Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tonight's VP Debate

As bad as Palin's been all week, we knew that she couldn't live down to that level of ineptitude tonight. Literally anything she said tonight wouldn't be as bad as everything she said to Katie Couric. As it turned out, that's pretty much what happened: as expected, she exceeded expectations.

But what does that mean? She didn't make any stupid statements. Her statements and arguments were almost devoid of content. As before, she adhered very closely to her preloaded talking points, including repetetive claims that she and McBush are "mavericks". Lucky thing we weren't playing the Palin drinking game tonight. Nevertheless, content or no, she was perky, spunky, and stuck with her scripted persona. It was like watching Biden try to debate Kelly Ripa.

Biden, on the other hand, was great. There were a few points where his remarks probably got deeper into the details of what happens in the Senate than was good for him. On the other hand, he displayed a breadth of knowledge, judgment, and a commitment to the real people of the United States that was very impressive. One of the television commentators said it was the best debate of his life, and I'm prepared to accept it. While in past years he's come across as a lightweight, too fond of the cute smile and quip, tonight, he was a statesman.

The TV commentators were observing that Palin's performance were designed to, and did, shore up support among the Republican base. Maybe so, but that's fine with me. At this stage in the campaign, if the ticket that's behind has to devote this effort to shoring up the base, that means they're not passing, or even catching up, they're just trying to avoid losing any more ground. Maybe they did that, but that's probably not good enough for them.

4 Comments:

Blogger Stevem said...

I like the "Biden v. Kelly Rippa" comment - very apt. It's a good thing Biden wasn't close enough to put his hand over "Kelly Palin's" mouth, however. Clay Aiken almost lost a finger when he did that to Kelly.

Sadly, you are right that she couldn't possibly replicate her abysmal showing from the previous interviews. It was to her advantage that Gwen Ifill did not press either of the candidates like that bulldog Couric did.

Speaking of Ifill, I wonder how her performance will play tomorrow. I don't watch many of these debates, but I don't imagine the moderators garner much attention post-debate. I think she could have made more of an effort to get people to stay on point. But then, what would Sarah Palin have said? "I'll get back to ya."

October 03, 2008 12:02 AM  
Blogger Jack McCullough said...

I think the agreed-upon format was that there wouldn't be follow-up questions, which was how Katie Couric trapped Palin--after all, how much can you get away with just saying the same thing over and over?

One point that some observers have made, which I think is an excellent point, is that Biden won by seeing that his opponent was not Palin but McCain, and he kept taking the fight to McCain and his positions.

October 03, 2008 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Tom McC said...

I thought Biden did fine and was quite effective and the more honest person there. However, and it hurts me to say it, Palin did everything she needed to do. She didn't sound like a complete idiot and she sold McCain pretty successfully. That her statements rarely answered the questions, most people will write off to "speaking straight to the american people rather than through the filter of the media", so in a way, her dishonest and not substantive way, she came out winning. Sad, I know.
But, as John noted, even though she seems to have salvaged her political career for now, it doesn't help McCain much (we'll have to see the polls in a few days to be sure of this, but it seems clear)

October 03, 2008 9:12 PM  
Anonymous Tom McC said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

October 03, 2008 9:12 PM  

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