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Poll #1271775 Vice Presidential Debate

Did you watch the vice presidential debate?


Who won?


I found this debate more infomative and interesting than the previous presidential debate, but that's not surprising -- I recall enjoying the Cheney/Edwards debate more than the Kerry/Bush forums, too.

I've refrained from saying much at all about Sarah Palin here, because I wanted to wait until the initial media wave was over and the dust had settled enough for me to have more than a "What the ...?" reaction. However, I have a personal anecdote that I feel is relevant to share at this time.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I were at Loco's, a local restaurant/bar. There was a somewhat loud table of guys near us, and they were talking about Palin. One was heard to exclaim, "She's porn star hot!" I swear on my Neil Gaiman collection that this is a direct quote.

This has become a sarcastic joke in our house since that time. My husband has a master's degree in cognitive psychology, and has plenty of experience in analyzing behavior from a removed perspective (also known as the "David is gazing at you as though you were an unusual insect" look). :) In other words, he's far too intelligent to fall for a choreographed song and dance. My beloved is more conservative than I am, but both of us agree that she's out of her league.

The reason I mention this anecdote is that it seems to correlate with a noticeable gender divergence I observed in CNN's response tracker. There was a split at times between the way Palin was tracking with male and female respondents. Watching her was much like watching a poker game: she full-on flirted with the audience, pulling out the cutesy playfulness shtick and actually winking on several occasions when she was bluffing and clearly didn't have anything substantiative to offer. I got the impression that she has relied on her looks to some degree in her life, and here, they were a fall-back measure.

Folks, she's running for the vice presidency of the United States, not head cheerleader. And the tracker showed that the female tracker respondents weren't buying it, but that many of the male respondents were.

Not that I think any of those respondents are reading this, but don't embrace her political views just because she's a pretty girl: critically assess what she's actually saying. Read a printed transcript if that will help you detach the appealing visuals from the actual content. Put a poster of her on your wall if you like, but don't force the rest of us take her home for four to eight years.

I make the following assessment of her skills as someone who has seen some outstanding speakers: I was a member of a college debate society, and I'm pleased to say that one of the most respected and admired members was my good friend, Scott. To paraphrase Lloyd Bentsen's famous quip, Sarah Palin, you are no Scott Wells. (She's no Eliza Doolittle, either, for that matter.)

Palin sounded very coached and rehearsed. She started off decently, but as the debate wore on, it was very evident that she was spewing out a conglomerate of crammed knowledge. She issued lines pilfered from Reagan ham-handedly, clearly having waited for any opportunity to insert them, and offered few specifics on how she and McCain would tackle the economy. She did not answer several of the questions at all, especially the one about having an Achilles' heel other than her lack of experience. If I had a dollar for every time she said maverick, I'd have enough to buy at least a quarter of a tank of gas. Sheesh. Word counters recorded her saying it 15 times, and she repeated it early in her post-debate wrap gathering.

She also got the name of the commanding general in Afghanistan wrong (It's McKiernan, not McLellan). I wish Biden had corrected her on that, but he was obviously not giving the McCain campaign or the media any fodder to use to say that he was condescending; he was not. I also wanted to see Gwen Ifill press her, too, but the agreed-upon format of the debate kept her from doing so. I know there were concerns about her objectivity as a moderator due to the book she has coming out about Obama; I feel she did better in 2004. I also think that she should have recused herself from this one.

She's supposed to be "of the people," and yet, Biden scored high marks here with a very sincere moment. He spoke movingly of being a single parent after his wife died, and his voice trembled. It did not appear to be planned at all. I also give Biden points for being able to focus since he departed shortly after the debate to be with his son, who is being deployed to Iraq today -- I had no idea that was so until after the debate.

(Whispered aside: My upbringing cries out, "She's one of the people, all right," as I think of her children's names and how well that abstinence-only platform is clearly working out for her pregnant teenage daughter, but Palin is plenty capable of failing on her own without going there, despite strong temptation. *mumble ... common as dirt ... silk purse out of a sow's ear ... mumble*)

Ultimately, I remain utterly baffled by McCain's choice, and it causes me to question his judgment. It was entirely irresponsible of him to pick someone so completely unprepared to serve as the leader of the United States of America should he die in office, which is a legitimate concern given his age and past health problems. Obama's choice was much more conscientious: while I still think there were better options than Biden, Obama did at least have the self-awareness to select someone capable of dealing with the aftermath should he be assassinated, which is a very real risk.

If McCain felt that choosing a female running mate was a good tactical move, why not Christine Todd Whitman? Kay Bailey Hutchison? Elizabeth Dole? Did he even call them? Did they turn him down? I'd love to know.

It's not just that I have absolutely nothing in common with her, save that she's a white brunette with impaired vision who knows how to shoot. This goes beyond the problem that she's a wacko creationist who crumbles even in non-hostile interviews with favorable lighting. Never mind that she seems completely incurious about the outside world (she's only had a passport since July of 2007, despite her much-vaunted proximity to Russia). To use an analogy that I used in my comments about the 2004 veep debate, Sarah Palin doesn't look like the junior partner to McCain: she looks like a complete tyro; a totally wet-behind-the-ears intern. The unvarnished fact is that she's simply not qualified, and she reflects badly on McCain.

And to the guy at Loco's, if you want an elected official who is "porn star hot," I suggest that you move to Italy. They've been there, done that, and didn't re-elect her.

As support for my statement that I've been watching closely but holding my tongue, here's the link file I've been compiling on her:

I found the following links through Terrance:


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 3rd, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)
I just finished watching it online (it aired at 3am European time, and I'm not THAT much of a politics junkee. Almost, though.) I also picked "maverick" as the the cue in my own personal drinking game. What a choice. And to think it was Biden that really did me in. Et tu Joe? Wheeeeeeeeeee

I just kept wondering if she has ever thought about these issues herself. She's pretty good at regurgitating what she's been told. Or at least was so in the first third beffore she got tired and I got drunk. Am strongly reminded of the old "Chatty Cathy" doll - (pull the string in the back and she spews a random recorded phrase!)

It makes me sad that most voters don't seem to really want to take the time to learn the issues enough to get past the sound bites.

Course, the fascist party bloc here got 30 percent of the vote in the election here this past week. ...on a campaign with lots of nostalgia for the Empire, but at the same time wanting to throw all the Yugoslavs out. I guess US voters are not the only ones who (at least taken en masse) don't really feel like thinking things through..

Sorry to post while drunk.
Oct. 4th, 2008 12:06 am (UTC)
Please, do post while drunk. :) It's lovely to hear from you, and I genuinely appreciate that someone took the time to read this. I put a bit of work into it, and I was fearing the "too long; didn't read" factor.

Hmmm ... perhaps Speakin' Sarah dolls with the pull string? I agree that she was regurgitating the talking points given to her by her coaches.

I think there are lazy voters just about everywhere.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


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