Sarah Palin: A Northern Star is Born

VP hopeful fires up the party with feisty RNC speech

A week ago Sarah Palin was a virtual unknown to most Americans.

But last night the VP candidate and Alaska governor vaulted to rock star status last night, delivering a hard-hitting RNC speech that served as both rallying cry for Republicans and a moment of redemption for the hockey mom.

Gov. Sarah Palin was the toast of the town the day after her RNC debut, her image plastered on front pages and home pages across the nation under headlines "On Center Stage, Palin Electrifies Convention" and "Hockey Mom Shoots, Scores" and "Knock Out."

Or, as one fellow Alaskan put it, she was like a moose going after a cabbage.

Critics raved that the powerhouse performance may have just won the election for the Republicans. Palin ripped into Democrats, defended herself against media criticism and quipped that the only difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom is lipstick -- a joke that showcased her no-nonsense style and warmed even critical hearts.

Many felt they were not only watching Palin redeem herself and McCain but also part of history. She was full of "humor and bite" and managed to pull off one of the best political speeches of the year, wrote Michael Goodwin in the NY Daily News. There were also comparisons to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

"Some may remember tonight the way Reagan's 1964 speech was later recalled - as the beginning of a lifelong political love affair," wrote speech writer Michael Gerson in Newsweek.

Palin's unflinching delivery -- her blistering and sarcastic criticism of Obama and Biden -- quashed all doubts that she was too green to lead, too inexperienced to fend for herself, and too shy to take on Dems, writes Politico.

"Nobody could watch that speech and still consider her a joke," wrote Tom Shales in today's Washington Post.

Palin proved she was worthy of the big leagues and managed to slam Obama for appearing elitist while describing her middle class background. Palin is "a very effective messenger for the perennial Republican themes" and offered an "authentic, sarcastic, white working-class voice," wrote Joe Klein on Time's Swampland blog.

Though most praised Palin for her wit some found the speech mean-spirited, divisive and deceptive.  Certainly the Democrats are going to have their work cut out for them -- and if they want to counter Palin's attacks, they're going to have to do so without appearing sexist

 "Palin shares nothing but a chromosome with Clinton," wrote Gloria Steinem in the L.A. Times.

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