Thursday, October 02, 2008

VP Debate

After watching the Vice Presidential Debate I have to believe that the picking of the quotes of the day cannot in any way shape or form be a random event since this was there today:
Statistics: The only science that enables different experts using the same figures to draw different conclusions.
- Evan Esar

Holy crap I've never heard so much bickering and back and forth and complete and utter twisting of data. After watching the whole thing I'm convinced I wasted my time and should have just ignored it and read the summaries on the following day. I would love to see someone actually go through and count how many times they both referred to Obama or McCain. Maddening. And if I had to hear Palin attempting to sound folksy with her "darned right" and "doggoneit's" one more time my eardrums may start to bleed. And meanwhile Biden is a hyperbole machine. It's the most important election of our lifetime or Cheney was the worst Vice President in history. Apparently in Biden's world everything is an extreme.

At the beginning of the both of their complete lack of answering the actual question asked was annoying, but further into the debate at least Biden seemed to at start addressing the actual question that was asked a most times. Given Palin's performance in the Couric interviews and how low the bar was for her I suspect most people thought this would be a disaster. And given that people had such low performance expectations of her I'll bet most people will say she won the debate simply because she didn't make any completely obvious gaffes. Although her answering the question about when should the option of using nuclear weapons be put on the table as "a result of the be all end all of too many people" was a bit bizarre (I suspect she really meant to have multiple sentences there and got nervous and jammed them together and dropped a lot of words). And I'll actually give Palin credit for at least citing one example of how a Palin administration would differ from a McCain administration before lapsing into the "I would support everything John McCain does" (and I'm not playing favorites, Biden did the same thing of saying he would basically be an Obama administration but without the example of a difference). So overall I believe Biden made better points and responded to the questions better and from a pure debating aspect did better. But because of the low bar set for Palin I think she's going to come out of the debate looking better for having met and exceeded the low expectations set beforehand.


Anonymous said...

It was certainly interesting if nothing else. I agree that people's expectations for her were so low. I can't stand the folksy nonsense. I don't care about accents or anything like that but when she had absolutely nothing to say she became folksy. Why is this a good thing? I heard some people after the debate say it was. Haven't we had 8 years of folksy. I've had enough

wtfree3 said...

I did stick through the whole thing, and I thought I was watching an amateur HS debating group who had memorized their debate books. I felt like I was playing Consultant Bingo, but with debating politicians, to see who was the first one to put a checkmark against all of the talking points from their study/cheat sheet. Both sides were so busy trying to score gotcha points that they didn't do a good job about telling us why their side is the right side. Really, the narrative being spun was incredibly weak. (And Ifill didn't do a good job of trying to trying to weave and draw out that structure, either.)

I know that's what the political pros say the job of the VP is to do, but to me, if he/she cannot ennunciate the core goals/value-added (yes, check off a square on your consultant bingo card) of your administration (and change and maverick don't count as a strategy), then please step aside for someone more capable. I'm not suggesting I know who that person is, but all I see right now are a bunch of amateurs (and this applies to both tickets, top and bottom) programmed and poll tested to death, yet removed of most real humanity and sense of what they'd really do.

You know, I cannot tell you what each of these tickets think we should be doing on day one. They've got a long list of promises (which they know they won't be able to keep without major tax increases), and yet I cannot tell you what their 60 or 120 day priorities are. And don't give me the BS about waiting to see what the reality is on inauguration day. You have a strategy, you execute, and when you discover something is different, you adjust and move on. That's why I liked the concept of McCain suspending his campaign to work on the financial mess we're in (though the execution of it, by not literally stopping everything else that was essentially trivial, like interviews and keynote speeches). That's what a real leader does, within limits. You start working the channels, you delegate, you keep on top of things. It becomes priority number 1, though you don't throw everything else off the shelf. But recognizing that a campaign (in reality) is fluff in a time of serious national risk is the right call (IMO).

I still think both candidates are blowing it. I don't get a sense that either are really ready or right for the job, never mind their VP selections. I had high hopes for both, but am bitterly disappointed.