a way of giving a speech his own stamp and, often, a sign of emotional investment — he’s telling listeners to really pay attention this time. He means it.

To judge by the difference between her speech as written and as delivered, Palin’s version of “my friends” is simply “Alaska.” The speech writer directed Palin to mention it eight times. Palin went to the “Alaska” well almost twice as many times. Drill, baby, drill, indeed.

It would probably be unfair to read too much into Palin’s freelance speech writing, though it does offer some insight into a candidate who otherwise has been hesitant to speak off the cuff.

When she went out of her way, though, to heap praise on McCain at the end of her speech, it probably was out of genuine enthusiasm. And when she changed a line from “our children” living in a “more peaceful” world to a “safer” one, maybe it was because she thinks the terms are synonymous.

At least I hope so.

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Comments

29 Comments

rawdawgbuffalo
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 11:21 am

http://rawdawgb.blogspot.com/2008/10/all-he-gotta-do-is-stay-white.html'>all he gotta do is stay white
Not to mention his effort has taken us from http://rawdawgb.blogspot.com/2008/10/from-tobe-to-joe-sixpack.html'>from Tobe to Joe Sixpack


bonniebluedenim
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 1:56 pm

Thanks for posting these insider tidbits, I'm enjoying reading them, and believe it or not, learning a lot. Ok, I know, I need to get out more!


GaryinToronto
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 4:04 pm

Perhaps I misheard but I thought she was giving this speech at a solar panel plant. If that was the case then her speech, which focussed almost entirely on fossil fuels and nuclear, was amazingly tone-deaf.

Aside from acknowledging solar as “part of the puzzle” her only other reference to it was to include it in a list of alternatives to be considered if they were “reliable” which is fossil fuel lobbyist code-speak for avoiding investments in renewables.


David
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 5:44 pm

She's mentally unable to handle “Meet the Press” or other serious press interviews, otherwise she would have done so by now.

She's style over substance and intellectually unqualified.

McCain might as well have picked someone at random from the line at the DMV.


MontereyDean
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 5:59 pm

“Flourishes”? I'd say, it's as if this woman has gotten a “social promotion” to the next grade, in this case, candidate for national office, and people are bending over, not always backwards, with euphemisms so as to not offend, or something. I don't get it. When she gets off-script, I can barely follow what she saying. She not only needs a coach, she needs to repeat middle-school English classes.


David
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 6:15 pm

http://www.palinaspresident.us/


SouthernYankee
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 6:36 pm

Maybe Joe the Plumber.


SouthernYankee
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

The celeb. Palin crowd are in awe of her. They will support her til jesus comes.


John
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 7:07 pm

Well, the way she has flaunted the law in Alaska by firing people for not getting rid of her ex-brother-in-law, and for charging the state to cover her kids' travel expenses, maybe they ought to find a jail cell near Ted Stevens! They could talk about old times for years to come!!!


John
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 7:14 pm

Nice website! It seems to fit so nicely!


Joe
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

Cheap shot on Biden because?


Johnny Mac
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 8:37 pm

Ana Marie is a PIECE OF ASS!!!!


FauxReal
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 9:29 pm

Are we going to nationalize the oil companies so we're guaranteed that oil from the U.S. stays in the U.S.? Otherwise, why do these people with their chant think the U.S. will benefit? These are publicly traded companies that have an obligation to maximize profits for their shareholders. If that means selling on the open market, that's what they'll do.

This is from July 31:

“While the U.S. oil industry want access to more federal lands to help reduce reliance on foreign suppliers, American-based companies are shipping record amounts of gasoline and diesel fuel to other countries. A record 1.6 million barrels a day in U.S. refined petroleum products were exported during the first four months of this year, up 33 percent from 1.2 million barrels a day over the same period in 2007. Shipments this February topped 1.8 million barrels a day for the first time during any month, according to final numbers from the Energy Department.”


FauxReal
Comment posted October 29, 2008 @ 9:37 pm

Oh, I forgot. After your Bloggingheads interview with Ann Althouse, I just can't read your articles in the same way. I'm surprised you weren't the one who presented McCain with donuts with sprinkles. This is from a Salon article about that interview – you are delusional.

Cox: What McCain's reacting to, is something that other Republicans are reacting to, iscu the kind of ugliness of the criticisms [towards] Obama. I think McCain in his heart of heart wants to win this fair and square. He wants to win this because he's the better candidate. He doesn't want to win this because people think Obama is a Muslim or is a terrorist or he's not really American. He wants to win this on his own merits. It upsets his sense of fair play — to win — to think that the support he's getting is because of what he thinks are bad reasons. . .

Althouse: But in the last month or so, he's been losing ground, and resorting to this terrorist meme –

Cox: I think that hasn't worked for them. I think they recognize that to the extent that that does work, that's not how McCain wants to win.

I adore the guy. I think he's fantastic in many ways. I respect him, I admire his service to the country. I think ultimately he's very principled and, to coin a phrase, honorable. . . .

I do think that McCain is one of the most unique individuals that I've ever personally met. As I said, I greatly admire him and think he's sort of an amazing person . . .

[The McCain campaign], not out of malice or intent, didn't allow themselves to think through how some of these images would be taken by their audience.


Ben
Comment posted October 30, 2008 @ 6:06 am

//Palin’s version of “my friends” is simply “Alaska.” The speech writer directed Palin to mention it eight times. Palin went to the “Alaska” well almost twice as many times.//

…because she's a secessionist! Who plans to turn Alaska into a redistributionist commonwealth!! Using those special vice presidential powers she knows so little about!!!


Jeremy
Comment posted October 30, 2008 @ 8:53 am

How can Palin claim Obama is a “socialist” when she is arguing for nationalization of natural resources? The Republican ticket has been an erratic and inconsistent mess, lurching from John the Populist to John the McCarthyist. Palin has been no more consistent. She delivers the lines a little better, although the folksiness is a little over-the-top. She reminds me of John Edwards a bit in that and other regards: the faux-folksiness, the preening self regard of $400 haircuts and shopping binges, the rumors of infidelity. . .


Peter Bowler
Comment posted October 31, 2008 @ 8:10 am

The candidates' relationship with their speech writers is telling. The McCain speech writing link has all the benefits of time and experience. The Palin speech writing arrangement is new, dynamic and fresh. Her writer(s) will definitely aim to second guess her speech needs; that's their job. They don't have much time left with this campaign, but there will be others.
Peter
Public Speaking


Peter Bowler
Comment posted October 31, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

The candidates' relationship with their speech writers is telling. The McCain speech writing link has all the benefits of time and experience. The Palin speech writing arrangement is new, dynamic and fresh. Her writer(s) will definitely aim to second guess her speech needs; that's their job. They don't have much time left with this campaign, but there will be others.
Peter
Public Speaking


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