Tag Archives: vice-presidential debate

Biden Trounces Palin

Palin fans will bleat otherwise, Tina Fey fans will be disappointed, but by every objective measure Joe Biden beat her in the vice-presidential debate.


Forty-six percent of the uncommitted voters surveyed say Democrat Joe Biden won the debate, compared to 21 percent for Republican Sarah Palin. Thirty-three percent said it was a tie.


Overall, 51 percent of the debate watchers said that Biden did the best job in the debate, while 36 percent gave the nod to Palin.

New York Times

In the end, the debate did not change the essential truth of Ms. Palin’s candidacy: Mr. McCain made a wildly irresponsible choice that shattered the image he created for himself as the honest, seasoned, experienced man of principle and judgment. It was either an act of incredible cynicism or appallingly bad judgment.

Rod Dreher

I thought Palin really suffered by comparison to Biden in discussing foreign policy. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about, and while she avoided gibbering, I found her reliance on talking points, and accusing Biden of counseling “surrender,” to be more than a little maddening.

And he won by following the same tactics which Obama used to win against McCain – steadfastness in the face of patronising, lying chaos. By remaining calm, by attacking McCain instead of her and daring to answer the questions put to him when Palin didn’t, Biden came across just as we’d hoped – sympathetic, human and someone entirely suitable to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Not so Palin, with her overly folksy manner, jabbering corny nonsense instead of giving genuine replies, even winking at the camera at one point. Where she traded on her being a parent who could understand the worries of ‘hockey moms’ and ‘Joe Six-Pack’, Biden played his trump card:

Roger Ebert’s response:

A very different sort of unanticipated moment took place during the debate. Biden said, “I know what it’s like to be a single parent raising two children.” He did not know if his sons would survive the auto accident that took his wife and daughter. For a moment, he lost his composure. Looking at the moment again here I believe, as I did at the time, that it was genuine emotion, and not stagecraft.

It could not have been anticipated by Palin. The next camera angle was above and behind her. She paused. The silence seemed to anticipate words of sympathy and identification from her. But Biden had ended in a sentence using the word “change,” and her response, reflecting no emotion at all, cued off that word and became a talking point about McCain. This felt to me, at worst, insensitive and callous. At best, that she had not fully heard Biden. In either event, her response troubled me. If a man had responded in that way to such a statement from a women, he would be called a heartless brute.

Nothing happened to change the equation in the opinion polls – Obama continues to surge ahead, despite all the mud which McCain (and now Palin) try to throw at him. Palin spoke to the Republican base, but to noone else, and the polling and reaction since has borne that out. Biden on the other hand spoke on principle, with passion and with humanity and noticeably was talking beyond his base. Yes, he floundered a bit on the same sex marriage question, but did say something very important:

“Do I support granting same-sex benefits? Absolutely positively. Look, in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple.”

As opposed to Palin’s (expanding same-sex benefits to the nation):

“Well, not if it goes closer and closer towards redefining the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. And unfortunately that’s sometimes where those steps lead.”

Are identity politics everything? No, of course they aren’t. But I can’t conceive of voting for a ticket which would deny me equality before the law. And I don’t accept that Palin has any advantages of any kind over Obama in terms of experience – it presumes all executive experience is good experience; as we’ve learned with still-president Bush, nothing could be further from the truth. A couple of self-confessed ‘mavericks’ trumping what Obama & Biden have to offer? I don’t think so. Nor do most other people.

Video of the debate can be found here.


McCain Now Grasping At Straws

It’s damage limitation time for McGrumpy, isn’t it? With his campaign yet again tanking after the failure of the gimmick which was its ‘suspension’, the disastrous Palin/Couric interviews, and by right wing measurements losing the first presidential debate, he had to do something, right? And we know now that it has to be something peppered with outrageous lies and unprecedented misogyny, don’t we? Well ‘maverick’ McCain hasn’t disappointed. As the whole world now knows, the initial vote on the Wall Street bailout rejected the legislation. But instead of acknowledging the reality of why the bailout was rejected, which triggered the biggest crash on Wall Street ever, McCain offered:

“Senator Obama and his allies have used unnecessary partisanship… Now it’s time for all members of Congress to go back to the drawing board. I call on Congress to get back immediately to address this crisis. The challenges facing our economy could have a grave impact on every American worker… if our leaders fail to act.”

What was this unnecessary partisanship of which McLiar speaks? It appears to be this:

Some Republicans are saying they were preparing to vote “yes” until they heard the closing remarks of Speaker Nancy Pelosi who criticised the ethos of Republican economics, which prompted them to change their minds at the very last minute.

But remember:

Although most Democrats in the House backed the plan, two-thirds of Republicans voted against it. Many attacked it as a perversion of free-market economics and a departure from Reagan-style liberalism.

Let me put this in stark terms. McCain made no contribution whatsoever to the bailout plan, and his party voted it down. But he’s saying it’s Obama’s fault somehow, because House Republicans were offended by Nanci Pelosi’s speech? Pathetic, childish, and horrifically irresponsible. It is the Republican Party which is playing partisan games with the bailout plan, terrified as they are of electoral disaster in November, in both the White House and Congressional races. And now he’s pretty much at everyone else’s mercy, all McCain can do is lie, lie and lie again in the hope that some of it will stick. It isn’t working.

He’s also trying to rehabilitate his freefalling campaign by chaperoning Sarah Palin on her latest outing with her nemesis Katie Couric. But it’s so grotesque it’s laughable – it looks like she’s being minded by her grumpy father for goodness’ sake. And he’s lying again (and you can see it in his eyes) – ‘gotcha journalism’? Try responsible journalism, which he’s not at all used to answering to.

But Sarah’s so SO stupid she’s been caught out by Katie again. Imagine being VP candidate to the oldest presidential candidate in history, and then attacking your VP opponent for being old (and experienced):

Vodpod videos no longer available.

There you have it – a masterclass in how to attack both your running mate and yourself. It also seems Sarah’s become a parody of Tina Fey rather than the other way around:

She considers herself a feminist, yet doesn’t believe women should be able to determine their own reproductive rights and is against the morning after pill. Palin also has things to say about homosexuality (it’s a ‘choice’) and other matters (like climate change) in the full, unedited interview (below):

(with thanks to cajunboy)

You couldn’t make it up. If Obama wins next month, the world will owe a debt of gratitude to Katie Couric, and I suppose also to an imploding Republican Party.

Bye Bye Sarah Palin

All the relevant statistical data is saying Barack Obama won the debate, whatever else the ‘experts’ and blogosphere say.

TPM has the internals of the CNN poll of debate-watchers, which had Obama winning overall by a margin of 51-38. The poll suggests that Obama is opening up a gap on connectedness, while closing a gap on readiness.

Specifically, by a 62-32 margin, voters thought that Obama was “more in touch with the needs and problems of people like you”. This is a gap that has no doubt grown because of the financial crisis of recent days. But it also grew because Obama was actually speaking to middle class voters. Per the transcript, McCain never once mentioned the phrase “middle class” (Obama did so three times). And Obama’s eye contact was directly with the camera, i.e. the voters at home. McCain seemed to be speaking literally to the people in the room in Mississippi, but figuratively to the punditry. It is no surprise that a small majority of pundits seemed to have thought that McCain won, even when the polls indicated otherwise; the pundits were his target audience.

Even a Fox News focus group of undecided voters plumped for Obama, citing the exact same reasons:

This suggests McCain’s in deep trouble. His decision to ‘suspend’ his campaign was a disaster, the growing financial crisis isn’t playing to his advantage in any way, his temper is flaring and Sarah Palin’s interviews with Katie Couric have been lambasted by friend and foe alike as worse than risible. Even conservative commentator Kathleen Parker said:

Only Palin can save McCain, her party, and the country she loves. She can bow out for personal reasons, perhaps because she wants to spend more time with her newborn. No one would criticize a mother who puts her family first.

So the question has been that if McCain dumped the only selling point his campaign has ever had (or somehow pulled her back from the front line), how on earth could he win? What new stunt could his train wreck of a campaign try in order to regain media prominence? Today the hints began:

In an election campaign notable for its surprises, Sarah Palin, the Republican vice- presidential candidate, may be about to spring a new one — the wedding of her pregnant teenage daughter to her ice-hockey-playing fiancé before the November 4 election.

Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching. It would shut down the race for a week.”

It’s about the last possible, underhanded, pointless charade of a stunt they can pull to try to take the country’s attention off the disaster that is the McCain/Palin ticket. Given that all their recent stunts have backfired, it makes you wonder how successful it really would be though. One of these videos is real, the other one is a fake. Can you tell which is which, and then tell me either way whether you think Sarah Palin is a remotely acceptable candidate for Vice President or potential President?

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My feeling is that short of a national or world disaster between now and November 4th, Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States.