Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Morning Debate Reaction!!

Thanks for the email Donna. This sums it all up. :-)

Fri Oct 03, 2008 at 02:08:05 AM PDT

The reviews are in! The media consensus seems to be that Palin survived - exceeding her incredibly low expectations - but that Biden won by illustrating his superior command of the issues and relentlessly going after John McCain. Definitely not a game changer by any means, and any day that maintains the status quo is a bad day for McCain.
The even worse news for McCain? Today the economy is going to be front and center again, as the House votes on the bailout bill and the September unemployment numbers are announced, after the government announced yesterday that jobless claims are at a 7-year high.
Kula2316's diary :: ::
Before we get to the debate reaction, I wanted to point out this quote from John McCain yesterday - given all the discussion recently about his anger problems. Heck,
even Krauthammer today is saying that Obama has the superior temperament to be President.
Now this presents a real problem for McCain. He feels that in order to win this election he has to bring Obama down and the only way to do that is to attack him. But, attacking - especially in McCain's way - makes him look angry and he therefore reinforces the whole temperament issue. McCain has already said that he plans to go on the attack on Tuesday, reported by CBS News'
John Bentley:
"When are you going to take the gloves off and just go at him?" a woman asked, to loud cheering from the audience.
"How about Tuesday night?" McCain answered to more applause, referring to his second debate between Obama next week.
But how does he do that without reinforcing this gathering perception that he is angry, hot-tempered, irritable, sarcastic, etc.?
On to the good stuff! The New York Times editorial board agrees that Palin was too reliant on her prepared talking points:
But Ms. Palin never really got beyond her talking points in 90 minutes, mostly repeating clichés and tired attack lines and energetically refusing to answer far too many questions.
Senator Biden did well, avoiding one of his own infamous gaffes, while showing a clear grasp of the big picture and the details. He left Ms. Palin way behind on most issues, especially foreign policy and national security, where she just seemed lost. It was in those moments that her lack of experience — two terms as mayor of a tiny Anchorage suburb and less than two years as governor — was most painfully evident.
She is not a person of thought but of action. Interviews are about thinking, about reflecting, marshaling data and integrating it into an answer. Debates are more active, more propelled—they are thrust and parry.
Not a person of thought. Hmmm. Using Noonan's logic, Palin does badly in interviews because they are "about thinking." I don't know about you, but I think that is a pretty important quality in the potential President of the United States.
She hailed Israel as an important ally, but didn't get much beyond calling for a two-state solution with Palestine. She called for cutting taxes to create jobs, but failed to counter Biden's outlining Obama's tax cuts for the middle class.
Bottom line: Palin's biggest task is convincing undecided voters that she could lead should she have to, and it's hard to see whether her performance, as clean as it was, held enough substance to sway them.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial calls it a draw:
In this debate, Biden clearly had a better grasp of the issues. Palin skillfully sidestepped questions she didn't want to answer from moderator Gwen Ifill and, in so doing, did manage to sidestep that media filter she talked about.

But if the gauge is whether Palin could go toe-to-toe and present herself as genuine and an alternative, she clearly did her ticket a favor in this debate.
Diane Francis, one of our neighbors up North at the National Post is spot on:
She wasn't present. She wasn't real. She was Sally Sound-byte. (hilarious)
This debate was more revealing than the Presidential one last week because it became very clear that she simply doesn't have the substance to be VP much less President which reflects badly on John McCain's judgment. Obama will crush McCain. Said that months ago. Truer than ever.
Headline of the morning: Sarah Palin ignores questions she doesn't like in debate (NY Daily News)
Best quote of the morning (Douglass Burns, Iowa Independent):
For her part, GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin – speaking with the programmed cadence of a GPS navigation system — used forced folksiness to deliver crammed material in the manner of a high schooler looking to score a good grade on a Spanish test. The kid may escape with a B-minus, but he wouldn't be able to order a cup of coffee in Spain a week later.
She might have undone whatever good will she earned with her "aw, shucks" Wasilla hockey mom ways, though, when she utterly failed to react after Biden choked up while discussing the death of his first wife and their daughter.
Palin's response was ice cold: "People aren't looking for more of the same. They are looking for change. And John McCain has been the consummate maverick in the Senate over all these years."
It was at this moment in the debate when Biden showed real authenticity and Palin showed just how programmed she was. She clearly did not know how to react - because she hadn't prepared for it - so she launched back into the talking points.
John F. Harris and Mike Allen of Politico declare Biden the clear winner:
To the contrary, it is hard to count any objective measures by which Biden did not clearly win the encounter. She looked like she trying to get people to take her seriously. He looked like he was running for vice president. His answers were more responsive to the questions, far more detailed and less rhetorical.
On at least ten occasions, Palin gave answers that were nonspecific, completely generic, pivoted away from the question at hand, or simply ignored it: on global warming, an Iraq exit strategy, Iran and Pakistan, Iranian diplomacy, Israel-Palestine (and a follow-up), the nuclear trigger, interventionism, Cheney's vice presidency and her own greatest weakness.
Scot Lehigh of the Boston Globe,
Biden's ready for the job
You can say this about Sarah Palin: She did better debating Joe Biden than she did being interviewed by Katie Couric.
But that sets the bar very low indeed. So let's pay Palin the respect of treating her exactly as a male candidate would be treated. And that means saying this: She was simply nowhere near as good as Joe Biden
So what did you think? I have to admit I was disappointed that Ifill did not follow up on any of her questions that went unanswered by Sarah Palin. Maybe that was part of the debate negotiation, but Palin clearly avoided probably about half of the debate's questions and I thought that deserved some attention.
Also, I think we could get a much better understanding of the candidates if we spiced up the questions a bit. I mean, we all know the topics - Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, the bailout, taxes, health care, etc. I want to see some questions that they obviously haven't prepped for as extensively... how about asking what their plan is for fixing our nation's crumbling infrastructure? Or how they would engage with China in their administration? Or their opinion on the India-US nuclear treaty? That's why Couric's Supreme Court question was so illuminating - it showed that on answers that aren't prepared in advance, Palin is out of her league and Biden is thoughtful and knowledgeable. I'd like to see more of that.

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