From Politicususa (9-23-2009):
Palin did actually show up for her CLSA Hong Kong speaking engagement! Let’s take a moment to congratulate her for this fine accomplishment. Showing up is half the battle, especially with her track record.
Palin gave a speech written for her by Randy Scheunemann, McCain’s fired campaign foreign policy advisor — and reportedly the only person who sympathized with her on the campaign trail. Well, Randy had help writing it from two other people (an expert on China and a DC lawyer), because you know it takes a village to regurgitate conservative ideas and attack the President on foreign soil. Apparently.
Randy is also with her in Hong Kong, which is nice, since Randy gave up his career as a serious campaign aide when he turned on John McCain publicly in order to support the nicknamed “Little Shop of Horrors”, aka: Sarah Palin.
(Read the rest at the link)
From Asia Times:
HONG KONG – Months after disappearing from public view following her resignation as governor of Alaska, former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin planned to re-emerge as a political force last week with her highly publicized appearance at a conference of heavy-hitting global investors held in this city.
The conference, hosted in the ballroom of the Grand Hyatt hotel by the CLSA brokerage and investment group, was off limits to the media, however, and Palin slipped in and out of Hong Kong without holding a press conference or staging a single sideline event. So there were only select witnesses to this eagerly anticipated second coming. If Palin is now blazing a comeback trail and setting herself up for a 2012 run at the US presidency, we’ll have to take their word for it.
In her keynote address, Palin reportedly spoke for 90 minutes on an array of topics – from Sino-US relations to Alaskan moose – before an audience of 1,100 invited guests and CLSA employees. Previous CLSA forums have been addressed by, among others, former president Bill Clinton, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, rock star Bono and South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
A CLSA spokesman said the firm decided to bar the media from Palin’s speech so that she would feel “unfettered” in her remarks.
While Western media tended to portray Palin’s forum effort in a mostly positive light, the Hong Kong press was not as polite.
For example, according to CNN, “Those who attended [Palin's] speech said she did well, though some could be seen exiting early. A few of those people said they were heading to other forum offerings.”
The Associated Press [...] mentioned no criticism of her speech by any of the asset managers and other financial professionals who were there.
A New York Times reporter quoted extensively an African-American marketing consultant who works in Asia and attended the speech. A supporter of President Barack Obama, Mel Goode told the The Times that Palin was “articulate and she held her own. I give her credit. They’ve tried to categorize her as not being very bright. She’s bright.”
Interestingly, Goode was also quoted in a local English-language newspaper, the South China Morning Post, as saying of Palin, “Well, she delivered well – but then so does Pizza Hut.”
Some in Hong Kong’s Chinese-language press were downright dismissive in their coverage of the visiting American luminary. “Palin Gives Speech in Hong Kong, Called Boring, Members of the Audience left early” was how a headline in the popular Ming Pao newspaper summarized Palin’s re-emergence on the world stage.
Asia News International, a multimedia news agency based in the Indian capital of New Delhi, reported widespread criticism of the speech in an article headlined “Palin’s pitch leaves Hong Kong investors unimpressed”.
“Several members of the audience described the speech as ‘long, humorless and George W Bush-like’,” ANI said.
ANI also described the walk-out mentioned in the Ming Pao headline, with those leaving complaining of the partisan political nature of the speech and saying they had “more important things to do”.
But Palin’s poor reviews should come as no surprise, at least from a Chinese point of view, if leaks from her speech that appear in a Wall Street Journal blog are correct. The conventional wisdom on Sino-US relations since Mao Zedong’s time has always been that Chinese leaders prefer to deal with Republicans because they are more practical and less likely to harp on human rights. Palin could upset this long-held assumption.
“We simply cannot turn a blind eye to Chinese policies that could undermine international peace and security,” she is reported to have said. “Here, China has some one thousand missiles aimed at Taiwan, though no serious observer believes it poses a serious threat to Beijing.”
Finally, in another clear dig at China, Palin called for “an Asia whole and free – free from domination by any one power”.
People here – the ordinary man and woman in the street as well as hot-shot investors – still remember how Palin was lampooned during last year’s presidential campaign for her ignorance of the world beyond US borders. At one particularly notorious point in the campaign, she was reduced to citing Alaska’s proximity to Russia as a feather in her foreign-policy cap.
To now have the same person who made this stunningly naive remark – not to mention many others – offering her insight on the complexities of Sino-US relations and international finance is a bit hard for Hong Kong to take.
Then again, this speech was not really about Hong Kong, China or Asia in general. Palin’s appearance here was clearly meant to burnish her presidential credentials in the US – and also to help defray the more than US$500,000 in legal fees that she faces as a result of 15 ethics complaints filed against her during her two and a half years as governor of Alaska.
CLSA declined to disclose how much Palin was paid for her appearance in Hong Kong, but if the rumored US$300,000 fee is correct, the erstwhile governor’s load of debt just got a lot lighter.
Indeed, soon enough Palin’s debts should turn to profit as she has signed on with the Washington Speakers Bureau, which represents many of the world’s most famous and influential people, and is said to have received over 1,000 offers.
So, like it or not, the world is going to be hearing a lot more from Sarah Palin.
A tip of the hat to our very own raisinette, the lovely and talented Jenn (a/k/a jlms qkw) for the heads-up on the Asia Times story.