Thursday, October 2

VP Debate

I'm torn between relief that Gov. Palin didn't embarrass herself in front of the largest audience in her life and disappointment at not getting to see the Republican ticket completely implode spectacularly in prime time.

I am pleased for her as a human being that she did not repeat her humiliating performance from last week on CBS. As much as I despise her politics, it's nice to see the first female candidate in the nationwide general election in 20 years to not come out looking utterly empty-headed on her biggest stage yet. She looked poised and spoke clearly, if a bit too heavy on the folksy colloquialisms.

However, while she spoke clearly she did not speak intelligently. I am thoroughly disgusted at how many times she tried to shoehorn an unrelated talking point script in instead of answering the actual question. "I disagree with that ... and I'd like to talk about energy" is not an answer, it's evasion. She pulled it out far too many times. Not once did I hear her answer with anything but a carefully pre-scripted talking point. That's not a debate, that's one of those pre-recoded robocalls.

In contrast, while Sen. Biden didn't deliver a knockout punch to her ridiculous campaign, he did a very smart thing - he didn't even bother to go after her and risk looking condescending or sexist. Instead he aimed all his attacks at Sen. McCain knowing, probably, that voters don't vote for the VP candidate, they vote for the head of the ticket. He consistently - save one apparently accidental slip where he used her first name - referred to her using her title. I think that was extremely wise. At the same time, he did reasonably well avoiding sticking his foot in his mouth while looking distinguished and charismatic.

While my poor id was deprived of the snarky schadenfreude it so wanted, I think Palin's better-than-expected - if somewhat robotic - performance and Biden's solid - if uninspired - performance balanced each other out. I think the Senator might have had a slight edge over the Governor - especially when he started talking about being a parent - I don't think this debate is going to have much of an effect at all.

Now watch tomorrow's polls prove me wrong! ;-)


  1. Wish I could've been at the Bagdad for it. I could barely hear half of what was said over the chatter of the other students watching (though I did learn how to identify Biden's 'orgasm face' from them. Education!)

    I feel a bit disappointed. I guess hoping Biden would actually tear Palin's throat out and throw her still-writhing body onto the moderator's desk, letting out a terrible cry of barbarous triumph, was a little unrealistic.

    Can't wait for the Tina Fey/SNL take on it.

  2. You got it right, Greg. There will be minimal fallout from real impact on the polls. People rarely if ever vote for VP anyway. If they did, Bentsen would have been VP.

    Obama's huge rise is about to level off, and maybe even ease up a little bit with the inevitable attack ads that will be used against him. But he'll still win. The floor for him is about 290 electoral votes right now. McCain just punted on Michigan, and I don't see where he can gather the EVs to replace it right now.

  3. Greg, I found this article on my space, thought you should see it too.

    > by Mary-Kay Gamel

    > It was just before John McCain's last run at the presidential nomination in 2000 that my husband and I vacationed in Turtle Island in Fiji with John McCain, Cindy, and their children, including Bridget (their adopted Bangladeshi child).

    It was not our intention, but it was our
    misfortune to be in close quarters with John
    McCain for almost a week, since Turtle Island has a small number of bungalows and their focus on communal meals force all vacationers who are there at the same time to get to know each other intimately.

    He arrived at our first group meal and started
    reading quotes from a pile of William Faulkner
    books with a forest of Post-Its sticking out of them.As an English Literature major myself, my first thought was "if he likes this so much, why hasn't he memorized any of it yet?" I soon realized that McCain actually thought we had come on vacation to be a volunteer audience for his "readings" which then became a regular part of each meal.Out of politeness, none of the vacationers initially protested at this intrusion
    into their blissful holiday, but people's buttons definitely got pushed as the readings continued day after day.

    Unfortunately this was not his only contribution to our mealtime entertainment.He waxed on during one meal about how Indo-Chine women had the best figures and that our American corn-fed women just couldn't meet up to this standard.He also made it a point that all of us should stop Cindy from having dessert as her weight was too high and made
    a few comments to Amy, the 25 year old wife of the honeymooning couple from Nebraska, that she should eat less as she needed to lose weight.

    McCain's appreciation of the beauty of Asian women was so great that David, the American economist, had to move his Thai wife to the other side of the table from McCain as McCain kept aggressively flirting with and touching her.

    Needless to say I was irritated at his large ego and his rude behavior towards his wife and other women, but decided he must have some redeeming qualities as he had adopted a handicapped child from Bangladesh.I asked him about this one day,and his response was shocking: "Oh, that was Cindy's idea ˆ I didn't have anything to do with it.She just went and adopted this thing without even asking me.You can't imagine how people stare
    when I wheel this ugly, black thing around in a shopping cart in Arizona .No, it wasn't my idea at all.

    I actively avoided McCain after that, but
    unfortunately one day he engaged me in a political discussion which soon got us on the topic of the active US bombing of Iraq at that time [i.e., Clinton era policing of no-fly zone].I was shocked when he said, "If I was in charge, I would nuke Iraq to teach them a lesson".Given McCain's personal experience with the horrors of war, I had
    expected a more balanced point of view.I
    commented on the tragic consequences of the
    nuclear attacks on Japan during WWII ˆ- but no, he was not to be dissuaded.He went on to say that, if it were up to him, he would have dropped many more nuclear bombs on Japan.I rapidly extricated myself from this conversation as I could tell that his experience being tortured as a POW didn't seem to have mellowed out his
    perspective, but rather had made him more
    aggressive and vengeful towards the world.

    My final encounter with McCain was on the morning that he was leaving Turtle Island.Amy and I were happily eating pancakes when McCain arrived and told Amy that she shouldn't be having pancakes because she needed to lose weight.Amy burst into tears at this abusive comment.I felt fiercely protective of Amy and immediately turned to McCain and told him to leave her alone.He became very angry and abusive towards me, and said, "Don't you know who I am." I looked him in the face and said, "Yes, you are the biggest asshole I have ever met" and headed back to my cabin.I am happy to say that later that day - when I arrived at lunch - I was given a standing ovation by all the guests for
    having stood up to McCain's bullying.

    Although I have shared my McCain story informally with friends, this is the first time I am making it public.I almost did so in 2000, when McCain first announced his bid for the Republican nomination, but it soon became apparent that George Bush was the shoo-in candidate and so I did not act then.However, now that there is a very real possibility that McCain could be elected as our next president, I feel it is my duty as an American citizen to share this story.I can't
    imagine a more scary outcome for America than that this abusive, aggressive man should lead our nation.

    I have observed him in intimate surroundings as he really is, not how the media portrays him to be.If his attitudes toward women
    and his treatment of his own family are even a
    small indicator of his real personality, then I shudder to think what will happen to America were he to be elected as our President.

    > Mary-Kay Gamel

    > Professor of Classics, Comparative Literature, and

    > Theater Arts
    Cowell College
    University of California, Santa Cruz
    Santa Cruz, California 95064