Yes, I watched the Biden-Palin debate hoping for the train wreck – some spectacular blow up or burn out by one or both of them. Neither delivered. Instead, we got Biden showing strength in leadership and Palin showing she had done her homework. I just couldn’t escape the feeling that Palin is the George Bush of this election: claiming to be one of us, talking folksy, and pandering to her base with empty rhetoric. So while I feel good about Biden’s performance and feel like he came out ahead (I hate talking about “winning” a debate), I know a lot of Palin supporters will feel like she came out ahead and Palin probably even won over some converts with her folksy talk and her winks.
And to those that she won over with those tricks: don’t vote. Remember, this isn’t a beauty pageant. This is the election for President of the United States. I know the conventional wisdom is that everyone should vote, but clearly that didn’t work out so well in 2004. I’m granting a pass in 2000 because the country didn’t appear to need strength at the time. But to all of you who voted for Bush in 2004, keep in mind that you chose Mr. I’m Just Like You to watch over our foreign policy and our economy, even when it was clear he had a handle on neither. So either don’t vote or learn about the issues and ignore the populist pandering of Palin to choose the guy who has the mental capacity to run the country (hint: he didn’t choose Palin as his running mate).
On the Daily Show, Tim Robbins pointed out something that needs more attention: The Navy SEALs are the elite fighting force and we are glad that they are elite because they can do tough jobs that others can’t. Shouldn’t the guy in charge of the whole country (and indeed, those Navy SEALs) also be the best at his game – an elite diplomat and policy maker?
Even as interested in the process and the meta political process as I am, I found last night’s debate a bore. Too much rehashing of past empty and trivial discourse. Obama missed some opportunities to attack McCain. Like when McCain talked about foreign policy, and listed out a very wise course of action, including knowing when the US needs to intervene for our safety and knowing when the US intervention can make a difference. Obama should have hammered him on not heeding his own advice by targeting Iraq which fails both those tests.
In the end, it felt like McCain got out ahead on the nonsense and kept it coming so fast that Obama spent most of his time refuting it. If it were possible to keep score at home of all the fabrications and mistruths being tossed around, it might have been interesting to watch like an Olympic handball game. But where the future of our country, and indeed the leadership of the whole freakin’ planet is on the line, I’d much rather see adults talking about substantive issues.
And isn’t it interesting that the McCain campaign has chosen to use Palin as an attack dog to go after Obama in ways that would seem unseemly from McCain. Like on this fabricated issue of his association with a “domestic terrorist”. I think that’s what’s making this series of debates so strange. On the surface, the VP debate is Biden vs. Palin but actually it’s Biden vs. McCain and Palin vs. Obama. And last night’s debate was Obama vs. the Republicans and McCain vs. some imaginary foe he is creating. No wonder the American people (the best people in the world, the hardest workers, the only beings that can turn mud to gold! – sorry got carried away with McCainifying there) are so confused.
Is there any reason at all to hope that the last debate can convey some truth and poignancy to the American people?
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