Who Won the VP Debate?

She didn’t answer the questions, and she didn’t offer anything new, but what Sara Palin did tonight is prove that she’s not the idiot that much of the country thought she was. In terms of the Vice-Presidency, this isn’t saying much. Not-being-an-idiot is the first rung of a very tall ladder. In terms of political capital, Palin’s performance tonight stops and perhaps even corrects the downward spiral of the McCain/Palin campaign. Granted, she’s far from serving as the sole savior of this sinking ship, but she did her homework and boosted the confidence of most Republicans, and perhaps a few undecideds as well.

Don’t get me wrong, she’s still wrong; but being wrong is a lot different than being understood. The Democrats learned this lesson the hard way, twice: first with Al Gore, then with John Kerry. Mozart might be the better musician, but that doesn’t mean he’s selling more albums right now.  In a time of political, economic, and global crisis – Americans don’t want their world to be complex, and a politician who can’t speak plainly is an unwelcome guest – to wit, Gore, Kerry, and from time to time, Obama and Biden.

Quite a few of us read dozens of websites and a blizzard of articles every day on politics and political topics – and for us, the choice is clear: Obama or McCain. To us, being undecided is borderline unpatriotic. Those who are undecided will argue, and be right, that they don’t have the luxury of reading a dozen websites and a blizzard of articles.

For too many Americans, the person who can explain our world in the most simple terms is the person they trust most to lead them through times of crisis. This used to be the job of the media. Now it’s the job of the President. Perhaps one day it will again be the job of the President to be complex and the job of the media to be plain spoken. For the time being, we have a bluegrass President in a Baroque world. 

It occured to me while watching the debates that the McCain strategy can be summarized in a single sentence: obfuscate the facts until nobody trusts them, distort the perceptions of the media until nobody trusts them either, and make this election about an emotional gut reaction, then start waving that flag. If this is their goal, then they couldn’t have found a better pick for Vice-President.


19 responses to “Who Won the VP Debate?

  1. Pingback: » Who Won the VP Debate Part Two: What Other’s Have to Say Disillusioned Words: atheism, art and politics

  2. I think Palin did fine, which made the debates much more boring than they could have been. But Biden still wiped the floor with her. It was just so clear that he really knew what he was talking about and that Palin was just reciting memorized talking points and cute little phrases.

  3. Joe Biden looked good delivering some foreign policy points, but this does not make them correct either from a historical or a policy viewpoint.
    Palin has never claimed to be an expert on foreign affairs. Does she need to be?
    Palin has shown herself to be a tough fighter and quick study. Look what her scope was a couple of months ago – Alaska and affairs Alaskan. Now the MSM want her to be Kissinger like in her understanding of foreign affairs. She is not running for President but she is running for Vice President.
    The real question is does Obama need to be experienced in foreign affairs? After 4 years of activity in the US Senate (at least 2 primarily spent campaigning), I hope no one is assuming that he has the same experience as either Biden or McCain.
    Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not. Remember Jimmy Carter. Remember Ronald Reagan. Two Presidents with little incoming foreign policy experience, two completely different results.
    But again, maybe it is time for a brand new approach. Only time and the election results will tell.

  4. This is sooo weird .. .. everyone wants to give Barry a pass on experience because he has Joe to fall back on, but they condemn Palin for needing McCain to shore up her shortcomings.

    Coincidence ?? ?? I don’t think so.

  5. I think she nailed it and Biden wasnt expecting that. I was undecided til last night. McCain/Palin now has my vote.

  6. Why would anyone like to be in WAR, job lost, no health care etc Nicole. both parties are corrupt and we all know that, but when I see some our women they will pick a woman just because she is a “Woman” and Republican just because they are Republican, and I start asking the question how those people think?
    What will Palin will deliver to the country? The answer is “nothing” she will not have no power in the White House she will get the title and that is that.
    I am a woman myself and you know the past 8 years, our country went down into the dark hole, and its too bad we have only two parties to choose from.
    This is what I say to Nicole with all respect, please and please start thinking about the country and the people who lost their jobs, homes, Sons & civilians who died in WAR for no reason. Let us give the other party a chance to fix the mess if they can, why choose the same.

    To all conservative my question to you;
    If you are against ABORTION how can you be so pro WAR ?

    Peace on earth.

  7. I don’t think the debate changed few minds. Rather it reinforced what one was inclined to believe before the debate.

    What troubled me was Palin’s cutsie behavior — the winking, the flirtatious smiles, the wiggling of the nose, etc. Can you imagine a man doing this? Can you image Palin doing this with foreign leaders? Yes, we need to distance ourselves from the Cheney model, but Palin’s expressions were to the opposite extreme – hardly vice presidential, let alone presidential material.

  8. Cassandra Harris

    All I have to say is “she is all beauty and no brains” She used the flirtatious behavior as a way to buy more time in her answering the questions, “I want to send a shot out, wooooh…” come on people, this woman is not prepared for the VP job!!!!!

  9. At least if you criticizee someone, spell their name right. Her name is Sarah Palin!!! with an H.

  10. “What troubled me was Palin’s cutsie behavior — the winking, the flirtatious smiles, the wiggling of the nose, etc. Can you imagine a man doing this?”

    Two words…Bill Clinton

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  12. VP debate 32 years ago…

    “”I believe that most Americans would agree on the problems this country faces and which the next administration must solve. They include the need, once again, for an economy that works. The economy today is in very, very bad shape, the highest unemployment since the Great Depression, 50% higher than when Mr. Ford took office, raging inflation. The latest wholesale price index is once again raising the specter of double-digit inflation. The purchasing power of the average American has slipped so much that it’s now the equivalent of the purchasing power in 1965. It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse. All the leading indicators now point downward. Stock investors are losing confidence. Over $50 billion of value has disappeared from the stock market in less than a month. We need a government that works, we need a government that cares, and once again, we have to get back at work on education, on health, on housing, on the environment, on energy. And we need a foreign policy that once again reflects the values and the beliefs of the American people. This will take leadership, and we need leadership, too. The Republican administration, the Republican Party has had eight years to solve these problems. All of them have gotten worse. The Republican ticket does not offer new plans for their solution but is engaged in a frantic effort to defend the past. This nation desperately needs new leadership. The Carter-Mondull ticket would offer a new generation of leadership dedicated to solving the problems I have listed, and that is the basis of our appeal.”


    thats change

  13. Wow….people are saying palin won, why? Those people who believe she won the debate either were voting for her to begin with or muted the volume everytime biden spoke- Ridiculous- “she didnt do as bad” so does this mean she won the debate. what distinguished her in this debate than if i were up there reciting everything that was told to me. Be conscience beings and stop looking at her listen to what shes saying.. if shes even saying anything/

  14. Under the circumstances, Gov. Palin, wavered very little. She was confident. This was not “David & Golliath”. It did present a view to the Americans that raised an eyebrow. You never know all there is to know when hired for a position, but do you have the acumen to recognize who to surround yourself with to get the job done. And, will you be ethical about the resolution. Gov. Palin is not a political jokey, she has and will continue to do an exemplary job.


  15. Palin won because everyone expected her to fail miserably, and any claim that she did is sheer ignorance.

    Just like Bush won the debates against Kerry, it wasn’t because he had a better argument, its because he held his own. Everyone thought Kerry would dominate, and he didn’t.

  16. …this debate was not even close…Sarah winked and skipped around, while Joe delivered experience and character, and at the end we saw genuineness when he recalled the hardship surrounding the death of his first wife and infant daughter in a car crash in 1972.

    “The notion that somehow, because I’m a man, I don’t know what it’s like to raise two kids alone,’’ he said, “[that] I don’t know what it’s like to have a child you’re not sure is going to — is going to make it — I understand.’’

    For me, this display of emotion and humanity are assurances that he really cares about me and my children. Losing a child is horrific and profound and something that should never happen…Joe Biden, John Edwards…I am grateful for their ongoing public service through tragedy…and I do trust them to do the right thing…

  17. …also…our gal Sarah CLUNG to her notes, obviously looking down in desperation, thinking “…ok…there’s gotta be something in here to say…where is it…oh, there…well, that’s not what the question is but, doggone it, I’ll throw it out there anyway…betcha they let me get away with it if I smile pretty and throw in another wink…noone will notice…

    …she will NEVER win “Miss Originality”…and doggone it, “Miss Congeniality” is just not available to real grown ups and “Joe Six Packs” who actually try to get something done!

  18. Biden looked like a cling on

  19. I agree that just because Palin didn’t implode on stage doesn’t automatically mean she cleaned Joe’s clock. For God’s sakes, she has been cramming for this debate for over a month. Everything she did, from the winks to the “betchas” and even the shout out was so contrived a I felt as if I were looking at the VP-bot 3000 perform the debate program installed by he designers. Look, I respect her intelligence. She’s done pretty well for being put in such an overwhelming position. However, McCain’s selection for Palin, to me, was so contrived, phoney, and blatantly irresponsible. She simply doesn;t have the experience– maybe Obama doesn;t either but at least Dem voters chose him to rep the party. Sara Palin was chosen by the people of Alaska and McCain.

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