Friday, October 03, 2008

On yesterday's debate

If yesterday's debate was a contest on who could appear folksier, homely and cutesy then Gov. Sarah Palin hit the ball out of the park. Of course, that is not what debates that help us choose leaders for our nation are about - or is it? With nowhere to go but upwards, she did not have a meltdown that most predicted. In fact, she came off as very articulate, very clear and lucid on every answer - except that her responses were not really answers to the questions posed. She managed to go off tangent to just about any and every question asked of her on policy, healthcare, Iraq and domestic affairs. She also relied on this strange circular logic where on the one hand she said that Sen. McCain will enforce strict governmental oversight while in a retort right after said that government is the problem and needs to get out of the way… One cannot have it both ways!
When did expectations sink so low that when reactions the next day are 'Thank god she did not embarrass us' became the standard to judge vice presidential candidates?

Sen. Biden on the other hand was fairly calm and collected with his answers. His answers were more direct and to the point and he managed to produce pertinent answers to questions asked of him. In particular, I was shocked by the following factoid ‘we have spent more money -- we spend more money in three weeks on combat in Iraq than we spent on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan building that country’. I have not fact checked this, but if true is simply an astounding example of misguided leadership. Of course, expectations that his answers would be long winded, empty and airy were not fulfilled. Here again we breathed a sigh of relief and said, ‘Thank god, he did not shame the campaign with his gaffes’. Of course, he was definitely, very definitely more Presidential of the two and handily won the debate.

In our fervent prayers that candidates scrape by and not embarrass themselves, we are lowering the bar for ourselves in general and for the country at large.

In keeping with her style, Palinesque moments that had a 'Kouric interview' feel to them abounded - some of them here:

  • Nuclear weaponry, of course, would be the be all, end all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet” – magnetic poetry alert.
  • The reason we don't read about Afghanistan anymore in the paper, it's succeeded.” – the last I checked there was a growing Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan slowing winding its way into Pakistan.
  • As we discuss ANWR there, at least we can agree to disagree on that one. I will keep pushing him on ANWR” – I have no idea what she meant here…
Full transcript here.