Expectations low, Palin scores in debate
This is for you Joe Six Pack:
It's a beautiful thing to live in a nation where our leaders are graded on a curve and our "debates" don't actually involve things like "responses" or "follow-ups".
UPDATE: Yglesias puts it well:
When someone shows up and seems slightly dimwitted they don’t think to themselves “well, she’s not quite as dumb as I thought — what a triumph!” They think, “wow, she seems slightly dimwitted.”Loyal readers know we have studied the practice of lowering the bar before. Matt Taibbi goes even further here.
Meanwhile, in outer space:
[Grand Slam] describes the first half-hour of Sarah Palin's performance against Joe Biden tonight. She was calm, commanding and articulate. She repeatedly knifed Biden with a smile and showed why she is one of the most effective communicators in American politics. I've been watching Presidential debates since 1960, and I can't recall a more one-sided matchup than the first 30 minutes of tonight's debate. It was all Sarah Palin.Johnny-Boy's Powerline post wraps up with "evidence" of a Palin victory from...wait for it...a Frank Luntz focus group and an on-line Matt Drudge poll. Maybe later this week he'll use a show of hands from a MOB meeting at Keegan's.
UPDATE ii: I don't like to write much about what I thought of the debate because I think people can make up their own minds (I'll stick to writing about media coverage) and I don't want to add to any sort of post-debate narrative, but I found this particular exchange pretty interesting:
I'll let you decide what to make of that. (Hint: it may have something to do with this.)
BIDEN: The charge is absolutely not true. Barack Obama did not vote to raise taxes. The vote she's referring to, John McCain voted the exact same way. It was a budget procedural vote. John McCain voted the same way. It did not raise taxes. Number two, using the standard that the governor uses, John McCain voted 477 times to raise taxes. It's a bogus standard it but if you notice, Gwen, the governor did not answer the question about deregulation, did not answer the question of defending John McCain about not going along with the deregulation, letting Wall Street run wild. He did support deregulation almost across the board. That's why we got into so much trouble.
IFILL: Would you like to have an opportunity to answer that before we move on?PALIN: I'm still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again. And I want to let you know what I did as a mayor and as a governor. And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also.
UPDATE iii: Aim high America, aim high.
Just as the midcentury psychologist Abraham Maslow predicted, Republicans watching the debate had a hierarchy of needs. First, they had a need for survival. Was this woman capable of completing an extemporaneous paragraph — a collection of sentences with subjects, verbs, objects and, if possible, an actual meaning?Dear readers, please keep in mind that we're talking about the qualifications for the second highest office in the land. The millionaire pundit (David Brooks) continues:
To many ears, her accent, her colloquialisms and her constant invocations of the accoutrements of everyday life will seem cloying. But in the casual parts of the country, I suspect, it went down fine. In any case, that’s who Palin is.Why does he suspect this? Why does he think that the average American will connect with someone whose first test of proficiency is to speak coherently? Brooks' downward spiral continues:
She was surprisingly forceful on the subject of Iran (pronouncing Ahmadinejad better than her running mate)Let me repeat that for you: "She was surprisingly forceful on the subject of Iran (pronouncing Ahmadinejad better than her running mate)"
Please make it stop.
UPDATE iv: Yes she does!!!
And then there's this:
Palin too projects through the screen like crazy. I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.Adding "bum-chinga-wow-wow". That wasn't the only bit of punditurbation Rich Lowry threw onto the American public today. Here he is in the New York Post:
She dropped her G's ("puttin' government back on the side of the people") and said "darn" and "doggonit" in a folksy, familiar style; he referred to himself in the third person in the self-important senatorial style.
She kept it general, direct and common-sensical; he loaded his answers with detail. She exuded a sincerity that pulsed through the screen; he seemed like a typical senator.
That's right folks, on a day where Congress voted for a $800+ billion borrowing bill, this a-hole is writing about an accent from the movie Fargo. Of course, even conservative fan boys found it hard to overlook Palin's tendency to find herself with nothing to say once the talking points were exhausted. However, instead of this being a negative, Lowry...well, it's hard to keep a good man down in the dumps with all those starbursts in the room:
Palin's syntax is odd, and she has noticeable verbal tics, saying "here," "there" and "also" too much. Occasionally, she gets lost in a blizzard of her own words. But the quirkiness makes her more vivid, setting her apart from the rest of the political establishment.
Of course!!! The way in which she had to pause in order to read her talking points made her more authentic and American. It's all so simple!
I especially like the time where she couldn't remember the "white flag" line. Awesome.