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Palin’s Speech: Second Thoughts

The way to evaluate a speech like this is by what people are going to remember in the morning, and the only thing that people are going to remember about this speech in the morning is that she went after Obama — a lot — and that at times it it seemed fairly personal. It was almost kind of fun at first — I don’t think people saw it coming, and she got three or four really good lines in. But then it became too much — sarcastic and mean-spirited. Everything else — the outsider stuff, the family stuff, the media critique — is going to be forgotten about. In fact, the Republicans will look like whiners if they go after the media after that speech.

I don’t think the Republicans are doing as good a job as the Democrats were doing about pairing their speeches to the strengths of the speaker. It’s as if they wrote seven or eight speeches, and drew lots to determine who would deliver which one. So you have Mitt Romney — one of the wealthiest men ever to run for office — critiquing east-coast elitism, and Mike Huckabee — who is an economic populist in disguise — critiquing big government, and Sarah Palin — who voters don’t know one iota about — critiquing Barack Obama’s biography.

Nate Silver is the founder and editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight.

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