Andy Barr: It’s The Venue Stupid – UPDATED


Last night Governor Palin gave a detailed foreign policy speech that even the usual critics like Andy Barr found impressive. With the usualy Barr snarkisms – of course – he writes (Abridged):

Sarah Palin outlined a more detailed foreign policy agenda Monday night than she had before, arguing the mission that killed Osama bin Laden perfectly exemplifies a proper use of American force.

Palin shied away from attacks on the president and instead articulated her own “common sense”  classic realist foreign policy.

Palin clearly stated a foreign policy philosophy that she says dates back to the Reagan administration – but in many ways came off as a five-point version of the Powell Doctrine.

First, Palin said, “we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake. Period.” That point led to her second, dismissing nation-building as a “nice idea in theory,” but not the “main purpose” guiding American foreign policy.

Palin continued down that track by insisting that a president must be able to articulate “clearly defined objectives” before foreign interventions – a standard she has recently Obama failed to live up to in Libya. As her fourth point, Palin declared that “American soldiers must never be put under foreign command.”

Palin’s concluding statement deviated somewhat from ideology she had been espousing, as she stated that while “sending our armed forces should be our last resort…we will encourage the forces of freedom in the world.” That last point is somewhat consistent with the non-interventionist ideology Palin has been growing fond of in recent weeks – but also provides her a clever escape clause from her stated theory that has allowed her to criticize Obama for, as she has said, acting too slowly in Libya.

“We can’t fight every war, we can’t undo every justice in the world,” Palin said. Sunday’s attack on bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan was “an effective use of force,” Palin said, unlike the “ill-defined” mission in Libya.

Palin demonstrated a seriousness Monday that many Washington pundits would posit she lacks, while her speech and the crowd in attendance showed off the impressive strengths and glaring weaknesses in her political brand.

Still, Palin was pitch perfect – seamlessly idealizing the “common sense principles” that she preaches while at the same time elbowing her perceived opponents.

But in classic Politico style Barr couldn’t just stick to the context and had to find something to complain about. So he found the perfect target: The venue.

He writes (Abridged)

The speech – held in a cozy, small college basketball gym – had the feel of a pep rally, exemplified by the auction-style fundraiser held minutes before Palin took the stage. And while the audience clearly adored her, it was an odd setting for one of Palin’s most detailed statements of policy yet. Only a few hundred people came to Colorado Christian University just outside Denver to hear her speak – and those who did seemed more interested in Palin’s platitudes than policy.

The small crowd didn’t even completely fill the bleachers. And though the event was ostensibly a celebration of the troops, it felt more like a B-list conservative gathering – replete with booths for little-recognized social conservative groups, iconic imagery of Ronald Reagan, and of course dozens of copies of Palin’s two books. One of the small university’s music instructors had prepared an original trumpet composition to commemorate Palin’s visit. And the National Anthem was sung by what could have been a barbershop quartet were it not for the odd variances in octave.

The other painfully noticeable aspect of the crowd was the advanced age of the attendees, especially given that Palin was speaking on a college campus.

What Barr finds “odd” with a large American flag displayed at a speech given as a tribute to the troops a day after Bin Laden was killed, is beyond me. But, Painful? Why Andy do you have a problem with seniors? Are we still upset about that Death Panel thing?

Glaring weaknesses in her political brand“? Right, and that is why Politico runs about ten stories a day on Governor Palin and has an editorial policy of having at least one Palin hit piece a day top centre of the home page, because of her “weak political brand”

The larger point is that, as we continuously point out, the bias of the left and the lamestream media. Had President Obama given the exact same speech at the exact same venue he would have been applauded for delivering a detailed planned speech and focusing on the issues and not on the pomp and circumstance.

People like Barr want to portray Governor Palin as stupid, not serious and inexperienced and if she deliveries a speech that defies that narrative, they’ll nitpick on something stupid like the venue, something the Governor had nothing to do with.

In light of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, President Obama last night asked for Americans to unite and put partisan politics aside for just a couple of days. Governor Palin answered that call and as Barr reluctantly admits, the Governor stayed away from attacking the president last night. It would have been appropriate for Barr to have done the same. Yes I know, that’s a little to much to ask of him, attacking Governor Palin is in his DNA.



Another flat out lie, Barr writes:

Only a few hundred people came to Colorado Christian University just outside Denver to hear her speak – and those who did seemed more interested in Palin’s platitudes than policy.

Well Andy here is a report commentator Firelight, who attended the event, left on my blog:

I WAS THERE and Andy Barr wasn’t. He must have been relying on a local hack.

For the record, it was in a gym but the University also uses it as an event center and it isn’t “small”. It had a stage, two jumbo screens, floor seating, VIP seating, a roped off press area (which I visited to talk with a friend) and yes, some bleachers.

This University is in no way rural. It is smack dab in the middle of West Denver Metro area. It is not suburban in any way either.

Every seat in the house was filled, all 1000 of them. Since it was sold out, they sold additional tickets for outside seating. There was a huge jumbo screen, a stage and seating for about 300. Every seat outside was filled (God bless them because it was cold).

Read the entire comment here


ABC News confirms that attendance figures:

Palin spoke tonight to an overflow crowd of about 1,300 people gathered inside and outside a gymnasium on the campus of Colorado Christian University in Lakewood.  The event was a fundraiser for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, an organization that offers support to military families.


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