A little while ago I was eating lunch at Zeldas, a little cafe inside the St. Paul Public Library. While I ate, a reporter from The Washington Times asked if he could interview me about last night's speech by Sarah Palin. I had just been interviewed by Hannah, another reporter from the Washington Times, so I invited him to talk to Cuca, the Panamenian owner of the shop. Cuca told him that she is an Independent, who was quite impressed by Gov. Palin's speech. A middle age woman was sitting at the next table. She wanted to give her opinion, and she did. She thought that Palin was wrong, because she should stay at home and take care of her children instead of putting herself and her career first. An employee of the cafe came in defense of Palin, and a young male customer offered a weak support of the dissenting opinion. It was great to see everybody, invited and uninvited, joining in the conversation. It was exciting to see how many people are paying attention. According to today's news, Obama's speech was watched by 38 million people while Palin's, a name unknown to most until last Thursday managed to gather 37 million viewers, and generate a lot of conversation.
The atmosphere at the Xcel Energy Center was phenomenal last night. The Washington Center got passes to make sure that every student experienced at least one night at the convention with good seats. Last night was my night. I sat just three rows up from the red carpet. Granted, it was a side view, but we had the large screens to see the close ups, while we were close enough to take some pictures. I am at the library's computer so I can't post pictures, but I will do as soon as I can.
The professors and students who enjoyed the priviledged seats yesterday, arrived around four in the afternoon. Shortly thereafter the entertainment started with live jazz music and, compared to the ones later in the evening, insipid speeches by lesser known personalities. It was interesting to see how things work in real life. When I have watched the conventions, I always thought people brought their own handmade banners. For security, or whatever reason, banners are not allowed through the security gates. Before the event starts, young people came out with stacks of different banners that were distributed according to people's choices. There were Catholics for McCain, Hispanics for McCain. I held one that said Women for McCain. There were many others, and also for Gov. Palin. Someone behind me had a "Hockey moms for Palin" banner. They also brought smaller printed banners with McCain-Palin, and others with slogans. They are distributed where they know they will be picked up by TV cameras. By the way, during the speech I got a txt message from one of the students of The Washington Center, and another from my husband in Texas, telling me that they had seen me on TV during the Paling speech. My three seconds of fame!
Gov. Palin wasted no time setting the record straight as to her experience. Since she is running for VP and Obama for president, and they are both fighting against the inexperienced image, it created an interesting triangulation Obama, Palin, McCain. Interestingly, this week the Republican Party seemed to have changed strategy. Intead of distancing themselves from the last eight years, now they are accepting the past. They are talking about the benefits of the surge and how right was McCain in voting for it.
The only problem with the excellent performance by Gov. Palin is that it creates a higher expectation for McCain's speech. She is going to be a tough act to follow.
About 30 feet from the library where I am, there is one of the gates to enter the convention. I have been fortunate enough to be able to come Tuesday, yesterday and today. What a fabulous experience this has been! Next time I will tell you about tonight's events. Until then.