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The Vice Presidential Debate: Sarah Palin Funnier Than Tina Fey

October 3, 2008

Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin owe Charlie Gibson, Katie Couric and Tina Fey a debt of gratitude. Without Gibson’s mild questioning, Couric’s patient follow-ups and Fey’s comic shredding of Palin, we’d all be talking about what a horrid, ill informed, clearly tutored, stumble-bum performance Palin turned in at the debate. Instead, most of the pundit class and the headlines are repeating the GOP’s hoped for screed; “She beat expectations.”

Let us, for a moment, focus and be clear about what we saw in the debate last night. Sen. Biden appeared as if ready to be President. Gov. Palin appeared as if she could not do well on senior level political science exam. Here’s Smith and Allen at Politico:

On at least ten occasions, Palin gave answers that were nonspecific, completely generic, pivoted away from the question at hand, or simply ignored it: on global warming, an Iraq exit strategy, Iran and Pakistan, Iranian diplomacy, Israel-Palestine (and a follow-up), the nuclear trigger, interventionism, Cheney’s vice presidency and her own greatest weakness.

Palin seemed to be impersonating Tina Fey impersonating Palin when putting on the charm offensive that was to be her WMD. However, at least with the women I was around during the debate, there was more offense than charm. A brief survey of post debate commentary seems to back up their discomfort with Palin’s winking and flirting and attempts to defang both Biden and moderator Gwen Ifill, asking Biden if she could call him “Joe” and admonishing Ifill that she didn’t have to take orders from the moderator (that uppity moderator!).

Other journos are using the word “folksy” to describe Palin’s performance, which is of course an insult to the genuinely folksy people one might find in various regions of the US. As much as she said “ya” and “darn right” I’d expected her to add “golly gee whiz” and “where’s the beef?” and “I’m not gonna pay a lot for this muffler.”

As I had considered a Palin drinking game, having a drink each time she said “maverick,” I was disappointed that she didn’t say the word more often. However, she said it often enough, and usually at inappropriate times, as if she had been assigned the task to repeat it and continually forgot.

Had Palin not obfuscated her way through her previous interviews, we’d all be savaging her performance last night instead of just me. Palin said she liked being able to speak with out the “filter of the mainstream media,” however it seems to me the mainstream media did her a giant solid. Fist taps are in order all around.

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With a month to go, we could well have heard the death rattle of the McCain campaign. Still, with a month to go, there is plenty of time for a mass of negative campaigning, that is if McCain can raise enough money. There’s still time for a show of “Hands.”

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2008 7:20 am

    I really think people where interested in this event because of the previous gaffs. Yes, Couric and Frey are the reasons people watched.

    A game changer? If so, that’s sad.

  2. October 3, 2008 7:36 am

    Finally I’ve found the person who was watching the same debate I was. Thanks for the analysis and reality check, dork.

    -nerd 🙂

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