VP Debate

The Palin Rebound by David Brooks

Still, this debate was about Sarah Palin. She held up her end of an energetic debate that gave voters a direct look at two competing philosophies. She established debating parity with Joe Biden. And in a country that is furious with Washington, she presented herself as a radical alternative.

By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.

Biden’s Fishy Claim: Three Weeks in Iraq

So Palin can speak in complete sentences. She still knows nothing about foreign policy.

Palin wins. Biden wins. Obama wins. McCain loses.

Watching the debate I noticed that Biden referred to the Muslim population of Bosnia and Herzegovina as “Bosniaks”. This is actually the correct term, though in English people often say simply Bosnian Muslims. When he said it, the first thing I though was, I wonder how many right-wingers would jump on this as a gaffe on the model of candidate George W. Bush’s reference to ‘Grecians.’

I don’t know who else exposed their own ignorance by falling into this trap. But Cokie Roberts did.

Debate Live Blog

“What comes across best is that she looks hot, fills a stage, seems a fast study, and speaks in complete sentences. Nobody’s listening closely to anything anyway, so she could pull it off, even going toe to toe on the stage with Biden. In 2008, it’s all about form over content.”
-thal (last month)

Let’s take another crack at it:

What comes across worst is that while she’s looking hot, shrivels in an interview, can stay up late for the test, but misplaces the answers to the questions, and flunks. Nobody’s listening closely to anything anyway, so she could do me a big favor pulling her blouse off when going toe to toe on stage with Biden. In 2008, it’s all about form over content.
– thal (this month)

Transcript of Palin, Biden debate

57 Replies to “VP Debate”

  1. Eh, what’s the point? You can have a Total Epic Crater of a VP debate, like Quayle, and it won’t move the meter.

    I expect the Caribou Barbie version of Palin tonight: designer clothes made to show off her ass(ets) to maximum effect while still looking elegant. She’ll go nasty quick and often, totally not answering questions & leaving Biden grinning and shaking his head. Guys watching will give her The Win because they’ll be too busy staring at her tits to listen to anything she’s saying.

    ‘Course, Biden won’t be a total pushover… or will he?

  2. My sound feed was garbled, all I heard was
    Free/our/godless/troops/bless/tax/for/growth/of/rich something or other…

  3. My favorite Biden Semi-Gaff of the evening: “I don’t have a stomach for genocide when it comes to Darfur.”

    JR, I completely agree. Out of the blocks, Plain absolutely annihilated Joe “Mr. Botox” Biden. (As an aside: Biden’s forehead looked like a tanned trampoline — so taut, damping all inputs perfectly. By the end of the debate, wrinkles were beginning to appear adjacent to his temples, spreading gradually toward the bow of the old garbage scow.)

    Grinning afterwards, Palin said “Senator O’Biden” — I’m sure of it. Gaff or Gag? Difficult to say.

    Biden wants to “Talk, talk, talk (to A-Jad et al.)” I’m sure he’s nice guy and that his grandchildren love him very much.

    Palin lost some steam toward the end, repeating the we need to cut taxes mantra a few too many times.

    Biden was boring and incoherent for 90% of the debate, and mostly on the defensive. Stupid enough to think that this was actually supposed to be a debate! Palin was hitting hard and steady and with self-assured eloquence.

    Palin was the clear winner (by every measurable indicia, indecent or otherwise).

  4. I don’t know about real deal. No doubt she’d be great at the local and state level. But she is completely clueless on national or international level. No amount of tutoring can help that, but good debate coaching allowed the knowledge and understanding void to be somewhat concealed. She executed really well with what she had to work with. She got some help from Gwen though. If the moderator had pushed, even just a little, for her to answer the question, as was the case in presidential debate and the Couric interview, we may have seen a real disaster. She hides behind a thin veneer of talking points on a number of major topics. When the topic is beyond her, her bolt hole is to go with the “maverick” thing and talk her energy “experience”, and she was allowed to run there numerous times tonight, without penalty. Neither Joe nor Gwen put an ounce of pressure on her. It was hands off.

  5. Saint Bif,

    All she “had” to do was not come unglued. If, as I think you’re suggesting, Joe or Gwen, didn’t hit her hard enough because they couldn’t summon the moxy to take their own gloves off, what does that say? Nothing but playing to their own perceptions of what the non-participants are perceiving. There can be no points awarded by not scoring. “I’da shot the three pointer, but I didn’t want the folks in the stands to dislike me.”

  6. “When the topic is beyond her, her bolt hole is to go with the “maverick” thing and talk her energy “experience”, and she was allowed to run there numerous times tonight, without penalty. Neither Joe nor Gwen put an ounce of pressure on her. It was hands off.”–SB

    I caught that once also before being pulled away into the lab this PM. I was wondering if she would try that tactic (changing the subject to one she prefers) again. So, apparently she did and was given a free pass to do so. I think the Dem plan is to not rock her boat, risking some weird repub backlash, and let the SS Sarah take on water and sink all on her own. The polls show a smart electorial college campaign that is Obama-Biden’s to lose.

  7. thal. I pretty much agree, but I’m sure Joe was under strict orders to not drop the gloves, and to not go for the throat. And Gwen had to lay low to conceal her liberal bias and love of Obama. The door was wide open. It was up to Sarah to score a lot of points. She did a great job of scoring points, but it was not enough. Biden sufficiently held the line. I think people including me will come out of this respecting her more but McCain still sucks. I don’t think this debate will change things too much, as VP debates usually don’t.

  8. From George Friedman of Stratfor:

    In light of the foregoing, as we head toward the debate, 10 questions should be asked of the candidates:

    If the United States removes its forces from Iraq slowly as both of you advocate, where will the troops come from to deal with Afghanistan and protect allies in the former Soviet Union?
    The Russians sent 120,000 troops to Afghanistan and failed to pacify the country. How many troops do you think are necessary?

    Do you believe al Qaeda prime is still active and worth pursuing?

    Do you believe the Iranians are capable of producing a deliverable nuclear weapon during your term in office?

    How do you plan to persuade the Pakistani government to go after the Taliban, and what support can you provide them if they do?

    Do you believe the United States should station troops in the Baltic states, in Ukraine and Georgia as well as in other friendly countries to protect them from Russia?

    Do you feel that NATO remains a viable alliance, and are the Europeans carrying enough of the burden?

    Do you believe that Mexico represents a national security issue for the United States?

    Do you believe that China represents a strategic challenge to the United States?

    Do you feel that there has been tension between the United States and Israel over the Georgia issue?


  9. EE, too many foreign policy questions. The future US is returning to an isolationist, rural country, so many of those questions will be moot.

  10. True, Biden was probably muzzled. So what. What a waste of time.

    That bit at the end when Biden emasculated himself talking about how hard it was for him being a single father was particularly repulsive. Yeah, I want a guy who wants me to feel sorry for him as my country’s VP. No thanks.

  11. Holmes, but Dick has a heart problem. He could die of a massive coronary at any time!! Don’t you feel a little sorry for him? (And, he has a man-boy moron to act as his charge, err, boss.)

  12. Hey Doom-

    It’s a toss-up on the isolationism. That’s what Friedman was saying. Maybe the real Black Swan is a global depression. Game over!

    Since I pride myself on not watching debates (or TV), I didn’t partake this evening. I’ll wait for the SNL version this weekend.

  13. EE, sorry to say, I agree with Friedman, it’s going to seem like a bolt from the blue, but the clusterfuckaware will see it coming. If the US goes down, the rest of the globe will suffer as well, but especially europe and our asian trade partners. Canada, ME and Russia will do OK, Mexico and the rest of the Americas will go down. Africa is the poster child, as usual. Australia is drying up.

    Hawaii may be the miner’s canary, but perhaps not. I keep a wary eye on Holmesland (SoCal). If they go down, so do we.

    Hey, Greenland is going back to forrest– may be boom times for the danes and eskies.

  14. Palin was like a talking Barbie – pull the string and you get about eight different remarks.

    Holmes – I think Biden was doing a bit of the ‘what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander’ as regards the references to his domestic situation – Palin seems happy to traipse around with a special needs baby eliciting all the sympathy she can. I never knew he’d lost a wife and child – perhaps it gives him a better understanding of how hard it is in a regular familial setting for most people right now considering he had a hard yards one himself.

    I thought he went extremely easy on her and although I don’t know the US political scene very well our politicians seem to be far more hawkish and no holds barred here; some of the tv interviewers are like a dog with a bone.

    We have a broadcaster here, Kim Hill, who is downright scary who does not let anyone get away with anything. If Palin encountered her she’d get the Fatima Blush exit.

    JR – love your new picture, is he going for the super quick chicken exit after November 4?

  15. Mary, I completely agree that Palin’s commentary was on the pull string side. Her maniacal almost sing song cadence begins to grate nerve after awhile.

    Perhaps the gloves might have come off more if the nation were not on the ropes economically, so embroiled in protracted international adventurism, etc.

    And, indeed, it was a softly moderated affair. This made it feel more like an open mic night, or a pancake breakfast.

    EE, yes, would have loved to hear some of those international questions thrown out for discussion. Does SNL stream live on the internet these days? Man, am I behind the times or what. ;-)

    Dr.D, enjoy that beer with Joe. Once the default serving size for a ration of French fries is no longer a container as large as a shoebox, then I’d say the little yellow bird is in dire straits.

    JR, anyone wearing a yellow necktie is generally certifiably mad. MOU will back me on this!

  16. Sorry, slow morning since “maverick” was a drinking word. I put double or nothing on “MILF” and “yup yup.” At least they got laughs, but wouldn’t I love to see those come up!

    Not buying the narrative here. Everything I’m looking at besides a second hand look at Brooks through Sullivan, is that Biden won this thing handily. Humanity takes you only so far when the economy is at stake, and it is “the economy, stupid.”

    Watching, I thought that Palen did fine, but did not overcome her weaknesses, namely her preparedness for becoming President if something happens. I would be showing McCain obituaries right now as an outside group. If you desire her to be your leader, the financial meltdown is the least of your worries. Biden was Biden. Tis why he is not running for President. But, he is a fantastic technocrat, a lot like Gore. YMMV, but boy do I wish Gore won.

    I really hate that people are no longer embedding links in videos… But, this is why Obama has won. Start making the transition, because barring “a live boy, or a dead girl” he is the next POTUS.


  17. “That bit at the end when Biden emasculated himself talking about how hard it was for him being a single father was particularly repulsive.”

    Well, I found that to be his best moment. Of course, I was raised by a violent criminal, and can’t handle bravado without the innate need to kill that which seemingly threatens me, so your mileage may vary.

    Palin is an Idiot. She is unqualified. She is a creationist. Dear god! Where do they find people like this, and we wonder why Detroit can’t make a decent car. And, she has issues with overextending her authority. No thanks indeed!

  18. EE,

    The SNL version is going to be fantastic! There is so much fodder under the surface of this debate.

  19. Indeed, Obama should win handily. I promptly berated McCain’s choice of Palin… this, the record clearly reflects!

    The utter futility of the VP debate manifests, particularly in McCain’s strange express concession of Michigan. Why? WTF

    Nicholas and Mary, I understand that different things speak to different people. [Sigh… internal sensation of nostalgic yearning.] I guess I just long for a more statesmanlike exchange, where the participants’ personal lives and circumstances (present and past) are not so front and center. Sure, where you’re coming from is part of what you bring to the table. Does he or she reek sufficiently of the road, and of which road, we — as media, biography and entertainment gobbling Americans –are, for the most part, most curious to know.

  20. Ok, I had to read Tool…

    “There are some moments when members of a political movement come together as one, sharing the same thoughts, feeling the same emotions, breathing the same shallow breaths.” I’m going to be sick, and it just started.

    “A collection of sentences with subjects, verbs, objects and, if possible, an actual meaning?” My how our standards have changed. Is this a good thing?

    “Where was this woman during her interview with Katie Couric?” She was there, and was asked to expound. She was barely able to make a coherent sentence, but thankfully was able to remember that McCain was running for President, not her. She knew that the base always wants lower taxes. Check. And, boy was I hoping she would keep going on “privacy” on gay marriage!

    “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.” Chimp boy is President still! True, But, if I here “nukular” one more time I’m going to be fissible.

    “By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it.” Yep, and screaming into their front yards from the porch where said couch resides!

    My fellow debate/drinking friends still feel that the narrative is evolving, but I feel that in the absence of gaffs or easy talking points, that Biden won. Palin needed to make us comfortable that she was prepared. This was not the case. She would be quite the sales person if she could accomplish that task!

  21. Holmes,

    Oh, that is exactly what I want as well. Tis why I am voting for a man who can actually assemble an argument and deliver it coherently. Tis also why Palin is a farce.

    The electorate is either too sedate, or too stupid to consider such discussions. Given what they are about to go through, this is quite sad. Almost nobody expects the bailout to actually work, or more accurately keep the economy from melting down. The fundamentals, as illustrated by Krugman, are signally very bad things. Menken can be channeled here.

  22. I have a question. Given the credit markets, what works for cash in an economy? Certainly gold, and silver, and such, but food does… Commodities.

    The question has the founding in a wider war in the Middle East. What happens if we melt down, but have to conduct the business of war on a larger scale? Pakistan is on the verge of civil war. Afghanistan is gone. Iraq is gone. We either retreat to the House of Saud, or go for broke. Pakistan has nukular materials. Not an option really…

    If the dollar, or money, is worthless, what is the functional equivalent? And, I am not looking for the down-home country trading system. I am looking at millions of people and a country needing to function. My opinions on the rural haven’t changed.

  23. Oops! “The 2004 decision for the first time gave the S.E.C. a window on the banks’ increasingly risky investments in mortgage-related securities.” So much for blaming it on Clinton!

  24. Just curious. It is more about rebuilding out of a monetary crash, than a the world falls apart as background. I it simply print more money? We are there!

    The idea of printing more money and having sit in vaults is a very weird issue. Could this be an inflation stabilizer?

  25. Oh, I posted a link to an article in the Times laying blame for the fiasco in 2004… So much for Clinton causing the mess.

    “The 2004 decision for the first time gave the S.E.C. a window on the banks’ increasingly risky investments in mortgage-related securities.”

  26. Sorry I missed the live blogging. I was editing down the excuses offered up by my senators for supporting the bailout, and it still ended up way too long. Maybe I’ll get a chance to do some more editing tonight or over the weekend. Suffice it to say I was doing the blog equivalent of standing on my couch where it landed in the front yard & screaming toward the road last night.

  27. Palin for Prez in 2012! Maybe they’ll revive the Bull Moose Party for her run.

    Holmes, I’m afraid the place and time you yearn for have been gone for some time now, since about 1963 or so.

  28. JR, great reading over there!

    Brad Delong’s comments are what expect. The right doesn’t quite grasp that the both systemically destroyed the possibility of their platform as well as the country’s standing permanently. All arguments for regulation are over in the financial sector. The sole reason for our ability to push through our options for force are gone, namely that our economy and markets were central to the world’s economy.

    As new financial centers take increasing powers, we will find the opinions to be true. When the dollar is no longer the peg for oil, we will suffer greatly.

  29. “The electorate is either too sedate, or too stupid to consider such discussions. ”

    Nick, I think the electorate is scared, at least those not in shock or some delusional state (like, say, Alaska–haha) are scared. It is a reasonable response to perceived events, current and those suspected/extrapolated.

    Most, hell all of you know my personal bent on things. I had lunch yesterday with a friend and colleague here who is a bright optimist compared to me. Now he sees things nearly the same way. It’s frightening when such people start agreeing with me.

    BTW, note the tone in dale’s CFN comments today. That is one scared puppy.

  30. Gold! Yes, the desire to preserve wealth begins to kick in at some point. Good luck with that. We are truly all in it together. Money is very simply a consensus on value, and requires trust. Who exactly trusts the keepers of the markets any longer?

    Scared perhaps, but too stupid to consider rhetoric over superficial aspects. Let’s call it a definite intellectual laziness. What one gets for intellectual laziness is sh*t jobs and bad leaders. “Thank you, may I have another!”

  31. Via Sullivan…

    “Of course, I haven’t checked in with David Brooks on how real Americans outside the Beltway feel.”

  32. Consider these musings in light of human to human transactions. At one end of the spectrum is whore-to-john (money for sex, labor for food). At the other end is highly abstracted ephemeral valuation (derivatives generating highly abstracted bonus payouts for the supremely clever). I can understand and appreciate both ends of the spectrum. However, where does “politician” (as job description) coincide with my feeble understandings? Nowhere. That’s where. It’s beyond me to explain how people that do next to nothing, understand next to nothing, can trade on faith (in gods, in fiat currencies, in opinions by dueling experts), and convert it, as transaction, into votes. It’s timing and not very well thought out, if the future is what we’re talking about. Dave’s right. What’s the fucking point?

    Prediction: the Obama-Biden ticket is going to win. If he were half as smart as I think him to be, he’d decline the job. “Just sayin.'”

  33. Holmes, my man-

    I’m eternally grateful for your wsj link above–I found the following article which is quite amusing, as are the comments.

    “Mackerel Economics in Prison Leads to Appreciation for Oily Fillets–Packs of Fish Catch On as Currency, Former Inmates Say; Officials Carp”



    Here’s a clue: politicians are the fiat currency ciphers of our billionaire global overlords. Too much testosterone creates advantage in some situations and disadvantage in others.

    Those who have crossed
    With direct eyes, to death’s other Kingdom
    Remember us — if at all — not as lost
    Violent souls, but only
    As the hollow men
    The stuffed men.

  34. I saw the mackerel article this morning and thought that it would be the perfect cheeky answer to Nicholas’ question about what might replace money… but resisted the urge.

    EE, it’s good to know that I can count on you to double down when the weak are running for the exits.

    How many mini bottles of scotch for that set of commemorative Dick Cheney bingo daubers? No one is leaving this room until we figure out a way to do this deal without cash. Name your best non-dollar denominated price.

  35. Holmes, EE, if you run out of preferred commodities to trade, you can always resort to a service economy.

  36. Queen Latifah to play Gwen “Slow Pitch” Ifill tonight on tonights SNL debate skit.

    I wonder who will play Biden? Maybe they could squirt another pound of botox into Regis Philbin’s forehead.

  37. Whoever it is will have to be sufficiently “taught” in order to convincingly exhibit the instantly recognizable shiny and ferret-faced qualities, and while grinning with all their might.

  38. Palin Joke:

    While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher whose
    hand was caught in a gate while working cattle, the doctor struck up a
    conversation with the old man.

    Eventually the topic got around to Sarah Palin and her bid to be a
    heartbeat away from being President.

    The old rancher said, “Well, ya know, Palin is a post turtle.”

    Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a post
    turtle was.

    The old rancher said, “When you’re driving down a country road and you
    come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top………now,
    that’s a post turtle.”

    The old rancher saw a puzzled look on the doctor’s face, so he continued
    to explain. “You know she didn’t get up there by herself, she doesn’t
    belong up there, she doesn’t know what to do while she is up there or
    how to get down, and you just have to wonder what kind of dumb ass put
    her up there to begin with.”

  39. Is Sarah Palin Too Orange For America?
    By Mo Rocca
    Oct 4th 2008 12:30PM

    Filed Under: Joe Biden, Debates, 2008 President, Veepstakes, Sarah Palin

    UPDATE: After reading the analysis below, check out our candidate pumpkin carvings by clicking here!


    Last night’s Vice Presidential debate was fun. A nice break from the unfolding financial cataclysm that will soon transform us to a Mad Max economy. My big takeaways:

    – Joe Biden’s teeth are very white. So are Barack Obama’s. If they’re elected, the White House photographer will have to adjust his/her flash. Otherwise every photo will just be a big blur.

    – Sarah Palin has a gorgeous neck. Everyone thinks I’m off on this. But I really do think the contours and swoop of her neck are lovely. And no sagging underneath the chin. Democrats should stop denying this.

    – It seemed like Biden was really taken with Palin. No, she hasn’t turned out to be the 1930s heroine (Rosalind Russell is His Girl Friday, Katharine Hepburn in Philadelphia Story) that conservatives and pundits of all stripes hoped: the brains-and-beauty double-whammy who knocks heads with, and eventually falls for, her equal. Instead she’s turned out to be much more of a 1950s leading lady: think Sandra Dee in Gidget. More plucky than feisty. Or maybe Judy Holliday: a classic idiot savant — with extra-hidden savvy.

    Here’s the moment I wanted to see: After one of Palin’s irresistably inane moms-and-mavericks monologues sputters to a close, Biden flashes a grin, then walks right up to Palin’s podium. The audience holds its breath. A worried Gwen Ifill rises from her chair. A security guard steps in behind Palin. But Palin turns away from the guard and right toward Biden, tossing her hair, one arm on her hip, doing her best to project confidence. But her trembling lips give her away.

    Biden: You need to be kissed … and often … by someone who knows how!

    Biden grabs Palin and the two engulf each other in a kiss. Palin is ravished, unraveled by Biden, lifted off the ground. Is the room spinning? The audience cheers. Ifill shakes her head and throws up her notes. She knew this would happen, and she’s not about to stand in the way of bipartisan romance. Biden sets Palin back down. Palin points at his mouth, then turns to camera.

    Palin: What’s the difference between any ol’ Democrat and Joe Biden?

    The audience (in unison): Lipstick!!

    – Finally, because race is such a huge part of this campaign, it must be said: Sarah Palin is distinctively — and increasingly — orange. I mean, creamsicle-colored. Setting aside the issue of why she’s so orange (is this in deference to Halloween? if so, is she too seasonal a candidate?), here is my question:
    What do you think of Sarah Palin’s hue?
    __She’s too Orange
    __She’s not Orange enough
    __I don’t like her, but it has nothing to do with her Orangeness
    __She’s actually 44% Arab and only 6% Orange


  40. Dedicated to the men and women of ZK….

    ….always remember, the only difference between here and there is a ” t “…

  41. “…it’s good to know that I can count on you to double down when the weak are running for the exits.” –Holmes, I presume.


    It is always a pleasure and an honor. My maternal grandmother–who was quite a wild babe up until two years before she died at 82 and with whom I spent my summers as a child–passed on her adventurous spirit to me.

    One of my favorite photos is one of her and me holding up a stringer full of big fat small-mouth bass and a few big perch that we had hauled in from the St. Lawrence. (I still hold the family record–a 23 or 25 inch small-mouth.) She was dressed in some kind of surplus army coverall and plaid shirt, accessorized with her sterling silver charm bracelet loaded down with baubles. I’m sure that I must have painted her nails with Revlon’s “Fire and Ice” shade after we got cleaned up.

  42. Taming Wall Street, boosting Main Street and protecting Sesame Street, K Street, Mean Streets and Dead End Streets. Nifty. Have I left out any other streets?

  43. Infamous quote from Ma Anand Sheela–the right hand of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (remembered from an Oregon TV interview in the 80s):

    “What about all the Streetless People?”

  44. Looking Orange has several possible medical explanations:

    Eating too many carrots in too short a timeframe.
    A condition related to hepatitis (liver dysfunction of varying degree).

    A close association with the politics of ex-Soviet satellite countries.

    One or more of the above? Only Kasparov knows for sure.

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