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Vice Presidential debate

October 3, 2008

ABC1 is showing the VP debate. It seems as though it is likely to run into Dr Phil time. It also seems to be less of a debate than a chance for each candidate to stroll out their stump speeches.  Instead of talking back to the television, I’ll do that here.  It will probably benefit nobody to read this…

“Can I call you Joe?” Good opening, Sarah…

Fear on the sidelines of Saturday soccer. Nice try – making McCain seem like the strong guy on economic policy.

God, “fundamental of our economy” – it’s a small thing, but get your cliches right.

So, Palin’s idea of a “new” energetic approach is to put… another old man in the White House.  Good call.

I want Palin to spell out the “corruption” on Wall Street.

Does Joe six-pack work out a lot, or drink a lot?  I demand clarification.

Oh, Joe, an anecdote…  Yay.  The guy (another “Joe”) at the petrol pump.

“Debate Camp” has obviously worked – she’s doing a good job at responding to the issues she can attack on, which are not necessarily the same as the issues Biden was addressing or asked to address.

What Palin could do as mayor of a small town does not speak to what she could, or would, do as a VP, right?

The person who seems most nervous in all this seems to be the moderator.

For the past few years, it’s been “working families” as the focus in Australia.  Politicians here shy away from talking about supporting the “middle class”; as a term, “middle class” seems to imply a comfortable place to be and therefore earmarking assistance for the “middle class” just doesn’t feel like it should fly.  As much as “working families” as a phrase made my skin crawl during our recent election campaign, it hurts less than hearing “middle class”.

A note on style: Biden seems comfortable, but a bit dull.  Palin seems patronising.  I think it’s the tightness in her voice when she gets on the defensive.  Oh, big slip, – Biden said “Obama” instead of “McCain” on the attack.  I do like that he rephrased “redistribution of wealth” as “fairness”.  Fairness works.

Bad audience!  They laughed.  No laughing!

Character…characterism…characterised – why was that so hard, Joe?

Biden’s good at looking at her when she’s speaking and the camera’s on him.  She seems to be constantly revising her notes and looking for key-word links to attacks when he’s speaking.  That’s probably why her responses seem unmatched to the questions.

Oh.  My.  God.  “It’s been, what, five weeks… so I haven’t made many promises.”  That’s a good ploy.

Don’t say “let me just ask a rhetorical question”, Joe.

Ha!  McCain brought people to the table???

Biden should avoid the “Chapter 7, chapter 13, it’s complicated” type of approach.  It’s condescending.  And don’t say “quote, I’m paraphrasing”.

Palin: “Your ticket’s energy ticket also.”  Maybe Babelfish will help me with that one.  God, she’s really showing her breadth of understanding, making it all about Alaska.

“As the nation’s only Arctic state…” blah, blah, blah.  “How are we going to get there to positively effect the impacts?”.  Maybe it was “affect”.  It doesn’t make sense either way.

“If you don’t understand what the cause is, it’s virtually impossible to come up with a solution.”  Hear, hear.  I’m so glad Biden has the guts to differentiate on this issue.  I’m sure it will lose some votes – hopefully it will gain more.

I like the way Palin uses the description “most expensive” as a good thing to describe an infrastructure project.  Seems to imply she wouldn’t be looking too hard to cap costs if a cost blow out makes it number one.

What’s an “all of the above” approach to combatting climate change?  A little from column A and a little from column B?

I like what he’s got on same-sex relationships.  Uh, she’s defending herself against accusations of intolerance in interpretations of her answer… before she gives her answer?  And she’s doing this with a some-of-my-best-friends-are-whatevs here?

Oh.  So, not gay marriage.  God.  I wish they didn’t agree on that.

Um, Sarah, Al Qaeda are not still in Iraq.  That implies they were there before you invaded.  They are now there.  See how that is different?  And success in Afghanistan may have been achievable if this Iraq folly hadn’t taken precendence.  How does winning in Iraq or losing in Iraq mean anything but a distraction of resources from Afghanistan?

Why does Sarah Palin keep saying “that’s another story” in lieu of actually stating some facts?

I’m glad Biden has reiterated McCain’s voting on troop funding.

Pakistan/Iran.  Nucula.  Gah.

Quoting Ahmadinejad is really not helpful in this context.  And saying the name over and over and over again is plain annoying.  When Palin mentioned “the Castro brothers” I thought she was talking about a new boy band.

Those people who “hate what we stand for with our freedoms”.  I hate the way she whines that.

I don’t think this is the place to start analysing who has the actual power in Iran, Joe, but focussing on allies, diplomacy and Spain is gold.

“Waning days of this Bush administration.”  I like that phrase.

It has been an abject failure – I think that’s a good summation of the Bush administration’s foreign policy.  I’m glad Biden repeated that, and that Gwen used the phrase when directing Palin’s rebuttal.

Blunders, blunders.  I can’t believe she’s looking at winning whilst using this language to describe her party predecessor. I’m hearing “vote for McCain, he’s not really a Republican” from her.

Watching Palin answering the nucula question makes me feel like a dog in a Larsen cartoon.  I’m just hearing “blah blah blah”.

Wow – “three weeks (spending) in Iraq, (equals) seven years in Afghanistan”.  That’s an amazing statistic.  I’m glad he repeated that.  He tends to get very flustered when the clock ticks down.  He’s also focussing more on his notes now than he was.  He’s starting to look a tad worn out.  She looks like she had lots of energy drinks this morning.

I’m glad somebody’s talking about Darfur.  The “rally the world” language is really good.  He hit that one well – “no stomach for genocide” and the fact that he’s been to camps in Chad.  So, how does Palin respond? Oh, the “Washington outsider” line.  What a crock.

“We a), first of all… that’s number one”.  There is a chance, just a chance, that Biden overshadowed his first point there, by emphasising its first-ness.

“John McCain knows how to win a war.”  WTF?????

Oooh, the what would you do if the President became incapacitated question.  Another chance to give the Presidential candidates’ stump speeches.  Good idea to name-check the “Bush doctrine” here, Joe, although to say “in essence, I agree with everything he’s saying” seems a bit weak.  He just handed Palin the chance to paint him as having “check(ed) his opinions at the door” but now she’s w-a-a-a-y overplaying it.  “A team of mavericks”, “bringing Wasilla main street to Washington”.  That’s just scary.

Does Joe Biden really spend a lot of time in Home Depot?  Aaaaand we’re back with the middle class.  “Say it ain’t so, Joe!”

I’m guessing we’re not going to get much detail on Palin’s education plan – blah, blah, flexibility, blah, blah, funding, blah, blah, near and dear, blah, blah, reward in heaven.

Hey, she’s finally woken up to the “it was just a joke” line.  God knows why she hasn’t used it earlier, but it would have kept a lot of laughs at her expense off the screens.  I’m a bit squeamish about the fact that she’s talking about focussing on “special needs” children “because that’s dear to my heart”.  I understand that she has a baby with a disability, but how does that give her any insight into what such children need?  Will she be implementing policies that send mothers back to high-stress environments soon after their “special needs” babies are born?  Grrrrr.

Oh, let’s not talk conventional wisdom.

Fark!  We’re back to Alaska.  Connection to the heartland as a mom with her goddam concern over her special needs kid.  That worldview is… exceptionalism.  That “shining city on a hill”, “the beacon of hope”.  What about “the economy that drags the world down”?  I like that Biden acknowledges the difference between his salary and position and the “heartland”, and I like that he talked about parenting as not just a “mom” thing.

Why is she trying to position Obama as “more of the same”?  That has to bite her.  And overselling the “maverick” line.  I’d rather have Ice Man in the White House than Maverick.  I’d much rather have Goose.  Does this talk really resonate?  But Biden buys into it – instead of saying “yeah, he’s a maverick, who’d want that”, he’s all “no, he’s not REALLY a maverick!”.

Up there in Alaska…  Sounds like la la land.  Bringin’ Alaska to DC.  That’s gotta work. “Walk the walk, talk the talk”.  Spew.

Honestly, why hasn’t Biden been hammering “change”?  He’s totally handed that word to her by not reclaiming it and… another Republican president represents change how?

I like the fact that Yahoo already has a past tense analysis of this up on their site.  So clever.  Such good typists.  Or maybe lots and lots of monkeys.

Finally – he’s hitting change!  Fundamental change!  I don’t know how well his “get up when knocked down” comment will go down – are people ready to acknowledge that America has been knocked down?

Anyway, it’s over.  Not as many giggles as I’d hoped.  Just more eye-rolls.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. jeverettphoto permalink
    October 3, 2008 2:32 pm

    Here’s what I thought of the debate.

  2. October 3, 2008 2:58 pm

    This post may not have benefited me in any way, but it still made me laugh. I didn’t watch the debate (and, in fact, was unaware that it was on TV… or today), but between this post and 8525826 others already being posted, I think I’m set.

    The word “maverick” reminds me of the word “rogue”. And, as I understand it, the US doesn’t like rogues. They never do what they’re told, they appropriate weapons, and then they turn around and say mean things about America(‘s government)! Mavericks seem to do all of these things as well, but that’s OK because they’re not rogues, they’re mavericks. Well… if they think so, I guess. BUT THEY ARE REALLY THE SAME THING.

    I think there are two other (short) things I wished to say. Firstly, that I guess Palin knows what she’s talking about when she talks corruption — she has experience with that, if nothing else. Secondly, McCain certainly knows how to get captured in a war, and I’d say that’s the polar opposite to knowing how to win one. But that’s just me.

  3. injera permalink*
    October 3, 2008 3:16 pm

    Once I finished this I did a wee bit of tag surfing and you’re right: the web is flooded with reaction blogs! The “maverick” thing really irritates me, but I guess the Republicans have done their research – it must resonate with voters, otherwise they’d drop it.

    I wish I’d paid more attention to what Palin was saying when she was talkin’ ’bout nucula stuff, but I was lulled by the rhythmic repetition of Ahmadinejad. I thought I heard her say something about the proliferation of Kim Jong Il but I haven’t been able to track down a transcript that backs that up. Still, I’ve got a mental image of dozens of Kim Jong Ils. It’s both frightening and funny.

  4. October 6, 2008 12:20 pm

    Do the Republicans really think the US public are going to buy Palin? Are they that suseptible to media spin? I hope not. Though George Dubya got 2 terms.

    However lets hope this does not turn into an election on race.

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