Friday, October 03, 2008

The VP Debate

Okay, just got done watching the vice presidential debate. A few thoughts.

As with last week's presidential debate, the main thing to remember in determining who won and who lost is that this whole thing was aimed at that small proportion of voters who are still undecided. Anyone who wasn't going to be swayed one way or the other (and that includes me) was, or at least should have been, irrelevant to the two campaigns. Keeping that in mind, we need to ask: What were the candidates' objectives for the evening? Were those objectives the right ones? And to what extent did the candidates achieve their objectives?

Let's start with Governor Palin. Given her recent disastrous interviews with Charlie Gibson and especially Katie Couric, and accompanying calls from prominent conservatives that she is embarrassingly unqualified and should step aside for the good of the party, Palin's primary objective was simply to come across as coherent and minimally credible. By the extraordinarily low standards set by her recent performances, I think she achieved this objective. But scrambling merely to avoid disaster doesn't leave much room to get anything positive done (does this sound familiar? Think treasury bailout...).

To put it another way: another "When Putin rears his head" moment, and the McCain campaign would have been dead and buried (as things stand, as I've argued before, I think the McCain campaign is merely dead). She didn't have one of those, and so managed to avoid catastrophe. So far, so good.

(Here are all the recent interview highlights, BTW, courtesy of TPM)

Her second, related objective, was to seem "presidential." That is, if you were undecided, would you come away from the debate believing Palin is ready to be president? Could you comfortably imagine her as president? Palin's objective was to get undecideds to answer these questions "yes." Did she?

I don't think so. Here's why.

When Palin went out of her way to correctly pronounce the names of foreign leaders like Achmadinejad and Kim Jung Il, it was in support of the "win undecideds by seeming presidential" objective, and was smart. But she spent far more time saying things like "Darn right, Joe six pack, soccer moms, I'm gonna speak directly to the voters, kinda, you may not like the way I answer questions, I'm from Wasilla, you know, bless their hearts, and I've been campaigning for like five weeks, doggonit, talkin' and wantin' and doin,' I want to speak to the American people without the filter of the mainstream media," and other such folksie, awe shucks, down-home, regular-girl verbal mannerisms and anti-condescending liberal elitist asides. None of which was in the least presidential. So what was it all about?

The "awe shucks" stuff was intended to fire up the base. And I imagine it did. The problem is, the base already believes she's their kind of gal and is going to vote for her because of it. So this second objective -- fire up the base -- was at best wasteful, because the base is already in the bag. They were baiting a hook for a fish that's already caught. The only thing that matters then, again, is how did "awe shucks" play to the undecideds?

Of course I could be wrong or I could be projecting, but I don't think the regular-girl schtick brings in the undecideds. Here, the low expectations she had created with her recent interview disasters worked against her. The essential problem is that Palin has set expectations so low that even if she exceeds them, people will still recognize it's not enough. Acting like a regular gal doesn't change that dynamic; it worsens it.

My sense is that at this point, outside the base, people don't believe Palin knows anything about foreign policy, the economy, or other national issues. I doubt they believe she's even given such outside-Alaska issues any thought. All of which made even her successful answers seem like well-executed rote recitations. As for the balance of her oratory, it was mostly repeated invocations of the evils of greed and corruption, promises to put the American people first, and lots of "John McCain is a maverick, a maverick, a maverick, the consummate maverick, we're a team of mavericks, John McCain takes on his own party, he does what's right for the American people, he'll take on his own party, he's ruffled feathers, John McCain knows how to win a war, he will know how to win a war, he will, he will...". In the absence of any substance, in the context of the expectations she's set, combined with the awe-shucks schtick and what felt to me like an overly chirpy, slightly manic persona, I think undecideds will come away feeling she was evasive, unclear, and unready. All of which is ultimately testimony to John McCain's judgment, or lack of it, in picking her to begin with.

Along these lines, her claim that "your plan for Iraq is a white flag of surrender" was red meat for the base. But did undecideds buy it? It also sounded a lot like the worst of George Bush, which played to the Obama campaign's objective of making McCain "more of the same." Were there any undecideds who felt that Palin even has the basis for such an opinion? Before being invited to be next in line for the presidency, Palin claimed only to have heard about the "surge" in Iraq on the news. Everything else she knows, she's learned in the last few weeks. Given the recency of her familiarity with these issues, Palin's chirpy confidence carries the whiff of a true believer. Again, I think undecideds will come away deciding the country has endured quite enough of that.

Also, "government isn't the solution, government is the problem" is the wrong message when the economy is cratering. It's dissonant with the galactic bailout her running mate supposedly suspended his campaign to try to support. People uninterested in such subtleties are already voting for McCain/Palin. People who distrust slogans unsupported by facts will now be more inclined to vote otherwise.

So again, Palin was given two mutually inconsistent objectives: bring in the undecideds, fire up the base. Worse, the McCain campaign clearly gave greater weight to the second one. You could see this in their choice of summation, which essentially came down to "freedom isn't free" and "the mainstream media is in the tank for the liberals." Who was that aimed at? Who found it persuasive?

Okay, now Senator Biden. His objective was simply to seem more presidential than Palin. Doing so required only that he demonstrate a greater command of substance and more gravitas, and avoid seeming to talk down to Palin lest he alienate women or otherwise win Palin a sympathy vote. For voters who've heard Biden can be a gasbag, he would get bonus points by being brief and down to earth. These weren't difficult objectives to achieve, and I'd say he achieved them handily through his command of the subject matter and calm, confident manner. The Obama campaign made a very smart move in directing Biden to go after McCain the way Biden did: doing so was calculated to diminish the top of the McCain/Palin ticket, of course, but more importantly, it implicitly emphasized that Biden is McCain's peer and equal. By contrast, again, when Palin delivered her "white flag of surrender" line, I can't imagine anyone outside the base felt she had any basis for her opinion.

There were a few small slips. Biden referred to himself as Joe Biden three times. To me, people who refer to themselves in the third person are as weird as people who whistle in public, and his doing so did tend to reinforce the gasbag hypothesis. He also had a tendency to use too many numbers and percentages. Doing so demonstrated a mastery of detail, I suppose, but sometimes the blizzard of numbers seemed to obscure the more fundamental point he was trying to make. My biggest disappointment was his failure to respond when Palin pointed out he once said he'd be honored to run with John McCain. This was a perfect opening for what I've argued should be one of the central narratives of the Obama campaign: What's happened to John McCain? Biden could have said, "I did say that, and I meant it. But something's happened to John since then. He's not the same man we all knew and admired in the senate." But in hindsight and from the sidelines, it's easy to come up with minor points like these. For purposes of analyzing whether Biden achieved his objectives, they're barely relevant.

I liked it when Biden attacked back on Palin's "maverick" perseveration. It exposed one of the key differences between them: Palin (like McCain) seems to believe that claims without evidence are credible. Outside the base, they're not. Biden responded with evidence. Doing so demonstrated his command of substance, and exposed her as a millimeter-deep lightweight glued to catch-phrases and talking points.

Needless to say, all of this is snap-judgment stuff. I think when the pundits weigh in and start dissecting Palin's various lies, mistakes, and distortions (Obama voted 93 times to raise taxes, voted against funding the troops, etc.), the initial sense that she's not ready will harden.

A thought about the moderator and rules of debate: would anything have been different if instead of Gwen Ifill, they had used a computer to flash the questions on a screen? If the answer is "no different" (and I think it is) -- that is, if the moderator's value-add is no more than reading questions off a pile of cards -- we might conclude that the rules were lame, or the moderator was useless, or both.

Overall, I think the best anyone could say for Palin is that she exceeded the stunningly low expectations her recent performances have established. I can't imagine that a material number of undecideds watched this debate and decided based on it to vote for McCain/Palin (I can, however, easily imagine it picking up some undecideds for Obama/Biden). So the best you can say is that Palin avoided making things much worse for her ticket. Which is another way of saying that in November, Barack Obama will be elected president.


anyone & no one said...

Excellent analysis of the debate. I watched and couldn't help thinking how shallow and how rote her answers were. Thanks for your thoughts; I think they are dead on.

Anonymous said...

Well done, Barry. Now, what do you make of Palin's response when asked what promises she's made that she won't be able to keep in view of the financial meltdown?

"How long have I been at this? Like five weeks?"

Case closed, as far as I'm concerned. Sound bite or not, I think that little snippet should be blasted across the 'Net for all to see and hear...

justiceforjuveniles said...

excellent analysis of the debate. You and I obviously watched the same show.

The good thing is Pat Buchanan can finally have a bowel movement; he was so cranky, endlessly muttering and brooding and shouting at us all across the airwaves like a constipated toddler so thankfully for us "joe six packers", Palin's sensational" performance/comeback, has finally moved Buchanan.

Randy Johnson said...

Watching the debate(?)last night, I was reminded of my old school days when we memorized stuff, then said the words in class without any inflection. Rote is the perfect word.
I noticed on one shot of Biden, from the angle, you could see Palin apparently checking things off a- list perhaps?
She certainly didn't embarrass herself, which was all McCain's people wanted, but I agree tht it didn't help convince the people they really need.

Anonymous said...

I didn't get to see the debate, but for me its about the top of the ticket, not the VP's. I had been thinking of voting for Mccain in November, but after watching his debate performance in his supposed strong suit, foreign policy, i'm probably going to vote Obama. Mccain was in attack mode in that debate, and Obama actually had good explanations of his positions. Unless Mccain has much better debates later in the month, Obama wins in a landslide. It won't matter for me however, cuz i'm voting friday.
Sorry to ramble off topic there so much.

Ronni said...

Well put, as an American woman, I'm appalled by her "down home" verbal connnotations. The whole "I'm from Wasilla, God bless their hearts"...what is she saying about Wasilla folk? She skirted around every question thrown at her and did not directly answer not one question. I for one am much smarter and in tune to the polital world than what she is!!! I just...ugh...she does nothing for me, God bless her heart.

An Inspiring Agent said...

I was so inspired yesterday when I saw the debate. I have never heard Senator Biden speak other than in the Democratic National Convention. His commands on the subjects, his judgment and his confidence in doing the right thing for the people seemed real to me. I am so in love with this ticket and I am more confident than ever before that if something were to happened to Obama we will have in Biden a great and fair president. I think that Obama’s plan on having Biden by his side along the presidency is the smarts thing he can do and I believe that those two brains together will do great things for America.

As for Gov. Palin, what can I say. There was not a chance she could take on Biden it was so, out of her league. She can be a great pageant contestant, even a PT leader and a city major perhaps. But to stand in front of foreign leaders who speak multiple languages and understand the complexities of this distorted economy of ours would be beyond the realms of her capacity. We as a Americans have already been thought by experience that we can’t not afford to have an incompetent in office. President George Bush has destroyed the respect we once has because of his stupidity and lack of knowledge and we now need people that have the knowledge, the judgment, the diplomacy and the temperament to deal with these difficult issues we are facing and were created by ignorance and stupidity.

I think that Palin would do great in politics because she is ambitious and she is a very beautiful woman to look at and it seems that those qualities make people like her. But she needs to learn a lot more about the world and about politics before she can be the leader of the free world. So I think that she is in a very good position now to do that, to learn as much as she can so later down the road she can pursue her dreams of power. However, I believe in the core of my heart that someone that is so ambitious for power like she is (now I am remembering her gladness, when she spoke about the judicial powers that the vice president can execute if he so rightfully wanted….jejeje) can possibly help others. People that are so consumed with their own agendas and their own self image can’t possibly chose the right course of action for the good of the people because they lack empathy and understanding. So that sais, I hope that we never have her as a president, not because she is a woman, not because she is a republican but only because of the dangerous history of the world that comes to my head when I remember all the rulers than like her have committed the most horrible crimes and have brought the most disastrous consequences to their countries because of that very thing she excel at….that hunger for power!!!

I really liked your analysis and I disagree with your interpretation of Palin performance. For me she didn’t excel in any of the duties that were assigned to her yesterday. She did only a recital of memorized information and show how un presidential and vulgar she can be. It shows she can memorized information but it didn’t change the fact that she doesn’t know, really know what she is talking about.

It also reinforced the idea that Senator McCain’s judgment was a poor and erratic one when he chose her as his running mate. He didn’t put country first when he chose her, he chose his hunger for power first. I am certain that in the deepest of his heart he know that she is not the most qualified vice president candidate in the Republican party. But he saw an opportunity to defied the odd and to take advantage of the female and conservative votes and he went for it. That is not putting country first and that is not what a reasonable and justice leader will do, knowing that he is old and that this country is in turmoil and war all around the globe.

I do hope that people around the world will understand this and understand the dangers that we will face if we have McCain or Paulin ruling our country.

Steve Allan said...

I think Palin appeals to voters who don't want to bother with details. They want to hear generalizations and feel a have-a-beer connection with the candidate. But the debate didn't really change anything - it was more of an entertainment than anything. People were waiting for that America's Funniest Home Videos moment they've seen for the last week on the CBS Evening News.

Anonymous said...

'Palin (like McCain) seems to believe that claims without evidence are credible.'

I think this is 'the heart of the matter', Barry - she appears unswayable. It's infuriating to see someone so convinced that their substance-free argument is the truth - and, of course, very familiar.

However, I'm more pessimistic than you about how her performance will have played to undecideds. Many will have seen through her, of course, but I think that both the format and etiquette of the debate helped her, because neither Biden nor Ifill could ever really question her. Just as Couric revisited the answers Palin gave Gibson, asking what she had meant by never second-guessing Israel and being able to see Russia, a real debate would have allowed Biden or Ifill to have directly asked her, for instance, if she had had time to find those examples of McCain pushing for more regulation that she had promised Couric. Or to challenge her on the right to privacy in follow-up to her Roe vs Wade answer. This would have exposed her as ignorant of the very basics, but the format of the debate precluded it from happening. Even had it not, etiquette would have forbidden it, because Biden would have appeared 'mean' and 'condescending'. As a result, the playing field was levelled significantly, giving the impression to the country - including undecideds - that she was a viable candidate, rather than somebody completely unfit to serve as Vice President. Media interviews should be warm-ups, dealing with some of the issues but not everything that can be covered in-depth in a debate of this length. Politicians will always be able to evade questions in short interviews, but should not be able to evade their opponent in a lengthy moderated debate. However, despite the duration, we learned far more about Palin in her interviews than in this debate. And yet, the debate is seen by most people, including undecideds, as being the real test. The media is biased, or it's a gotcha question, or what-have-you. But if Ifill had asked her Couric's (perfectly reasonable) question about Cheney's record and she had given the same answer - his duck-hunting accident - I suspect that would have been the end of McCain's campaign. Especially if there had been a follow-up in which it became clear that she only answered that way because she doesn't know of a single other thing Cheney has done. As it is, that comment of hers will not have nearly the same kind of impact on the election.

Because her extent of her ignorance of foreign policy, the economy and other issues were not completely exposed in this arena, I think many undecideds who were put off by the interviews and the general contempt beong shown towards her may now swing back. 'Well, she's not a complete idiot, she's a viable candidate, sure she didn't know as much as Biden, but she held her own and spoke to me.'

Finally - and sorry to be such a gasbag! - I think very little is being said about how these debates are run. Here's a piece that I think is well worth watching:

Mequet said...

Very on point with your commentary!! I agree that Gwen Ifill was very ineffective. I guess part of that was the way the Republicans handicapped her with that charade of a scandal coming up at the last second regarding her book about black politicians. I think you're dead on when you say that she (again) energized the base, but did nothing to bring in the independents and undecideds. It's looking better and better for our guy!!

PBI said...


Excellent analysis, and one with which I agree. I thought the contrast between Biden and Palin was particularly stark at the point late in the debate when he visibly choked up while recalling the aftermath of his first wife's death. This was immediately followed by more of Governor Palin's rote perkiness, and it was very clear who was speaking from the heart and who wasn't.

With regard to Gwen Ifill, I think there are two things to keep in mind. First, there weren't really a lot of fireworks, so there wasn't a whole lot of need for her to play referee. I thought she was fair in keeping things at least on track, although she could certainly have pressed more on follow-ups. Second, the right wing was in a froth yesterday about her allegedly "pro-Obama" book, and had tried to set her up as biased and in the tank for the Democrats in an effort to do some pre-emptive damage control in case Palin went completely off the rails. (See here.) As a result, I think Ms. Ifill was probably making sure that there was no way she could be called out as anything but completely neutral, even if that meant failing to chase some obvious evasions from the two candidates.

Sensen No Sen

James said...

Barry -

I think the majority of your analysis is spot-on however I think Palin's "awe shucks" stuff was not aimed at the base but rather these mannerisms were intended to say to the undecided voter "hey, look I am JUST like you." The hope in fostering this sort of identification is that the undecided voter will take things a step further and reason that if Palin is like me then she has and understands my problems.

Anonymous said...

Barry, you rock. Couldn't agree more. Although I have to tell you, my favorite line from your post was this: "To me, people who refer to themselves in the third person are as weird as people who whistle in public."

David Terrenoire said...

I'm definitely not their audience, but I found Palin's folksy schtick false and condescending.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post Barry.
I watched the debate with a group of college students who were, granted, already firmly in one camp. However we were genuinely curious to see how Palin would conduct herself.

My thoughts more or less mirrored your own. Palin may have fired up her own constituents, but those were people who were already in the bag. I think her performance did very little to attract undecided’s. Her overuse of the Maverick shtick when it has been taking such a pounding in the media, her circular answers, and the way she tried to expound on her lack of Washington experience as a boon are all things that may ultimately work against her.

And frankly after the first Presidential debate I was glad to see Biden go on the attack, at least a little bit. It’s been a long time coming.
Arianna Huffington’s website had an interesting mock conversation created by the creator of West Wing. It featured a dialogue between Obama and President Bartlett (West Wing) where Obama was asking for advice. Bartlett told him to get angry!
You were raised on food stamps by a single mother. Where does a guy with 8 (is it 8 now?) houses get off calling you an elitist?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Love that she had no idea what the term "Achilles Heel" meant. What middle school did she attend?

Larry-bob said...

What do you mean, correctly pronounce? It's Ahmadinejad with an aspirated "h", not so "ak" or "ach" as people have been pronouncing it in the debates.

Anonymous said...

Although Sen. Biden did come across more likable than I expected, there were a few moments where he snorted audibly into his microphone and gave a look like he wanted to back hand Gov. Palin. Gov. Palin did well, even though the awe shucks was overly done, she had her moments where she reminded the Senator that he himself said Sen. Obama was not ready to lead. Oh and I do think you are projecting (some).

Anonymous said...

That was a very weird and long pause when it was her turn to talk about Iraq

Jack said...

Well, she did wink at me.

In other news: I was at work debating other forklift drivers about the fat bonuses for CEOs, one oaf says that the huge golden parachutes in their contracts are legally binding... so the government can't touch them. I told him that our soldiers are having their contracts broken by the BUSH government every day! Its called stop-loss. Que the chirping crickets. back to work...

Narbe said...

The VP debate wasn't spectacular but it did show how blatantly out of her element the Presidency really is. In the style that's become typical of the McCain/Palin campaign (you ought to check out stuff from their mailing list) she really didn't give any real answers or any real details as to how they plan doing all those noble things they vow, mostly slogans.

Biden did a pretty good job, considering how many constraints were put on him for this: too tough and he appears condescending, too nice and he appears patronizing. It's funny how everyone says Palin exceeded expectations. Anyone can exceed expectations if what's expected is the bare minimum of not screwing up.
I agree with you that Biden should right away have responded to her accusation of him saying, sometime in the past, that he would've been glad to have campaign with McCain, with the fact that he hadn't pulled a complete 180 from his stated ideologies. My favorite part was indeed how took apart the idea that McCain is really some 'Maverick'. I was cheering him on at that point for breaking it down so nicely. I also liked that he looked straight into the camera and said that this is going to probably be the most important election in our lifetimes.
And I definitely liked hohw he countered her hockey mom shtick with how he has been a single parent for some time in the past and knows all about those responsibilities.

I am volunteering for the Obama campaign, not just because I agree with his ideas and that I feel that he is the best choice, but also because I believe that this election is way too important for anyone to be passive about.

Barbara said...

I think both Ifill and Biden were hobbled by the fact that it would make them look mean and nasty if they attacked her. (Even people who shudder at the thought of her being vice president tend to feel sorry for her.) I wish Ifill had asked her to answer the question, but having to answer a question for which she didn't have a handy memorized answer would have reduced Palin to a quivering mess and Ifill would be blamed.

On the other hand, she did a pretty good job of looking incompetent all by herself. People seem to think she did well because she didn't do anything totally humiliating, but that's not doing as badly as expected, which is not the same as doing well.

Tia Hu said...

Good analysis Barry!

I think that someday, when she grows up a little more, Palin will make a very good First Lady some Presidential candidate, :D.

She has already even proven she can shell out babies at a very fertile an alarming rate to create an American political dynastic family.

She also is very interested in the welfare and education of children, and by golly she comes from a family of teachers. Although, then one would think she would have a better command of the English language, and that her family of teachers could understand the problem and consequences in the world of overpopulation.

But we all have to admit Palin has been a very good hall monitor; keeping an ever watchful eye on Russia's frozen Siberian northeastern shore from her own backyard. (Include in that visual stirring epic western music, the pioneer woman in a long plain dress and apron, hair blowing in the wind, baby on her hip, and a swarm of 6 more children swirling en mass around her in their little parkas and mukluks). Ok, so who has been serving in the Alaskan Governor's position and responsibilities then?

Alrighty and sure as shootin', I've got it! Palin did help her Alaskan state administration break up an oil monopoly in Alaska...sort of. It was more like just a reorganization of the same players having the same real power and influence. But the Alaskan state administration had to make it 'appear' she had some sort of power and competance to that rootin' tootin' patriotic 'base' who never gets it anyway.

Let's see, oh, I know! Palin maintained her sense of poise and dignity in the VP debate, and didn't embarrass herself as much this time. Oh wait, as Barry points out with such wit and actual command of the English, she doggoned herself right out of even trying to answer key questions. Along with being cheerful enough to appear positively manic as she talked pop-eyed and toothy grinned to we down home Americans. Perhaps even an adjustment in her medications is needed...oops?

Ok, I give up. She won't ever even make a good First Lady...sigh. The nineteenth century already ended, and even the later half of the twentieth century passed right on by her own sensibilities. You'd think her family of teachers would have clued her in on that one...oops again...and of course we must bless her heart.

~Tia Hu

Barry Eisler said...

James, you might be right about where the "awe shucks" stuff was directed. Still, if it was directed at other than the base, I don't think it'll work. If it was directed at the base, again, it'll work but won't matter.

Brad, LOL! I'm going to get hate mail about this from public whistlers, I swear...

Larry, I don't know how Achmadinejad would be pronounced by a native Farsi speaker. My point was that Palin said the name in a way that would indicate familiarity with the underlying topic -- that is, the way it's said on American news shows.

Tia, I agree that Palin is a farce, but I'd appreciate it if you would ease up on the sarcasm. I know sarcasm feels good for the person employing it, but it does nothing to persuade anyone. Anyone who disagrees with you will (correctly) feel disrespected and the conversation will spiral downhill rapidly from there.


Tia Hu said...

Barry it is your blog and your call of course. I respect your wishes. Yes, I expressed sarcasm. But not because I was trying to convince anyone; because it is an accurate parody description of the situation.

Sorry if I offended you in my prior post. It was not my intention.

I also think it is naive for any of us to believe that Barack Obama will automatically be elected in November when it is the Electoral College who actually elect our President, not our citizens. The Electoral College are in appointed not elected positions, often representing special interests, and also under no actual legal obligation to vote in accordance with the wishes of the voting people in the states they represent. Plus, how can they accurately represent the actual votes of the people in the general election when they are appointed and pledge their own votes before the general election. The whole system is an oxymoron to Democracy.

The voters of the U.S. elected Al Gore in 2000 in the general election, Florida being the final outcome state. The U.S. Supreme Court being employed to use illegal power to decide the outcome based on the Electoral College votes, not the general election votes.

In 2004, many people couldn't even get voting ballots or get in to stations to vote in their districts before closing time. They literally got locked out of voting simply because the lines were too long to accommodate all the voters before the stations closed. At many other voting stations voters were turned away due to not enough voting ballots available. The outcome state in that case was Ohio.

The next outcome state will be very likely be Pennsylvania, with the same voting problems and illegalities behind the overall situation. You can bet it won't be Florida or Ohio again. It would 'look' too suspicious.

And yet no one makes any concerted effort to even abolish the Electoral College, or insist that the U.S. Supreme Court remain within their legal boundaries of functioning.

Voters have finally come out of a long generation of apathy. The least our country can do is accommodate the new found sense of voting responsibility among our citizenry.

We need to insist that the national election process, equipment, and even availability to voters be seriously reformed and corrected. Because until all registered voters are allowed to actually vote, until each and every one of those votes are counted, and until each and every one of those votes actually count toward electing the President of the United States; then 'We the People' are volunteering to remain powerless in that process anyway.

Whether as a farce in erudite analysis, or the subject of a comedic parody; Palin is only one figure in a much larger problem that needs solution for either means of communication to have full impact.


~Tia Hu

Kitsuno said...

Palin's "golly gosh darn it" obnoxious way of speaking forced me to write her off at the start. Who is she trying to appeal to? White 30- and 40-something housewives from North Dakota? Can Fargo really win an election? I guess I'm too annoyed by the way she speaks to actually hear what she's saying.

Anonymous said...

the GOP wouldn't dare schedule any more unscripted air time for Palin, this would give people more time to realize that she's totally clueless... the prospect of her becoming the Commander in Chief is frightening

Barry Eisler said...

Tia, my sincere apologies. I don't know how that comment was published, as I had (or thought I had) rejected it as you requested. In any event, it's deleted now.

-- Barry

Anonymous said...


I know this is a late post about this topic, but I wonder how you felt about Biden's egregious error about Lebanon and Hezbollah?

Michael Totten and other foreign policy wonks were pretty mortified.

It seems to me that if Palin had made such a gaffe, people would be talking about it until election day.