Thursday, October 02, 2008

VP Debate- Live Blogging the Live Bloggers. But Wait! You also get the Chicago Cubs Divisional Playoff!


Welcome to the latest in the continuing series of "Live Blogging the Live Bloggers" blogging the Debates! This edition the first and only Vice President debate between the verbose Democratic nominee Joe Biden, and the inexperienced Republican nominee Sarah Palin. "Inexperienced" - not in the sense of preparedness for the Presidency - in that sense she is no more prepared to be President than is Barack Obama, both of whom should serve as VP for 4-8 years to be properly prepared for that role. No, she is "inexperienced" in the sense that she was completely unprepared to be thrown into the media feeding frenzy that is the last six weeks of Presidential campaign. The other principles on both tickets have been swimming with the media sharks for a year or more. Their gaffes are old news. If she can right her PR ship, and get back to credibility with the electorate by the end of the campaign, it will speak well for her.

This series is inspired by the question I first asked covering a Republican debate sixteen months ago:
"There are plenty of bloggers covering the debate live tonight, but is anyone covering the live bloggers? DWSUWF rushes in where other, more sensible bloggers, fear to tread. "
We select a variety of bloggers from across the political spectrum, and live blog their live blog efforts. I don't know who we will include, but we will start with some bloggers we have used before, include Daily Kos, and Cynic's Party from the left, VodkaPundit or Ed Morrissey at HotAir from the right, look to either David Weigel at Reason or the Atlantic's Megan McArdle for a libertarian point of view and 2008 Central, Ambivablog, or Donklephant as a centrist blog. For this issue, we will also check in with The Crossed Pond, as at least one of that blogging crew is a member in good standing of "The Coalition of the Divided". Finally, the nature of this debate demands the inclusion of one example of the latest political mental illness - Sarah Palin Derangement Syndrome [SPDS]. As James Joyner illustrates, the poster boy for this affliction is Andrew Sullivan. Welcome aboard Andrew.

As usual I will likely guess wrong about which blogs to monitor and will be scrambling for substitutes once things get started. Refresh your browsers for latest content once the debate is underway.

We do have one additional issue with the debate tonight. The second game of the Chicago Cubs - LA Dodgers divisional championship series will be televised at the same time as the debate. For this lifelong Cubs fan - in this the 100 year anniversary year of the last time the Cubs won the World Series (for some perspective - Haley's Comet has come and gone twice since the last time the Cubs won the the Series) - there is no decision. I will be watching the game. Fortunately, I had the foresight to initiate this series by live blogging the bloggers blogging the debates. Hence, there is no need for me to actually watch the debate itself. This is a big benefit for you - the reader - as you get the benefit of selected insights from bloggers across the political spectrum, but you also get a live blog of the Cubbies!

That said, I must speak of the deep anxiety that consumed me after watching Dempster load the bases with three walks last night- shortly before giving up a grand slam home run. Cubs fans know the dread of which I speak. The last time I felt this way was the moment that Bartman deflected the foul ball in the 2003 NLCS series. At times like this, I reach to literature for comfort and understanding. This excerpt from The Last Pennant before Armageddon by W.P. Kinsella is helpful:
"The sun is finally shining on Al Tiller," read a recent headline in the Trib. For the moment he was the most famous baseball manager in the nation, the man guiding the Chicago Cubs toward their first pennant in half a century; everyone wanted to talk baseball, no one gave a damn about his dreams.
He could picture himself at a news conference, pausing right in the middle of fielding questions about his pitching rotation and his left fielder's Achilles tendon, to say, "Gentlemen for the past several weeks I have been having prophetic dreams. It is my considered opinion that if the the Chicago Cubs win the National league pennant, the world is going to end. " ...
It was on the sixth night God spoke. Tiller was certain that Al Capone was one of lobbyists that evening. He had always thought of Capone as a White Sox fan. ...
"I appreciate your interest," God said. "I want to assure you that I hold the Chicago Cubs in highest esteem. I have listened to your entreaties and considered the matter carefully from all angles. I am aware of how long it has been since the Cubs have won a pennant. I think you should know that when the Cubs next win the National League Championship, it will be the last pennant before Armageddon ...."
Al Tiller assumed there was more, however that was the point at which he woke up, his sweat soaked pajamas wrapped around him like wet sheets, his heart thrumming. His last sight had been of the lobbyists leaping to their feet with joy as if their favorite player had just homered in a clutch situation."
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PREGAME

2008 Central.net: "...one good Palin performance could help save her, but also if any of the Couric-interview Palin shows up, there’s nothing but trouble on the horizon. I think both are true - for different people. As for undecided, I’m betting that if they are still undecided now, they’re unlikely to be persuaded by an uneven performance from either candidate... The baseball playoffs are far more compelling than this debate. The Phillies-Brewers game is incredible - and only in the second inning."

Reason - David Weigel
: "Palin v. Biden: In Which an Old Man Punches a Woman With Glasses Here's a sweetener for tonight's debate; video of both candidates unleashed and onstage... Reason staff will be blogging it all tonight."

Dave H at Cynics' Party: "I think this will be another infomercial for maintaining the status quo in American government. After seeing the horrific bill that Senators Obama and McCain and Biden voted for yesterday I'm feeling a bit disillusioned. Obama says when the house is on fire you first put out the fire. Can you put out the fire by handing the arsonists a $700 billion can of gasoline and tossing in some tax cuts on the side? So much for solving problems from the bottom up."

Stephen Green at Vodka Pundit:"Here comes the pre-debate spin. I’ll have the post-debate spins after tonight’s three-martini drunkblog."

Amba at Ambivablog: "Palin is unstudied. Biden is a bullshitter. Let a cruelly neutral constitutional law professor question Biden and penetrate his authoritative aura. See if Joe Biden dares to be interviewed by Ann Althouse."

Hunter at Daily Kos: "Palin, on the other hand, will likely be as belligerent as possible, primarily going after Obama and fervently ducking the specifics of any and all questions. That's all she's got to work with. The danger to Palin is not that she will be a beginning-to-end catastrophe, unless she's much shallower than we've even been expecting in our worst suspicions. The true threat is that every question is opportunity for a Couric-style gaffe that would be repeated on television for days. To avoid that, I expect she's going to keep to painfully trite generics as much as possible."

Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish: "From the American Conservative magazine. They're worried her "thinking" has been controlled by neocons. C'mon, guys. Quit dreaming. You think she would have been selected if she hadn't signed on that dotted line already? Pre-emptive war against Iran is the minimal commitment she will have given to AIPAC and Lieberman and McCain. You think Randy Scheuneman is a realist?"

DWSUWF - Which Carlos Zambrano will show up? The one who pitched a no-hitter a few weeks ago? Or the one that got pounded in the following game?

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FIRST QUESTION - BAILOUT!

2008 Central.net: "Bailout bill question to Biden. Biden pivots immediately to criticizing the economic policies of the last 8 years, and then segues into Obama’s criteria for any bailout plan, and then into showing the importance of focus on the middle class. Good answer, if a bit rushed given that the answer is 90 seconds. Palin says the test of the economy should be asking parents at kids soccer games on Saturdays. She’s talking directly into the camera; Biden was looking at Ifill. Hits the same notes as Biden, before seguing into reform. She blames Biden and the Senate for not listening to McCain’s warning on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae."

Reason - David Weigel: "It's a bit of a reversal from the presidential debate, with Biden looking at Gwen Iffel, and Palin looking at you, the TV viewer! Biden doesn't seem 100 percent healthy; Palin is glowing like a Botticelli. Palin's sentences are a nightmare to diagram, so I wont: "John McCain has been one representing reform," for example. Biden sticks to sorrow, not in anger attacks on McCain and fulsome praise for Obama. Palin will work for "Joe Six-packs, hockey moms across the nation." You know, a lot of hockey moms live in Michiga... oh."

Greg at Cynics' Party: "Joe says that Bush’s economic policies are the worst we’ve ever had and that Barry O is gonna fix this shit with his 4 basic critera which are as follows: 1. Blah 2. Blah 3. Blah 4. Blah. Rebuttle, Governor? Well, I betcha yer gunna hear some fear about the economy from the parents on the sidelines of the kids games, donchaknow."

Stephen Green at VodkaPundit Pajama Media:"Palin Speaking to the camera. She let slip a “betchya.” She sounds honest. I’ll wait before I say if she sounds credible... Biden doesn’t want “CEOs benefitting” from the bailout. Does he want to retroactively tax the Fannie/Freddie people back to the Stone Age?... It’s all Bush’s fault!, is the answer. But he hasn’t looked at the camera. He seems evasive, although I doubt he means to. He’s just focusing incorrectly."

Justin Gardner at Donklephant: "Good first answer by Palin. And she’s looking into the camera. Biden isn’t. But Biden hits back with the “fundamentals” line."

Miss Laura at Daily Kos: " I saw Joe Biden once during the campaign for the NH primary. He had a cold and was a bit throaty, and his mellifluous baritone just about soothed me to sleep. (It was cold season, and I was coming down with something myself.) His bit of hoarseness tonight is lulling me a bit as well, perhaps out of memory. Palin goes straight to the mom card, though using soccer not hockey. In that as in all things she is thus far relentlessly on message and as coached as you please."

Andrew Sullivan [SPDS] at the Daily Dish: "I'm a little speechless so far. The weirdness of Palin keeps flooding my frontal cortex. But so far, she's doing what one expects. She's chipper; she's full of folksy anecdotes; she's attacking Wall Street. She keeps talking about "Joe Six-Pack" and 'Hockey moms." No real substance from Palin but Biden seems off-stride, and flat. He sounds, well, Washington."

Rojas at The Crossed Pond -22:"Biden: addresses Palin as “governor”. Bush and Republicans are bad on economics. My job is hard because Bush made it that way. Obama wants oversight, homeowner protection, equity, and restrictions on CEOs. Middle class is good. Doesn’t answer the question. Palin: I like kids’ soccer games. “Betcha” (transparent play for Minnesota voters). Moms are scared. McCain is a reformer without results, and damned proud of it. Answers the question even less than Biden."

DWSUWF - Brewers take Philly 5-2. Lou is slapping around reporters in pre-game interview. "Yeah, it's a must win. If we lose tonight we are just going to forfeit the game in LA and not show up."

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ENERGY and OIL and CLIMATE? Oh My!

2008 Central.net: "Palin criticizes Obama for voting for the 05 Energy Bill, and talks about taking on the oil companies in Alaska. Palin makes a joke about not promising much in the five weeks she’s been VP. Biden is stuttering a bit tonight - hopefully not a relapse. Biden says that Palin supported a windfall profits tax in Alaska, but McCain will not. Interesting strategy by Biden."

Megan McArdle - Asymmetrical Information
: "Palin scores big points on anthropogenic global warming by saying that it's less important to argue about the cause than to talk about a solution. Biden is still spewing statistics trying to recover what should have been a slam dunk topic for him. Not sure why, as they're both offering the same ridiculous lies promises about weaning America off foreign oil."

Greg at Cynics' Party: "Just because Palin did the right thing with a windfall profits tax in Alaska doesn’t mean that McCain’s gonna go it. But it’s hard to understand how Palin just won the round on energy... Aaand she just denied that Global Warming is caused by people. But then she just went on to say we need to curb emissions. Oh, and increase drilling too, especially in areas that are protected."

Stephen Green at VodkaPundit Pajama Media:"Biden shook his head on Palin’s “clean coal” slam. But on that one, let’s let Joe’s gaffe-y record speak for itself... Palin: “It’s ‘drill, baby, drill!’” It was a weak slam, but it was something... Joe Biden promises to stop “greenhouse gasses from emitting.” I can’t think of a better example of acting locally — so shut up, Joe! ... I must say that Palin is back in her comfort zone while talking energy — but she hasn’t yet once mentioned the Democrats’ attempt to completely shut down trillions in US energy production."

Noc at Donklephant: "Energy focus is good for Palin. She actually sounds competent."

Georgia10 at Daily Kos: "Energy is supposed to be her area of "expertise." Yet she inspires no confidence when she discusses the topic. Rattling off bland platitudes like "energy independence is the key to America's future" isn't policy. It's Palinizing."

Andrew Sullivan [SPDS] at the Daily Dish: "Her climate change answer was bewildering. But that seems to me to be her strategy: just channel a barrage of rhetoric and bar any real follow-up. Ifill seems unable, perhaps because of the rules, to challenge her in any serious way. Biden is stylistically awful and substantively dull. Palin has very little substance but is killing him stylistically. And Biden sounds very liberal. He's throwing this debate away so far."

Rojas at The Crossed Pond:"PALIN:Natural gas is good. People chant about drilling. Obama actually ISN’T in favor of drilling and Biden called it rape. I am in favor of rape when we get oil from it. You’re lying your ass off by claiming you were in favor of clean coal.BIDEN: I support hard targets on clean coal; my previous comment about clean coal was in reference to exports (R: ?!?!?!) McCain hates funding for alternative energy"

DWSUWF - The good Zambrano showed up. Got the first three batters. But the bad Cub fielders showed up. 5-0 LA, all unearned runs on two errors. I am very unhappy.

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THAT IS SO GAY.

2008 Central.net: "Biden supports extending same-sex benefits to couples, and says there will be no distinction. Talks about visitation rights in hospital, joint ownership of property, etc. The property rights are not really that big a problem. Palin says she does not want to redefine marriage, but wants to be tolerant of choices of relationships. Do you support gay marriage? Biden says no, it’s a question of faith. and says that they agree on these civil rights. Palin sort of half-heartedly agrees that they agree."

Megan McArdle - Asymmetrical Information
: "How come Sarah Palin gets more highly rated for being against gay marriage than Joe Biden does? Neither of them said anything that was either controversial, or particularly different from the other. Joe Biden just claimed that the right of same sex partners to visit their partners in a hospital is in the constitution. I'm all for gay marriage and all, but I'm pretty sure that the Founding Fathers didn't put that in there, or even intend to."

Amba at Ambivablog: "Biden says the Constitution calls for equal benefits as relates to rights of property and visitation. Palin says "I am very tolerant and I have a very diverse family and friends." The difference has dwindled here too. Biden and Obama do not support gay marriage. Palin says she and McCain would not do anything to hinder visitation and property rights. "

Trapper John at Daily Kos: "Q: Same-sex benefits? JB: Damn right! Same-sex couples deserve the same rights as heterosexual couples. [Man, the world has changed when a national candidate isn't afraid to say this.] SP: Oh no. Not if it threatens marriage. But some of my best friends are gay! [Still, even she agrees that same-sex couples should have SOME rights. Amazing.] Q: Marriage? JB: No."

Andrew Sullivan [SPDS] at the Daily Dish: "Ifill gives Palin a total pass on gays and marriage - a total pass. She even claims that Palin supports equal rights for gay couples when she clearly doesn't. Does Ifill now what she is talking about? She doesn't ask about Palin's opposition to all rights for gay couples. How a question about equal marriage rights can be played to the benefit of one of the most anti-gay candidates in American history is staggering to me. Ifill has simply surrendered the facts on this issue and Biden let her. So far, this debate is a walk-over for Palin, enabled by Ifill but turned into a crater by Biden's incompetence as a debater. How he has managed to lose every issue where his positions are immensely stronger than Palin is beyond me. Real political malpractice."

Jason Kuznicki at The Crossed Pond:"Biden is lying and knows it when he claims that the Constitution says that same-sex couples should get visitation rights. That’s not in there. It just isn’t. He’s also not supporting full marriage rights, so I can’t support his answer. But he’s better than Palin on this, since she totally dodged, once again. Tolerance is different from civic equality." [DWSUWF NOTE - JK is also a member of The Coalition of the Divided"]

Dave Weigel at Reason: "Bold stuff from Biden on gay marriage: "the Constitution" guarantees hospital visitations. He knows how far out on a limb is with this issue. Indeed, she looks less comfortable talking about the subject."

DWSUWF
- The Cubs have forgotten how to hit. 6 - 0. Announcers see Bill Murray in the park and make a joke - "It's Groundhog Day!" Yeah. That is just f*cking hilarious.
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IRAQ, AFGANISTAN, IRAN, and - oh yeah - ISRAEL.

2008 Central.net: "She’s really excited to talk about Israel as a peaceful nation. Biden says that he’s been a friend to Israel and that he would not join the ticket if he thought Obama thought otherwise. He then criticizes the Bush administration policies re: Israel, mentioning Hamas in the west bank and Hezbollah in Lebanon. Biden says the only thing on the march is Iran. Palin is excited to agree that they both love Israel. Who was the last candidate on a major ticket who didn’t? This is ridiculous."

Megan McArdle - Asymmetrical Information
: "Palin loves Israel too! Big hugs for Israel! I'm waiting for one of them to break into Havah Negillah.Biden claims that this administration's Israel policy has been an abject failure. Unlike, you know, all those earlier presidents who found simple and effective resolutions to the conflict. Once again, Iran bashing is much more popular than Iraq. Time to throw out that tatty old war you've been wearing for years and get something new, stylish, now."

Amba at Ambivablog: "Biden said he opposed the war but voted to give the President war powers. Palin: "It's so obvious that I'm a Washington outsider, one who doesn't understand the way you guys do things. Americans are cravin' that straight talk . . . why did you vote for it if you were against it?"

Stephen Green at VodkaPundit Pajama Media: "Am I the only one wondering where the pit bull went? I’m seeing the hockey mom, which is great — but so many fat, juicy targets are just being let go. Nice Kissinger namedrop by Palin. But does that mean she just lost the Hitchens vote? Palin is going for the Jewish vote right now. But I’m afraid that — Roger L Simon’s pleas notwithstanding — Obama has that vote locked up."

Georgia10 at Daily Kos: "Foreign policy is clearly Palin's Achilles heel, and since she can't debate on the facts, the McCain camp loaded her up with "zingers." But she's delivering them poorly, and they ring so hollow in this substantive debate. Maybe if the two people didn't have children fighting this war, the light, snarky zingers would be more effective. Now? They fall flat."

Andrew Sullivan [SPDS] at the Daily Dish: "Biden is very commanding on Israel. He's regaining control of this debate - making it about issues rather than rapidly delivered soundbites. My worry is not that she is winning the argument. It's that she is just chattering along... Biden is finally warming up. He has authority on diplomacy and international relations and finally it shows. Her goal is just to chatter and barrel forward."

Dave Weigel at Reason: "The Iraq exchange is as much of a time warp as the presidential debate's exchange was. "White flag of surrender," in 2008? Palin, remember, was not for the surge when it began, but she's all in now. Paging Walt and Mearsheimer: Both candidates are stacking their panders on Israel higher and higher."

Rojas at The Crossed Pond- 190: "Palin: "Yes indeedy. Holocausts are bad. Here’s some rhetoric on Iran that has nothing to do with the Palestinian issue. Israel has had much success negotiating bilaterally with its neighbors (?!?!?!?) Israel is at the top of our agenda. Biden: I am Israel’s best buddy. The Bush administration has botched Israel epically. I saw the Hamas win coming. Barack saw the need for peacekeepers in Lebanon (R: which nobody would have agreed to). Iran fills power vacuums wherever they occur. They won’t do that when Obama’s in charge, because we’ll talk to them, and talking to them will end their desire for regional influence."

DWSUWF - Seven to nothing. I am dying here. That last beer did not taste as good. Time for a scotch.
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LETS WRAP THIS UP AND PLEASE SAY SOMETHING BAD ABOUT YOURSELF.

2008 Central.net: "Final statement. Palin says that she likes the ability to speak to people without the filter of the mainstream media, as if it’s the filter that’s caused people to be astounded. Making excuses for bungling two interviews in your only debate appearance. She talks about fighting for freedoms, and quotes Reagan as that freedom is always at risk. Biden says this election is the most important election, and the past 8 years have been spent digging a hole. Biden talks about a couple of policy preferences, including protecting the troops."

Megan McArdle - Asymmetrical Information
: "Not content with the earlier blather, Gwen Ifill actually asks them what their greatest weakness is. Sarah Palin rambles about how great America is. Has she forgotten the question? Because I'm having trouble remembering what we're supposed to be talking about. The persuadables, however, love it. On topic responses are for weaklings!... Joe Biden too, offers for the "Rambling Grandpa" style of response. Still waiting for him to say that he's too much of a perfectionist, or has trouble delegating."

Amba at Ambivablog: "Biden almost broke down when talking about his first family's car accident. The listeners' estimation of Palin rises when she talks bipartisanly. But the line seems to dive whenever the speaker changes, then to rise gradually, then dive again when the other person starts a turn. "

Stephen Green at VodkaPundit Pajama Media:"Here we go again: Palin is selling McCain; Biden is selling Biden. What we really need is a debate between Obama and his own Veep selection. Now THAT would give us some real fireworks...Whopper of the night: Biden is saying that until fairly recently, he was nonpartisan when providing advice and consent on judges. If you’ll pardon my language: That is such bullshit that it spoiled the sip of vodka in my mouth. And this time I’m not kidding. Biden is a vile lying f-word... Palin, however, said she wished she’s vetoed more spending. And that strikes me as self-effacing and maybe even honest."

Georgia10 at Daily Kos
: " Palin has perfected it. She is asked about her Achilles heel--her inexperience. In "response," she talks about "being a mom," worrying about "kids heading off the college." And she pivots into her litany of platitudes. Biden, in response to the same question, answers it with humility, acknowledging that he is passionate and then transitioning into his accomplishments. Biden counters Palin's "mom" argument by citing his life story, and describing how he was there for his family when his wife died and he had to stand vigil by his child's hospital bed. Biden teared up, clearly emotional."

Andrew Sullivan [SPDS] at the Daily Dish: "Biden's answer about his kids, the moment when he clearly choked up, was emotionally very powerful. I expect it will resonate more with women."

Dave Weigel at Reason: "Palin experiences her first actual return volley when she makes fun of Biden's comment that he didn't want to be vice president. She'd been joking about saying she didn't understand what the VP does; she assumed he was joking, too. "I guess that was a lame attempt at humor. Nobody got it." Biden: "Yours or mine? Which one didn't they get?"

Rojas at The Crossed Pond - 276: "Biden: I suck in many ways, but my greatest flaw is that I just care too much about this country. At times I cry myself to sleep about the great things I have done, like put cops on the street and raise two kids alone. My father had to live in godforsaken Wilmington! Wilmington, ffs! I raised two kids alone! Here, I can break down in tears, like Hillary. People need help.Palin: People do want change. John McCain is a maverick. I am a maverick. Damnit, how can I work some tears into this answer? Um…look, I’m making eye contact with Biden as I talk about bipartisanship. Bipartisanship gets me all choked up…damnit, it ain’t working. Screw it. Democrats are partisan. Biden: I love John McCain more than my dead wife and Christ combined, but he is the worst child-depriving poor-person-screwing-over non-mavericky bastard in the history of civilization. John McCain killed a puppy. He is a true American hero and I cherish his friendship. F*ck him."

DWSUWF
- The Cubs suck. They lost 10-1. Cubs are down 0-2. That means that the odds are stacked against the Cubs because playoff teams never lose after winning the first two games. Unless you are the Chicago Cubs who lost the NLCS in '89 after winning the first two games.

I am now watching a rerun of the debate.

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WHO WON?

2008 Central.net: "No gaffes for Biden, and only minimally bad for Palin. Chuck Todd: “You’re may not see this debate have a lot of effect It may just disappear, despite the hype.” Who said that before hand? That’s right, us."

Megan McArdle - Asymmetrical Information: "Soledad O'Brien polls the 32 "persuadables" by asking them to indicate, by a show of hands, who they thought won. She calls the vote for Biden "overwhelming". The magic of Tivo allows us to freeze frame and count: 11 or 12 for Palin, 12 or 13 for Biden (some people are hard to see). Thanks, Soledad, for giving credence to everyone who thinks women are bad at Math."

Amba at Ambivablog: "She's very sweet and friendly to Biden. And he reciprocates. She appreciates not having the "filter of the MSM telling people what they just heard." If you listened to these two candidates, you could just vote calmly on ideology without rancor."

Stephen Green at VodkaPundit Pajama Media:"If you were looking for a veep who wants, needs, to be President, then Joe Biden is your man. But Sarah Palin was the one who really manned up tonight, for unfailingly selling America on her candidate rather than on herself."

Kos at Daily Kos: "So who won? Who cares. Nothing happened to change the dynamics of this race. Palin proved that she's still unable to answer the questions posed to her, but she also didn't fall flat on her face. And in the ridiculously depressed expectations for the governor of Alaska, she didn't crash and burn."

Andrew Sullivan [SPDS] at the Daily Dish: "I began this debate feeling that she was steam-rolling him. She was. But it was a steam-roller coming at you on fumes, not real fuel. She doesn't have it. Maybe one day she might. But not now. Biden's peroration was very, very strong. There is no contest here. There was only one loser: Gewn Ifill. She was intimidated, peripheral, neutered. The rules didn't help. But Ifill put in a dreadful performance."

Dave Weigel at Reason: "In scoring these debates I try to remember not just what the expectations were beforehand, but what the goals were. When Barack Obama picked Joe Biden, what did he want? A safe-sounding (white) old hand who'd convince people that Obama understood them. When John McCain picked Sarah Palin, what did he want? An instant star who'd blow up the electorate, peel off Hillary voters, and purloin the "change" message from Obama. On those terms there's no question that the Democrats won tonight. Biden spent the night attacking John McCain's record and building up (with detachable honesty) Obama's. Palin spent the night re-selling Sarah Palin."

Rojas at The Crossed Pond - 322: "Sarah Palin still strikes me as being a potentially competent chief executive, and her handlers didn’t completely botch this they way they have everything else. But she’s clearly a lot better in set-piece, scripted formats than she is when she has to think on her feet. Said trait, ironically, being one that she shares with Barack Obama."

DWSUWF
- As I already said, the Dodgers won. Anyone know when Haley's Comet will return next?

Regarding the debate - Of any of the candidates on either ticket, Biden is the best in this format. He was best in most of the Democratic primary debates and based on the debates, should have been the Dem nominee. Considered in a vacuum - Biden won.

But... and it is a big "but" - Palin showed that she is not the caricature portrayed by Tina Fey, not the incompetent idiot that many MSM pundits have decried, and not the wild eyed religious ideologue that Democrats paint her. Many people feared that she really was all of the those things. She showed that there was nothing to worry about. From that perspective, Palin gained far more for her ticket than Biden gained for his.

UPDATE: Fixing typos and links as I find them.
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Divided and Balanced.™
Now that is fair.






5 comments:

Tom Van Dyke said...

Extraordinary work, MW/DWSUWF. Well-concieved, well-executed.

I read this, your account of the accounts of debate first, and the opinions of opinions is the most reliable opinion of all in this second-hand world. I mean that, no snark in sight:

The synthesis of the synthesis, what those who're too busy to listen but are not too busy not to vote, will decide this election.

I meself was busy watching the other NL playoff game---it was PHILLIES who beat the Brewers 5-2, not the other way around. Sadly, God hates the Cubbies. Great line about Halley's Comet.

I did catch a full 45 seconds of the debate while fetching a brew and thought Palin lost for pronouncing it "NUC-u-lar," like a certain very unpopular current president. But I might have misheard because the icemaker went on just about then.

Regards to my longtime friend/foil, the aforementioned Dr. Kuznicki, if he's reading your comments section.

mw (DWSUWF) said...

Thanks Tom. Not sure how this would turn out considering the alcohol and prozac needed to get through the Cub game. Looks like I have a few typos to fix,but not too bad - considering.

Sure God hates the Cubs, but why? why?

Harlan Wallach said...

My two favorite moments of the debate were:

Biden saying "Bosniacs" and Palin referring to her opponent as "Obiden".

Harlan Wallach said...

you've only got 21 days to the election. This is your season. What are you waiting for ?

mw (DWSUWF) said...

@HDW
What? You are saying the election is not over? When I got back from the fishing trip, every single thing I read indicated that Obama is our new president. I assumed the election was held and I somehow missed it. Really I don't know why we are wasting all this time and money on the election anyway. Lets just proclaim him "Glorious Leader" sing some songs in praise and be done with it.

Hmm. I see that there is another debate tonight. I guess I better live blog it, although I think they should cancel it too.