Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Take on the Debate

Sarah Palin came in with low expectations. People were waiting for her to make Couric kinds of misstatements. She made some inconsequential errors, like forgetting the name of the general in Afghanistan, but there was nothing Couric-sized in the deficits in her performance. I am sure she is happy it's over, and after watching her for an hour-and-a-half, so am I. If that is the standard to which she is held, people will applaud her successes tonight.

But frankly, she was awful. She had a certain strength in the first part of the debate, like a student who has mastered the spelling of words for a class quiz, but clearly, when she didn't know the answer to the question, she simply changed the subject, and she frequently changed the subject. I am sure that when her handlers recognized the magnitude of their problem, that is precisely what they taught her to do, and I thought she did it rather effectively, but it will be interesting to count the number of times she didn't answer a question. My guess is that she didn't know the answers to at least half of the questions.

As time went on during this excessively long hour-and-a-half, she was running out of steam. It was sort of like she exhausted everything she had to say, and instead of saying substantive things, she started to parrot over and over again the same tired cliches about John McCain being a maverick and reformer.

I am not going to bother to compare her performance with Joe Biden's. To do so would be to dignify her performance as somehow on a par with his. They occupy different universes.


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