Friday, October 03, 2008

Biden-Palin Debate Notes

A couple initial thoughts about the Biden-Palin debate...

  • Palin did not have the Garth Algar in "Wayne's World" or Albert Brooks in "Broadcast News" moment that I thought she would have. She didn't collapse, and she didn't freeze up like a deer in the headlights. But after the initial round about the economy -- in which she did fairly well -- she didn't say anything of substance or significance. She used a bunch of generic platitudes: freedom, maverick, government-for-the-people. She came off very confident and competent, but if you read a transcript of what she actually SAID, she was very generic. Still, kudos to her for not dying out there.

  • Having said that, Biden wiped the floor with this woman on the issues. He might not have the "you betcha" populist charm that Palin has, but he was 1000% more sound on specifics than Palin was. He was confident, affable and not at all arrogant or condescending. (Even though I think he should have exposed her a little more for the fraud she is.) His moment where he mentioned losing his wife and baby daughter and not knowing if his child was going to make it was sincere ... not at all contrived or scripted. I played a drinking game with myself that I would take a sip whenever Biden said "change" or "literally" (two words he does overuse). But I could have been a Baptist preacher given the number of times he blurted those out.

  • CNN had a bunch of stuff happening on their HD screens. First, there was a chart at the bottom of the screen that looks like a heart meter that told how men and women in the state of Ohio thought about each particular point being made -- negative or positive. Forget the fact that Ohio voted for Bush two elections in a row, and therefore should have all their electoral votes called into question, it's very distracting to hear a bunch of Wole-Marts moms-n-dads giving their instant feedback to any given piece of information that the VP candidates are saying. Also, on the HD feed, there were running polls by the pundits, giving pluses and minuses for every moment, much like the show "Around the Horn" on ESPN. It was super-distracting.

  • Gwen Ifill was absolutely terrible. She skipped around and didn't give equal time for each one to answer. There were times that I would have loved to have had Biden respond to something Palin said, and other times it would have been great to get Palin's perspective. But Ifill just stuck to her script and didn't allow for the spontenaity that Jim Lehrer had encouraged just 6 days prior.

  • NBC's Brian Williams had three people on a panel for post-debate spin. He had Peggy Noonan -- a former Ronald Regan speechwriter, gee, I wonder who she preferred -- a middle-of-the-road person from NPR (who gave the only worthwhile perspective), and the worthless Jane Swift, former governor of Massachussetts, who was glowing in her talking-points-heavy praise of Palin. If people like Swift, Romney, Pataki, Palin, Schwartzenegger, Ventura and Jeb Bush are any indication, apparently it's not that hard to be the governor of a state. This analysis was worthless. Can we just kill the "spin" that goes on in this country? On both sides? Spin is the reason we no longer have "truth" but only "differing perspectives." I miss truth.

  • I don't think this is going to save McCain. I think that unless something HUGE happens (such as Obama accidentally burning down an orphanage), he is going to take this election. He has the glow around him.

  • I am so annoyed with people confusing "uneducated" with "folksy." Just because you are simple and don't have the "curiosity" gene, does not make you simply "regular folk." We should not be rewarding "regular guys" by voting them into office. We have had a "regular guy" president for eight years and it has been a disaster. Let's not say that since someone didn't get any fancy book-learnin' that they should somehow be confused with salt-of-the-earth regular people. Ignorance is ignorance; stop making excuses for people -- not just Palin, but all people -- who are uneducated but try to pass it off as simply having "small town values." Enough of that shit.

This won't really change the game much, but it was pretty interesting. Palin didn't fall flat on her face, but read the transcript: she really didn't say much other than a lot of hollow catch-phrases. Read this knee-jerk poll to show that it didn't really move anyone either way. The more I've been reading about this, the more I am convinced that Palin actually did more harm than good by being the talking points candidate, and showing her disregard for minutiae.

We shall see....


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