m a r k a n d e y a

VP Debate

Posted by Brian on October 3, 2008

Thank god for the Tivo… I was able to record the debate while I was in class last night and watch it and plenty of post-debate coverage at my leasure last night. How do I think it turned out?

Well, first, a few thoughts on Sarah Palin’s performance. It wasn’t the complete train wreck that a lot of us thought it would be. SHe didn’t make any major mistakes (and I’m not going to harp on the small ones) and avoided the sort fo incoherent gibberish that came out during the Couric and Gibson interviews. But still, I thought her performance was quite lacking. SHe was over-scripted and all of her answers were obviously canned responses that had been drilled into her. She rarely answered the questions as asked and simply changed the topic to whatever it is she wanted to talk about (and when she told the moderator as much I thought she came off as quite rude; after all, I’m sure Gwen IFill put a lot of thought and time into deciding what questions to ask).  THere were flashes of her authenticity here and there (the few times she deviated from the script) but for  the most part I thought she came across as overly-coached and robotic. And her nervousness was apparent (though as someone who deals with a great deal of anxiety when puplic speaking I am totally sympathetic to her; it takes balls of steel to step into the ring with Senator Joe Biden and in front of tens of millions of viewers, so crddit where credit is due).

As for Biden, I thought he was absolutly amazing. He was sharp, knowledgable, authoritative, cool, and disciplined all night. Like many pundits suggested, he ignored Sarah Palin for the most part and focused his firepower on McCain, even with Palin’s constant barbs in his direction. HE was just in such control of the facts and issues and the policy proposals of both his ticket and McCain’s ticket that I felt Obama made an excellent choice for his #2, which is good for the country and a good indicator of Obama’s judgment.

So, Round 1 to McCain/Palin, Round 2 to Obama/Biden.

UPDATE: And one more thing… the way Palin would talk abotu whatever the heck she wanted to talk about created a weird sort of dyanmic on screen. It was like Ifill and Biden were doing an interview while Palin was off to the side randomly interjecting comments and quips. The most glaring example was when Biden got chocked up talking about a personal tragedy and Palin responded with canned response #438392 withotu so much as the slightest human recognition of Biden’s pain. Very weird… I can understand why partisans on the right are satisfied with what she did, but I just don’t think she did all that well.

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One Response to “VP Debate”

  1. Kevin Kim said

    I thought Obama made a good choice when he picked Biden, too, which is why I wondered at the right-wing sniping immediately after Biden’s selection. He’s not the kiss of death that Hillary would have been– far from it. I, too, thought Biden acquitted himself well, and I agree that Palin’s responses came off as canned. True, she wasn’t a total mess, but she was also sticking so doggedly to her script that, as you noted, she basically ignored debate questions in favor of following her own agenda. Disturbing in a Dubya sort of way.

    A more positive spin on Palin might be: tough and gutsy, at times wresting control of the debate from Gwen Ifill– a new, down-home feminist icon if you can get past the whole “reproductive rights” thing.

    Minor disagreement: I thought Biden was good, but not stellar. His claims are being minutely examined on the rightie blogs as we speak, and he’s being hammered on his gaffes about the Constitution. Not enough to make me dislike the man, though, or to make me worry that he’d be an abject failure as Veep.

    Kevin

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