Friday, October 03, 2008

Re-Evaluating Palin

Last night's VP debate was critical for McCain-Palin. It attracted more viewers than the Presdiential first debate. With Palin's recent poor performance in interviews, this was a critical test for her. The question is... how well did she do? David Brooks sums it up brilliantly:
When nervous, Palin has a tendency to over-enunciate her words like a graduate of the George W. Bush School of Oratory, but Thursday night she spoke like a normal person...

By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.
While I don't think there was a clear victor in the debate last night, I do think it was a personal victory for Palin. She relieved those who want to like her but have grown concerned about her, silenced some of her critics, and came across as a candidate who needs to be taken seriously.

As I've written before, I still expect an Obama win next month, but now the Republicans will blame their loss on the economy and on McCain rather than on Palin.


thinking said...

Palin's performance was so lacking on so many only seems in any way good because her interviews were so awful.

She spoke in this weird cadence that reminded me of that video of the struggling Miss South Carolina beauty was as if she was regurgitating the words without any real understanding.

Then there was the fact that she avoided answering many of the questions and just rambled on about whatever talking point she felt comfortable with. She even announced this early in the debate when she stated that she would not necessarily answer the questions posed by either Biden or the moderator. This was unprecedented in debating at this level.

Finally, there was the substance of her answers, which again, just consisted of the usual talking points and platitudes.

As others have said: note to McCain/Palin: if you have to keep on reminding others that you are "mavericks" then you clearly are not.

It is so easy to pick apart her answers on any number of issues that one could write a book on it.

Granted she was not as bad as on the Couric interview, but that's only because the format did not allow for a journalist to follow up and keep pressing her for a real answer. A few followup questions and we would have seen the same disastrous responses.

It will be very revealing to see if she gives a real press conference before the election. My bet is no. My bet is also that she does not allow another real interview before the election and only goes on conservative talk radio and TV.

It seems she has learned one thing from being close to Russia, and that is to follow the Putin style of avoiding tough media questioning as much as possible.

Then there was the utter insincerity of her throwing out all of her folksy sayings. It came across as a bit much, as a ploy she uses to try to manipulate people.

Then she uses this snarky tone when she attacks someone. It's more like a high school student throwing off a typical sophomoric insult. We first saw this tone when she denigrated the value of community organizers at the GOP convention.

Palin is clearly the least prepared VP candidate in modern history and if she had had any real sense of "putting country first" as she claims, she would have turned down the offer to be the GOP veep nominee. Of course McCain is more to blame than she is for such a cynical and reckless decision.

It really is scary to think that someone like her could have the nuclear codes.

Then there was just the fact that Biden overwhelmed her with his expertise and direct answers. No one would have doubts with Biden being a heartbeat away from the presidency.

Lastly, I must say that she has a beautiful family, but Alaska politicians have noted that she uses her kids as political tools to an unusual level. I expect all politicians to do that to some extent, but it is unnerving to me to see her use her baby as one. There is no reason to have her infant child up and out at that time of the night other than to use him as a prop.

There is no other parent who would take their baby to work at 11 pm at night, if they could make other arrangements. Palin clearly has the resources to make other arrangements.

The other kids I can understand; it's a great experience for them as well. But a little baby, who should be tucked away asleep at that time...come on. There's only one reason why he's there and that's for the cameras, and that's a little disturbing.

lewis said...

I agree with thinking. I was not impressed in the least. Greed bad, big oil bad, cap and trade good.

The point in the debate when I completely gave up on the McCain/Palin ticket was when, given the opportunity to name what they would cut to pay for the $700B bailout, she declined to name any cuts in government spending.

What has the Republican Party come to when they can't even pretend to be against big government?