Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Dead Pool or The Vice Presidential Debate: The Discussion

Sarah Palin and Joe Biden demonstrate competing sex-ed curricula.

Short summary: Palin isn't a raving lunatic, Biden almost cried, both candidates are mavericks promising unbridled change while supporting most of the policies of their respective major political parties. Yet one maverick's change is changier than the other's! I kid of course, McCain's policy proposals are obviously closer to those pursued by the current administration.

I call this one...another tie! Maybe it's my conflict-abhorring personality, but again I didn't see a clear winner emerge after the debate. Palin didn't embarrass herself. This adds to my confusion, however, concerning her psychedelic interview with Katie Couric (here and here). Was she just nervous during that interview? She didn't sound like an overly intelligent person during this debate - she parroted many of the same talking points she did during the Couric interview - but she also didn't blend them into an incoherent verbal melange. How many people out there still believe the Democrats=higher taxes canard? Palin kept at it, so they must believe it's effective.

Biden came across as a likable and informed guy. As a law student I enjoyed his response when Ifill asked if he had ever changed his mind on an issue. He responded that he had, concerning the standards that should be used for judicial appointments. I don't think this answer won him any votes though. First, it wasn't exactly clear what he was talking about (I didn't know who Robert Bork was before coming to law school). Second, this associates Biden with lawyers, that group of ne'er-do-wells we love to hate. Still, it was better than Palin's dodge. Biden dissembled a bit defending his vote to approve the invasion of Iraq. Did he really vote that way just to help the UN inspecters? The same inspectors that, if I remember correctly, the US later insisted leave the country?

Pundits often attribute every answer given by politicians to one convoluted political strategy or another. I often wonder how accurate these assessments are. Did Palin intentionally throw the Couric interview to lower expectations for tonight? Did Biden mention the judicial review thing in order to introduce Roe v. Wade in a round about way? Maybe. But then maybe they're just winging it after a point.

As far as the Presidential election goes, I don't think this debate will matter. An expansive lead has opened up for Obama. Unless the economy makes a surprise turnaround based on October candy and Hank Paulson/Ben Bernanke vampire masks, he'll be our next prez.


jason said...

This adds to my confusion, however, concerning her psychedelic interview with Katie Couric

It seemed pretty obvious to me that 99% of what she said was recited from memory. I'm sure her handlers gave her all her lines and said, "Don't stray from the script!" That explains why they'd asked her about one thing and she'd start reciting a speech that had nothing to do with the question.

Towards the end of the debate, I thought she fell into her trademark gibberish a little (I even said out loud, "Yeah, that's the stuff!" while watching). She must've ran out of pre-planned material.

Chris Matthews said it was like watching a spelling bee, but I'm surprised that none of the other pundits are talking about this.

Herr Zrbo said...

She did a lot better than I expected (had hoped). Her lines did sound rehearsed, though at least they didn't sound like she was reading straight from a script.

It was pretty good when she would just not answer the moderator's questions, like she was 'above' them. Isn't she missing the point of a moderated debate?

Little Earl said...

Well, what's not being said by the pundits is that everybody's been holding her up to such a low standard that she's suddenly "blown everybody away" simply by being competent. I've seen this before in the treatment of a candidate called...oh...what's his name...GEORGE W. BUSH?

There were two moments from Biden I liked. The first was when he said that he was still waiting for the McCain-Palin ticket to name a single difference between their platform and Bush's. The second was when he called the "maverick" tag a bunch of PR nonsense. Neither statement was met with a response from Palin.

Peter Matthew Reed said...

I think Biden did a really good job of being on the offensive. Everyone knows, when you are explaining, you are losing.

ninquelote said...

I thought Palin did a pretty good job, although at times she did sound as if she was reading from a script (which she probably was). But she also hasn't spent the last thirty years talking endlessly on the floor of the Senate.

I wish the McCain group would just let her talk normally and go for it. Why the hell did they put her on the ticket if they were so apprehensive about her making mistakes? I think she would do fine if she looked over the relevant material, understood the stance, and then just gave her answer. I know she's more competent than W.

yoggoth said...

Did you watch the Couric interviews Ninquelote? I get the feeling that she is exactly as competent as GW.