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Kyle Smith (Twitter: @rkylesmith) is critic-at-large for National Review, theater critic for The New Criterion and the author of the novels Love Monkey and A Christmas Caroline. Type a title in the box above to locate a review.

Buy Love Monkey for $4! "Hilarious"--Maslin, NY Times. "Exceedingly readable and wickedly funny romantic comedy"--S.F. Chronicle. "Loud and brash, a helluva lot of fun"--Entertainment Weekly. "Engaging romp, laugh-out-loud funny"-CNN. "Shrewd, self-deprecating, oh-so-witty. Smith's ruthless humor knows no bounds"--NPR

Buy A Christmas Caroline for $10! "for those who prefer their sentimentality seasoned with a dash of cynical wit. A quick, enjoyable read...straight out of Devil Wears Prada"--The Wall Street Journal

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    By Kyle | September 3, 2008

    Just got back from the convention hall, where I was able to score a seat in the rafters. As I’ve said before, the convention was a snooze at best last night, but Republicans got their groove back tonight. Huckabee was very nice, Giuliani was awesome and Palin was, if anything, awesomer. The Post’s headline tomorrow: “KNOCK OUT.” I don’t see how anyone can disagree. She was as good as Obama, and Obama is, by all accounts, one of the best there’s ever been.

    Topics: Barack Obama, John McCain, Politics, Rudy Giuliani, Sarah Palin | 46 Comments »

    46 Responses to “Yee-Haw!”

    1. Brandon Says:
      September 3rd, 2008 at 11:34 pm

      Wow. Couldn’t agree more Kyle the speeches tonight and just the atmosphere in general was awesome. I think it was a slam dunk tonight though I was given a reminder of why I prefer Rudy, he’s great.

    2. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 3rd, 2008 at 11:39 pm

      We didn’t bother watching Giuliani but we thought Palin was wooden, folksy, awkward, hesitant and preaching to the converted. You must still be drunk on Huckabee’s hooch.

    3. KS Says:
      September 3rd, 2008 at 11:53 pm

      Loved Giuliani and Palin. Found Huckabee’s school desk story weird–how were students supposed to come up with the answer to the teacher’s question? As for Romney, why have a speech that calls for choruses of “Liberal”? It’s too bad; there’s usually something off about his speeches.

    4. Patrick W. Says:
      September 3rd, 2008 at 11:58 pm

      Not wooden, natural. She didn’t have the forced emotion some politicians have. Come on, admit it, nice digs at Obama. (referencing the Obama line about people clinging bitterly to their guns and religion)

    5. John Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 12:01 am

      How Palin delivered that speech with such confidence and poise was unbelievable. She’s even better than Obama. Why? Because you actually feel good when you listen to Palin instead of Obama yelling at you like he did last week.

    6. shangui Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 12:27 am

      Palin delivered well. A fine debut on a big stage. But I have to agree with Andrew Sullivan that the content was pure reality TV. Great politics, but I have no idea what it has to do with running the country. The whole passing the baby to different people (including Cindy McCain) was just weird. If the kids are going to be campaign tools, then don’t complain about scrutiny.

      The “bridge to nowhere” thing is going to come back to bite her, as she was indeed “for it before she was against it” and had the state accept the money anyway. Apparently for much of the time she was mayor, the city was actually run by an administrator that she was forced to hire after outcry over a series of firing she made that were clearly based on personal grudges.

      I’d like to believe the GOP is the party of less gov’t spending, but all evidence in the last 8 years has pointed massively to the contrary (and cheering for the fact that she passed higher taxes for oil companies was something I didn’t think I’d ever see at a GOP convention). We’re pretty hosed no matter who wins.

    7. shangui Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 12:41 am

      Giuliani attacking cosmopolitanism? GUILIANI??? And McCain is always the “same man”? The guy has flipped on most of the major issues he’s weighed in on, from torture to climate change to tax cuts (including the estate tax). Nice try.

      They’re all liars, whether there’s a “D” or “R” after their names.

    8. Jules Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 5:50 am

      ‘blah blah blah Sarah Palin blah blah blah awesome blah blah blah I don’t see how anyone can disagree.’

      Hunter, congratulations on taking up this tough challenge and disagreeing.

      Why did they wheel out Giuliani? History has shown he will turn up to the opening of an envelope.

    9. PalinBites! Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 8:00 am

      Come on! Palin rocked? Its amazing how Americans can fall for this woman, the biggest wolf in sheeps clothing I have ever seen running on with the same crap, that she represents the interests and values of middle america. Didnt W run on this? See where that got us? Thats because its lies geared to prey on the lame sentimentality of dumb voters instead of them remaining objective and sticking with the issues. Sad indeed.

    10. PalinBites! Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 8:04 am

      Ditto McCain is a sell out. After five years of being tortured in a prison camp, he is essentially the only Republican to speak out against the use of torture on terror suspects but then flip flops and sells out alot of innocent people, because as has been evidenced a huge percentage of detainees have no terror ties and are innocent men, when his political career is threatened.

    11. EightisEnough Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 8:26 am

      Remember when (last month) when working moms with pregnant teens were liberal, bad parents, selfish and anti-family, and if they had stayed home and taught their kids the virtues of abstinence they would be good and their families would be better off. . Wow! What a difference a running mate makes. Now working moms are Republican, good parents, and pregnant teens are family friendly. I just cant keep up with the times.

    12. Mo Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 9:13 am


      Palin has awoken the following:

      Women. Women often sit out of elections, and would’ve sitten this one out.

      Conservatives. The Conservative base sat out in 2004 and 2006. Do you think they are going to do the same after being set on fire last night?

      You dems are in a hell of a spot. Not only do you have two candidates that appeal ACROSS the aisle, but one of ours also grandly appeals to CORE conservative values of getting rid of the established old hats controlling the party. (Did you see the look on Newt’s face when she said that? Classic.)

    13. Mo Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 9:14 am


      Totally agree about Huckabee and Romney and I’m glad they aren’t the main ticket.

    14. Brandon Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 10:41 am


      Conventions are always “preaching to the converted” so to speak though I think that is a more appropriate comparison for Obama given his zealtous followers and his tendency to tell people how to live their lives. I do however completely disagree with you on being wooden, everyone seems a bit wooden when they have to stand in one place and speak but she was I thought extremely natural. Folksy, yes perhaps but that is I believe part of her appeal. She doesn’t feel the need to talk as though she is above her audience.

      I’m convinced that Jules and Hunter will never be pleased with anything. I always sort of picture you two as the ornery old men from the Muppets, I believe their names are Statler and Waldorf though I do picture you two to be younger and more British. Shangui on the other hand I fear might be a secluded cabin away from being the unabomber.

    15. shangui Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 10:51 am

      The Freemasons run the country!

      (That was for you, Brandon)

    16. kishke Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 10:58 am

      Palin was fantastic! She totally kicked butt. “Like a community organizer, but with actual responsibilities.” Ha!

    17. Mo Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 12:03 pm

      “I always sort of picture you two as the ornery old men from the Muppets”

      That’s what the democrat party has become. Look at how cranky Reid is from the speech.

    18. Jules Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 12:41 pm

      I think most of the posters here could be Muppet characters. With his fetish for numbering, Mo would be the sinister Sesame Street character who is always counting things.

    19. Mo Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

      Damn right.

      That’s why I know Obama’s plan would tank our economy.

    20. Brandon Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 1:24 pm

      Jules if it makes you feel any better the cranky old muppets are actually quite likable in spite of their unwillingness to ever like anything.

      By the way, nice one Shangui.

      I do like that Palin managed to not raise her voice (always very shrill sounding) or do any maniacal cackling. Hillary’s tendency to do both of the above always made me feel like we were going to find out she was actually a super villain with a death ray aimed at Nashville…not sure why I went with Nashville there.

    21. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

      Hey, I like the Muppet comparisons, Brandon: Kyle is a ringer for the Great Gonzo (especially in The Muppet Christmas Carol) Mo was born to play Sam the American Eagle, Brandon is a natural fit for Dr. Bunsen Honeydew while Kishke, in both tone and content, is a ringer for Beaker; Jules would, of course, make an excellent Fozzie Bear. As for me, my wife swears up and down that when I wear flip-flops on beach holidays I walk just like Kermit the frog.

    22. Mo Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

      “As for me, my wife swears up and down that when I wear flip-flops on beach holidays I walk just like Kermit the frog.”

      Are you obsessed with being green? if so than you are a perfect fit. because as Kermit has stated, and Al Gore has proved.

      It’s not easy being green.

    23. kishke Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 3:50 pm

      It’s all lost on me. I know next to nothing of muppets.

    24. DarkSide Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 3:54 pm

      Palin has awoken the following:

      Women. Women often sit out of elections, and would’ve sitten this one out.

      Dear God Mo! What Planet are you from?

      Palin, I’m sorry to inform you, does not speak to most women. Sorry, maybe you have to be from Alaska, but I dont know alot of moose hunting pro life females. Especially in my part of the country, and thank the Lord for that!
      Seriously, why would the majority of women vote for a woman who believes men or the state should have control over their bodies?

      In fact all the women I know hate Palin with a vengance and she’s only been in the political fray less than a week. Thats pretty bad I would say. So me thinks that this play from the Karl Rove school of campaigning(playing the I’m one of you card) will ultimately backfire since most women, like any human being, thinks they should have control over their own bodies and for another woman to say they shouldnt puts Palin on the same level as Ann Coulter. Another words in a place where not too many self respecting women, unless they walk around half drunk and have one nighters with bankers in lower Manhattan like Ann, would want to be.

      Palin is a phony. And that poor kid wo has now been forced into a shotgun wedding. Yeah, they’ll be very happy
      I’m sure.

      Hopefully this is easier for you to read. I hit the enter key!

    25. Hunter Tremayne Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 3:55 pm

      Here’s a picture of Beaker, Kishke.

    26. DarkSide Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 3:56 pm

      PS-Mo, “sitten” is not a word. It’s “sat”. I suppose that makes me an elitist to know this. Ya know, one of those people that read books, has a fairly good grasp on my native language, and thinks Nascar is nothing more than a bunch of rednecks driving around in a circle real fast.

    27. Brandon Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

      Dr. Honeydew huh. I would have preferred Animal given my tendency to wildly drum on things and propensity for crazy hair days but I’ll take it. I am however concerned about your choice for Jules. Does Jules run about with a derby, a bow tie, and no pants? Fozzie’s wardrobe always concerned me.

      In case I forget to mention it I do love how this has become the Muppet thread. I finally feel like I’m part of a significant discussion.

    28. blackhawk12151 Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 4:42 pm

      While we’re on the subject DarkSide, when you said “Another words…” was it possible that you meant to say “IN OTHER WORDS…”?

      Because that would make sense (grammatically, not logically) but the way you said it makes you sound like a high school kid trying to sound smart and falling short

      Hunter usually acts as the grammar police around here…I guess if you say something he likes to hear he doesn’t bother

    29. KS Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 4:59 pm


      Ann Coulter is a banker in lower Manhattan? : P

      For what it’s worth, Levi Johnston’s mother says that Levi and Bristol planned to get married before Bristol got pregnant.

      I hope that someone confiscates Levi’s gum tonight.

    30. Brandon Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 5:28 pm

      Awwww Darkside we were having fun until you came in and ruined it. Naturally I have to reply.

      Not only do I imagine you know very few women who moose hunt I imagine you know very few women with five kids or who were former beauty queens. I suspect you also know few women who shave or use their real social security number for fear of showing up on “The grid”. You are over generalizing in stating women must moose hunt to relate to her, this is really all to show she is a woman not adverse to traditionally male dominated sectors of life. Can you see how that cleverly relates to her foray into politics? It is also to show her as a “blue collar” person and more down to Earth which is in contrast to her opponents. Also your correlation between a woman disagreeing with your narrow theocratic view of the world automatically being a drunken slut is at best disgusting and probably a chief contributing factor to why you don’t know more women. I’m pretty sure even Hillary would give you a taste of the back of her hand for such a knuckle dragging generalization.

      Moving on. Can we please stop pretending Karl Rove pioneered dirty politics? You guys lost to him twice, go home have a good cry and some Ben and Jerry’s and move on. It’s going to be okay. Dirty politics have been around as long as politics, hell they’re practically synomnyms.

      The abortion arguement is silly. Disagreeing with abortion does not mean that you want to control other people’s body. There are tons of procedures that are illegal for various reasons and none of these mean the medical establishment is seeking to control your body. A great example is people with amputation fetishes who want to have perfectly healthy body parts cut off it is illegal to have this done which is a far more intrusive invasion of a person’s control over their own bodies since it doesn’t harm another life yet I see no protest. China forces abortions which is again a significantly more intrusive form of control yet I hear no objections. Even beyond the control arguement is it really the woman’s body? Last time I checked they walk out of a clinic a-okay and it’s another body that’s had no control over it’s destiny left in a biohazard container. Also since I know you are looking through the lefty talking points to call me sexist or a neo-con or something similar I will give you my view. I think abortion is morally reprehensible and a barbaric procedure this is something that no sane person disagrees with and we would all like to see less of them. However I do not believe in intermingling moral beliefs and politics so I would not personally vote against it unless I was shown medical evidence that it was a) harmful to the mother or b)the baby was able to feel pain.

      I’m not sure which Muppet you’d be but I’m pretty sure it’s the one other Muppets wouldn’t invite over. Maybe Oscar the Grouch only less cool.

    31. Brandon Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 5:31 pm

      Ps. I know I misspelled synonym though it was really more of a fat fingering than a misspelling. Since the grammar police are cracking skulls I decided to turn myself in.

    32. kishke Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 6:00 pm

      Here’s a picture of Beaker, Kishke

      Well, he’s got more hair than I do, so that’s an improvement. The rest, not so much.

    33. Brandon Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 6:04 pm

      Kishke it gets even worse for you I’m afraid. Since Hunter made me Dr. Honeydew…well there’s no easy way to put this so here goes. You’re kind of my b***h. At least that’s the feeling I always got watching them on the Muppets.

    34. kishke Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 6:27 pm

      Brandon, you seem to be a nice guy, but … can I be someone else?

    35. DarkSide Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 8:13 pm


      As usual your counter arguments are about as weak as your spleen.

      Governor Palin is a blue collar person? Do you know many blue collar Governors? Cant say I do. Blue Collar tends to imply manual laborers, people that work retail, etc..Governor is not a blue collar job. It is certainly whitest of the white collar.

      Second I didnt say Karl Rove invented dirty politics. The comparison was based upon how Rove helped to sell Bush, as a man of the people which he isnt just because he lives in Texas. GWB, and I hate to even invoke him here but if I must I must, is from one of the most powerful families in the country if not the world, went to Yale and on top of that was part of an elite group inside Yale. Thats the definition of elite. Not someone who reads alot or doesnt like Nascar or country music. End of story. They are trying to sell Palin the same way with her PTA and moose hunting. So when I said it was a ply out of the Rove book, thats what I meant.

      To try to find a moral equivalency between not allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy, which I dont believe should be a substitute for a condum but is undoubtedly needed in alot of cases, and an amputation fetish is just plain dumb. How you could draw such a parallel? And it doesnt allow a woman control over what is residing in her body. The state simply has no right to determine that hence why abortion is still legal, but if Governor Palin had her way it wouldnt be. She believes the state has a right to determine this. If she would like we can always go back to the days of wire hangers or maybe just take a lesson from the days of communist Romania and the hundreds of thousands of children of forced births who wound up state raised, in institutions, or simply on the street addicted to drugs or prostituting themselvs to survive. We can argue about where life begins but pretty much everyone agrees minus the Jesus people, that its not at the moment of conception. Third trimester abortions are already illegal and are reprehensible. You know what though, this is one of those things I always find odd about the logic of Republicans; you have no problem bombing another country where in tens of thousands of already living children are either killed or severly maimed(i’m sure you have seen plenty of photos of the young man left without arms and badly burned because he was hit in a US bombing raid) but think the termination of a fetus is morally reprehensible? Again, another odd moral equivalency issue. Try explaining that. Dont try blaming it on terrorists either.

      I dont need lefty talking points either because I’m not a lefty and definitely not a lefty just because I dont like Governor Palin.

      And Brandon, I wouldnt want to hang out with you either. Last I checked people that vote Republican, support Bush, or compare themselves to Muppet characters arent too cool. Especially in my neighborhood.

    36. DarkSide Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 8:17 pm

      If you want to play grammar cop I will do it for you.

      How you could draw such a parallel?

      I meant to say “How could you draw such a parallel?” But I’m sure you could have figured that out yourself without me telling you.

    37. DarkSide Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 8:24 pm

      And in no place here have I endorsed or mentioned Barack Obama because I’m not really sure if I do. I just know I dont endorse McCain or Sarah Palin. Grant it if I was forced to make a decision Obama is a no brainer for anyone with any brains left after the last eight years. That might mean you Brandon, but judging by what you’ve written probably not.

    38. kishke Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 8:25 pm

      As usual your counter arguments are about as weak as your spleen.

      Poor Brandon. He has a weak spleen. Feel better soon, Brandon.

    39. KS Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 8:47 pm


      “Third trimester abortions are already illegal and are reprehensible.”

      So an abortion that occurs a day before the beginning of the third trimester is NOT reprehensible? Trimesters are artificial. You’re the one who isn’t making sense here.

    40. Mo Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 9:34 pm


      You sell European collectivism that has been proven not to work.

      You sell unscientific ideas on abortion when it’s proven a baby in the womb has brain activity and heart activity at 11 weeks.

      in short. You sell liberalism which is only attractive to 25% of the country.

      Epic fail baby. Epic Fail.

      There is a viral attachment to Sarah Palin and her story, and it’s NOT just among moose hunting alaskan women.

      In short.

      Epic fail. You know only liberal women with no children who are jealous of Palin because SHE EPITOMIZES the seventies view of feminism. She has a family, that is EXTREMELY well rounded. She has an EXTREMELY successful career.

      In short for liberals this November?

      Epic Fail. 25 – 30% of the vote max for your community collectivist.

    41. Mo Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 9:38 pm


      you seem obsessed with US bombing raids like they happen every week. The fact is they don’t. The fact is IRAQ IS BETTER OFF because of Bush. Are you going to deny that? That we handed over Anbar province to the Iraq government this week?

      Why do liberals ALWAYS have such a negative view of america? Why are you so closed minded?

      I was a liberal like yourself once, but for god’s sake I ALWAYS examined both sides of the debate. That’s why I had no choice but to leave the narrow mindedness of liberalism behind.

    42. shangui Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 10:22 pm

      Can I be Beaker? Always liked him.

      Mo, you write: “Women often sit out of elections, and would’ve sitten this one out.”

      Actually, since 2002 at least, women have been voting at a higher rate than men.

    43. kishke Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 11:31 pm

      Yes, you can be Beaker. Great hair and all.

    44. Brandon Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 11:53 pm

      Kishke I’m only mildly offended you’d want to switch Muppets but very well. Shangui, you’re in.


      Spleen was random personally I would have went with sphincter because it’s funnier but I digress. Now to the other goodies. True, you haven’t mentioned Obama but you have trotted out all of the talking points as though you were a “news”caster on MSNBC so my apologies for jumping the gun. To make clear though I’m also not a Republican if you look around the boards enough you will see me butting heads with Mo and others on several issues, always respecfully though.

      My blue collar conotation to Mrs. Palin was more her background not her current job specifically her work as a fisherman. Obama’s campaign has done the exact same things with the he was raised by a single mother, was a community organizer, was the first black student to be in charge of the Harvard law review blah blah blah. It’s called humanizing and is not a Rove tactic, it’s a human tactic it’s how we relate and identify. Also I think I said before the arguement of my millionaire is less an elitist than your millionaire is idiotic and off point.

      Speaking of off point way to completely twist my abortion arguement. I wasn’t morally equivocating abortion and cosmetic amputation I was equivocating how abortion ultimately is a medical procedure not a divine right and any medical procedure may be deemed illegal just as cosmetic amputation is. I even further clarified by giving my stance that I would not vote to ban abortion if I had the power to based on my moral discomfort with it because I do not believe legislation should be based on morality. However if medical grounds appeared showing it to be harmful to the mother I would vote to outlaw a dangerous procedure. Your arguements so far have been complete nonsequitors accusing me of comparing abortion and cosmetic amputation and feigning shock while you are perfectly comfortable with your assuming women who are against abortion are drunken sluts and then calling abortion just and military action unjust. You’re so backwards I don’t even know where to start.

      Now on to your clear anti military agenda where you specifically target the US. Since I am not a liberal I actually answer question and if I’m understanding yours correctly you are wondering how I can find abortion morally reprehensible (again not to be confused with asking it to be banned) yet am comfortable with war. I briefly considered having my girlfriend answer this since she is a political refugee who came here from Laos after the Viet Cong decided to kill anyone who they thought assited the Americans. This included marking her family for extermination forcing them to change their last names and flee with Christian missionaries to Thailand where she lived for 7 years in a refugee camp. I feel she could have spoken well to this but I think I can get by too. I feel like millions of Jews who were executed could tell you how valuable our bombs would have been a few years earlier. I feel the people of Liberia could tell you how aprreciated our Airforce would have been before hundreds of thousands were raped and butchered, this stopped when we arrived. Maybe the people of Darfur who are still suffering could tell you what a difference American bombs on their tormentors would mean. Heck maybe the women who were brutalized under the Taliban and not allowed education or rights of any kind could tell you what American bombs have given them, but you have to catch them early since they now go to school and are allowed to go out in public without a male. Maybe the millions of black Americans who were freed from slavery not by meaningless rhetoric and pointless resolutions but by the sacrifice of tens of thousands of lives can tell you about the place of war. Do people get hurt and maimed in wars? Hell yeah they do, heck look at McCain. So to answer your question of how can I morally be comfortable with war but not abortion? I don’t know but somehow I just am. But I suppose in your world this means nothing since the problem with these horrible people could have been avoided from the get go if their Mom just had the good sense to abort them. This all reminds me of a great saying I once heard and I wish I could remember who said it but it goes along the lines of “No one relishes a war it’s the worst thing humanity is capable of but only a fool does not realize it’s significance and necessity”.

      Seriously I can’t go without saying this and I know it’s going to sound mean spirited. How dare you morally compare a woman terminating an “inconvenience” to the actions of tens of millions who have given their body and soul to death and dismemberment so you can have the right to be so ungrateful and condescending. I’m sorry to Hunter and Jules and any one else who resides on the left for accusing you of being on the left it was not my intention to insult them. Darkside I’m all for good debate but I just don’t know where your head is when you make statements like that.

    45. Brandon Says:
      September 4th, 2008 at 11:56 pm

      PS. For the record the Muppet thing was a radical concept called humor. You should check it out.

    46. Jules Says:
      September 5th, 2008 at 1:27 pm

      ‘I was a liberal like yourself once’

      This statement doesn’t surprise me, Mo. My guess is that you are a Liberal (or even a “Marxist”) sent here to make Republicans look bad with your feverish numbering and angst-ridden comments.