...I think this is an interesting way to look at the state of American politics. You have an angry subset of Republicans who feel unfairly maligned by a society that's changing in ways they don't fully buy into. It's a strain in American political life that's always been around and perhaps it's because of the nature of America itself --- it's been a dynamic culture from the beginning with lots of immigrants and second chances and social mobility. And there have been sweeping social changes in the past few decades, more changes than a lot of people are able to cope with. This group is fairly represented by Palin, with her "sharp" and "forceful" call to fight for their beliefs and dissent from the consensus. She didn't make any friends among the elites of both parties yesterday, but I stand by my belief that she solidified herself in the leadership of the aggrieved Americans who cannot accept the legitimacy of their political opposition.
Obama, on the other hand, is by nature a mediator and a conciliator which is why he is effective as a president calling for national healing (and less successful at every day hand to hand political combat.) He's the embodiment of all the social changes that freak out the right and always presented himself as one who can transcend them. But they don't want the differences to be "transcended", they want them to disappear. On the other side, a whole lot of other people are desperate to see him to succeed at that and have placed their hopes in his skills to work it through. They embrace the change --- and hate the controversy.
In the long term the country will either adjust and go on as it has or turn into something that's not worth thinking about. The question we have to ask ourselves is, in this time of economic upheaval and insecurity for most Americans, how is this going to play out in the short term? I honestly don't know. I'm not sure anyone can "transcend" the politics of these times (and frankly, I'm not sure I want them to be transcended either. There are principles at stake.)
But whatever happens, I doubt this debate will ever truly end. This tension, which becomes more and less acute depending on the times, is a defining feature of our country. For better or worse, those two speeches were equally representative of America.
A point well taken. America's permanently dynamic political debate is a feature, not a bug. The only constant is change, and both President Obama and Sarah Palin seem to instinctively understand that. One wants to make sweeping changes to go forward, one wants to make sweeping changes to go back.
The same desire for change that put Obama in the White House could very well put Palin there too. Keep that in mind as we move forward.
Or try to.
Hey, at least El Rushbo's employers figured out this was a bad idea.