Friday, October 3, 2008

Veep Debates!

The TR Staff couldn't resist putting in our two cents about the debates last night. Here's just a smidge of our opinions, and it's all over the board.

The Queen of Snark

I think Palin still sounded like an alien -- wandering sentences, misplaced message rigor, no command of the issues -- and Joe Biden and Gwen Ifill were just too nice to go after her. She's a train wreck. And it's sad, because she's clearly talented -- she's just completely out of her league.
I hoped in vain for another Couric moment. Palin exceeded the low expectations most people had for her performance, and she'd clearly memorized a lot of talking points (or at least had good index cards on her lectern), and she had dogged message discipline.
I think the only measure of her succeeding would be if she could convince people that McCain had good judgment and could be a capable leader, because right now even some of his supporters don't know what he's about. As his leading surrogate she really didn't do that, so I think it was a marginal loss for the campaign even if it was a high point for her.
Joe Biden was gracious, conveyed heart-felt concern for the future of this country and was a bottomless well of experience and fact. When he choked up over memories of watching his sons struggling to survive after the car accident that killed their mother and sister, I was a goner. Joe Biden is the sexiest Man Over Sixty in the country today. As for Sarah Palin, once I got past her artifice of cuteness (grating “you betcha”s and winks like facial tics), I was very impressed by her self-possession and refusal to be intimidated by low expectations and the Super-Bowl-sized audience that showed up to watch her fail. Still, her performance - and that’s what it was - could not dispel the acute pain I felt watching her bullshit her way through her interviews with Katie Couric last week. My verdict on how she did overall? Still unacceptably scary as possible President of the United States.
Biden’s not the hot topic this morning, and that means he did exactly what he was supposed to do. In fact, he exceeded expectations: Biden’s heartwrenching personal story obviously wasn’t in Palin’s talking points, but it endeared him to parents, no bulldog-metaphor required. The expectations for Palin, however, were much lower, so she didn’t have to jump very far to reach them. Points all around.
Honestly, I have to commend Palin on her efforts in her first debate. Although she may not be the most qualified vice presidential candidate, I think it’s safe to say that she has proven herself to be a contender. Biden, on the other hand, only sees the world in hindsight. He never seems to fully answer the questions; he can only blame the Bush administration for every downfall. For a man who said that he doesn’t see himself changing, he’s sure full of contradictions especially when he’s in a campaign that promotes just that. Whether it’s good change or a change for the worst, only time will tell, because after all the Obama campaign never really specifies what type of change they stand for.
We're sure you've already started tackling the media crush of post-debate review, but what did you think? Who spoke to your heart? Who gave you the willies?

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