Why more votes for McCain might mean more Dems in Congress.
Update: 4) Palin sounded like she was campaigning in Iowa for the teachers' union vote when she talked about education. We need to spend more money. Pay teachers more. States need more "flexibility" in No Child Left Behind ("flexibility" to ignore it). I didn't hear an actual single conservative principle, or even neoliberal principle. Pathetic. 5) "He said 'Bosniaks.' Heh, heh." ["Bosniak" is a proper word--ed Unheh!] 6) Biden was still hamstrung on Iraq by his vote for the war. He didn't come up with a winning way out. It's Obama's fault for picking him; 7) Biden also seemed imprudently hyperbolic when it came to how there would be " absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple" in an Obama administration. Is Biden really worried about losing the pro-gay-rights vote? His vehemence was immediately undercut when he then opposed gay marriage. Isn't that, you know, a "distinction"? 8) Big loser, again, is Hillary. In two years Palin will be so much better she won't even be in the same league. ...
More:9) Biden helped by the restrictive format, as predicted! He came close to getting too revved up at several points--imagine if he'd had a couple more minutes to fill; 10) Ifill Awful? Why are we supposed to think Gwen Ifill was so bad? Sure she was bland. She's Gwen Ifill! But it was a pretty lively debate, and she got out of the way. 11) Here's the Palin sentence to diagram, I think:
A statement that he made like that is downright dangerous because leaders like Ahmadinejad who would seek to acquire nuclear weapons and wipe off the face of the earth an ally like we have in Israel should not be met with without preconditions and diplomatic efforts being undertaken first.
12) Save us from dial groups. Dial groups hated the 3 A.M. ad. The 3 A.M. ad worked. They hate anything negative. They would have hated Lloyd Bentsen's "You're no Jack Kennedy." They are fatally flawed because the people with the dials only have time to react viscerally to the words without being persuaded by the arguments. They measure only effective pandering. How do you indicate, on the dial, that Candidate X made you think? Yet CNN has gone whole hog for a dial group. ... 13) Emily Bazelon seems right about Palin and "Drill, Baby, Drill":
[S]he corrected Biden, who'd said, "drill drill drill," and for emphasis she gave a little shimmy. That's the effective blend of femininity and toughness that has made a lot of us waste a lot time this fall watching her every move.
14) If you were stoned, the other great moment would be when she seemed maybe flustered, paused, smiled and said in her high thin voice, "Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq ...."
**--Tina Fey actually helped Palin lower expectations. Palin got points for at least not tracking Fey's caricature. ... 7:42 P.M. link
Many Democratic friends are asking me why I'm not highlighting the National Enquirer's Sarah Palin Affair story, given the constant harpi ... I mean comprehensive coverage in this space of John Edwards' affair. It's not that I think the Enquirer's Palin reporting is necessarily off. It's not that I'm not curious! ... But Palin's spouse isn't and wasn't suffering from cancer, and Palin is not running on the basis of her good character as demonstrated by her loyalty to her suffering spouse. ... Isn't Palin running on 'family values'? Sure. But it seems to me she's running on 'we're-an- ordinary-messy-family confronting ordinary messy problems and we'll work it out' family values, not 'we're-a-near-storybook-perfect-faithful-couple' family values. And whatever happened or didn't happen was over a decade ago ("around 1996") and they seem to have worked it out.** ... Having an affair and still saving your marriage--now that's family values in action! It's almost the opposite of hypocrisy. ... Plus if Palin gets the vote of every spouse who has ever cheated, Obama's going to lose and poor Gwen Ifill isn't going to earn out her advance. You wouldn't want that. ...
**--Reader S. emphasizes the timing: Edwards was cheating on his sick wife even as he was campaigning on the basis of his loyalty to her. If he'd simply had an affair twelve years earlier, it would have been a different case. ...
P.S.: Bill Clinton's affairs were, in part, important because they empowered Hillary in internal Clinton White House policy disputes, most notably the debacle of her health care task force. (He owed her.) If I thought Sarah Palin was so indebted to Todd Palin because of whatever happened in 1996 that he would as a result exercise extraordinary power in the McCain or Palin administration, then I'd say we should treat whatever happened in 1996 as a big deal. But I don't see that, even though Todd Palin is apparently not a passive political spouse. ... 4:30 P.M. link
Photograph of John McCain on the Slate home page by Alex Wong/Getty Images.