Next Stunt, Please!
Plus--Can I vote for McGovern?
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Biden- Palin Debate: Before I get spun, 1) They both did fine--which is about the biggest surprise possible; 2) Seen without preexisting expectations, I would actually say Biden was a little better, because Palin was a little robotic while Biden seemed shockingly authentic. But of course there were heavy preexisting expectations. McCain's campaign not only successfully used the MSM's pro-Dem bias, jujitsu-style, to create the idea that Palin would be abysmal--all those leaks from debate prep sessions, about how badly they were going, etc.--but he also successfully made Palin the big issue: Would she even survive as a politician with a viable future, etc.? As a result, even though she pretty much failed to accomplish the traditional vice-presidential job of making voters worried about Barack Obama, she succeeded at what had become her main, selfish, task of making voters less worried about her. 3) In the debate, if it's close Palin won. It was close. In the overall campaign, if it's close, Obama won. It was close. ...
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
Photograph of John McCain on the Slate home page by Alex Wong/Getty Images.