Thursday, October 02, 2008

Vice Presidential Debate Liveblog

8:58 First, the good news. Like Catholic University Law School, Canada is apparently easy to get into.
9:00 May I say that Katie Couric is rocking those pinstripes. She's watching the debates with Bob Schaeffer and some guy who looks like Bill Gates. Ah. Jeff Greenfield.
9:01 Jeff Greenfield wants to know "which Palin" and "Which Biden" will show up. I'll settle for deer-in-the-headlights Palin and ANY Biden, though obviously folksy, smart, Biden is preferable.
9:02 HATED Palin blowing a kiss to the audience and saying "Can I call you Joe?" this will be a long night.
9:03 Cerulean says Biden sounds like he hasn't slept in awhile. I concur.
9:04 Biden has four criteria and he is slowly going through them. He has been prepared.
9:05 After three minutes of listening to Biden, I feel like *I* haven't gotten much sleep recently.
9:08 Like her running mate, Palin also likes the American worker.
9:09 Does anybody remember that “Married with Children” episode where Kelly is going to be on a sports quiz show and they fill her head so full of sports knowledge that she comes off as sort of robotic on the show and forgets a game her own father played in? This is how Palin is coming off
9:10 “Darn right it is” Folksy and kinda cute. Good one, Sarah.
9:11 Joel asks in the comments if Palin's accent is coming off as less strong. He's right. It is.
9:12 Both Biden and Palin are doing well.
9:13 I kinda liked the gas station story. Good one, Senator.
9:14 Want to drink every time Palin says "Darn right."
9:15 None of us are entirely sure what a "budgetary procedural vote" is.
9:16 Fuck, she's doing well. I hate it when my anxieties come true.
9:17 The "class warfare" question was an interesting one but kind of a gimmie for Biden. Lots of people LIKE class warfare. I don't think anybody likes fewer people getting insured.
9:18 Biden has funny-looking eyes. Unless I missed something, Palin seems to have just conflated personal and business taxes.
9:19 Palin appears to be ignoring Biden and reading her notes.
9:20 "Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere" snerk.
9:21 This is funny. Ifill is trying Lehrer's question from last week again. TheCSO points out the Biden is coming CLOSER to answering it than anyone has. And he's bringing up health care.
9:22 Palin is saying the McCain doesn't flip flop.
9:23 Cerulean says that Palin keeps moving the coversation back to Energy because the McCain Health Care plan is "What? Me Worry?"
Also, I have never felt moved to say "Bless their hearts," about energy company CEOs
9:26 John McCain warned us about the upcoming crisis. Didn't do a Goddamned thing, but hey America, he told you so.
9:29 She cannot stop moving the subject back to the energy. FortiesGirl just yelled: "Biden's misquoting McCain! Why won't she talk about what she really said?" and the rest of the room went "Because she doesn't know!" in unison.
9:30 What was the question about? Even I have totally lost track. Fuck. I think that means Palin wins.
9:35 Joe Biden, NEVER SMILE AGAIN. And Sarah, if you must use the word "Rape" casually, don't grin while doing so.
9:36 I am already sick of the "Your guy voted for _________ X number of times" accusation format.
9:37 Palin says no one in the McCain administration would do anything to prevent hospital visitation rights for gay couples. Jana-who-creates is like "Yeah, they would."
I tend to agree.
9:38 AWESOME.
9:39 A smart guy in the comments just asked "Why does she support carbon caps if she's not willing to admit that CO2 emissions cause global warming? Biden should have pushed harder on that. " Good call.
9:41 I'm still on Palin being for civil rights for gays. This is me reeling. They're talking about Iraq.
9:42 I've got three engineers and a chick who went to Brown with me and we're all confused about who voted for what when.
9:43 Stop smiling, Joe Biden. Gah, Palin is doing well. This sucks. I wish I'd decided to drink after all.
9:44 "As my mother would say, 'God love him" I AM SO SICK OF FOLKSY.
9:45 Obviously Pakistan's the bigger threat. Thanks to Sinkford's friendly smile, we're BFFs with Iran now.
9:47 ACK! Palin can't say "Nuclear" either. But she did a respectable job on "Ahmadinijad"
9:50 If we keep talking about Ahmadinijad, I'm going to get all mad at Bill Sinkford.
9:51 I love that John McCain hates Spain. It's Penelope Cruz's acting, isn't it?
9:52 MUST GET DRINK. Back in a sec.
9:53 OK, that helps. OK, Palin is encouraged that we "both love Israel." Everyone else has gone downstairs for gin. I assume. Oh, actually fajitas. I whould have gone for gin.
9:54 Biden wants to know how McCain's foreign policies will differ from George Bush's. In all fairness, he's not giving specifics on how OBAMA's positions will differ.
9:57 Jana just brought me gin. Whew. Why is it so wrong of Biden to mention that we're blowing up stuff? We are.
10:01 Props to Biden for brnging up Darfur. Blogger.com keeps freezing up on me.
10:02 Palin just mentioned that she sure is a Washington outsider. Ayup.
10:04 Oh, and the test ban treaty keeps us from doing some pretty cool nuclear powered-spaceships. Just sayin'
10:05 Ifill wants to know what would happen if the president died. I'm betting both VP candidates will carry on because their running mates' policies are so darn great.
10:07 Palin is smiling too much at the idea of assassination. OK, now she's not.
10:08 Palin is starting to spew random talking points. Finally. But IMHO she's not slipping fast enough.
10:11 See, Gwen? The people LIKE class warfare!
10:12 Sarah Palin winked agian. Sigh.
10:13 We kinda hated hearing about how kids are getting extra credit, but it was effective.
10:14 Gwen Ifill is not impressing me. In the NYT, Gene Healy's much better version of the question she just asked was The claim by Dick Cheney that he was exempt from certain disclosure requirements because the vice president was a “legislative officer” has been greeted with outrage. But the main power the Constitution grants the vice president is a legislative one — breaking a tie vote in the Senate.

So, Governor Palin, Senator Biden, doesn’t Mr. Cheney have a point?

But, then, if the vice president is a legislative officer, how can he wield the vast executive powers that Mr. Cheney has exercised, including orchestrating and supervising a warrantless wiretapping program?

Can the vice president shift between branches at his convenience? If not, what, in your view, is the constitutional status of the vice presidency?


10:15 OK, she's asking it now, by bad for dissing Gwen. Ok, she's sort of asking it.
10:16 Palin is now answering a really roundabout fashion.
10:17 OK, Biden is getting cranky. Go Biden! Get cranky in Cheney's general direction!
10:18 Yes, Joel, she's trying to channel Reagan. Oh, and yeah, Gwen Ifill asks easy questions.
10:19 "Shining city on a hill, as President Reagan said." Jana, bring me more gin.
10:21 I swear to God, Palin just said of McCain "He's the man we need to leave...err...lead."
10:23 Joe Biden is talking and the rest of the room is talking about Lieberman.
10:24 Gwen Ifill is treating this like a job interview. Which, it is, I suppose. But Katie Couric actually asked harder questions.
10:25 Palin has no regrets, Bush style. Also, she's never had to compromise, because she's so good at compromising. I don't get it either.
10:27 Palin looks really uncomfortable and like she wants to go home.
10:28 "Don't question people's motives, question their judgement" is good advice for living. But damn. I'm not inspired.
10:29 Palin likes to answer "tough questions." Sigh.
10:30 Palin's closing speech was good. I'm glad Biden's going last.
10:32 Biden's closing speech was also good. Whew.

UPDATE: CBS's uncommitted voters came down as a win for Biden. CNN calls it "jabs but no knockouts." I guess they weren't expecting Palin to suck as much as I was expecting her to. And it's true that she didn't do a great job of answering the questions that were asked but she faked her way through well enough.

47 comments:

Joel Monka said...

Does it sound like her accent has been muted a little?

Melani said...

9:08 Did Palin just wink?!

Joel Monka said...

yeah, she did wink.

Joel Monka said...

9:13 Sarah says she's going to answer the way she wants. Blunt, at least

Lizard Eater said...

OMG ... she is hitting all the drinking game words -- maverick, Joe six-pack ... She decided her plan was to get everyone drunk in the first 15 minutes! How devious but very clever ...

Joel Monka said...

9:19 cute answer about healthcare "If you like the way government has been handling things lately..."

Cubit said...

9:19 because if she goes off script that's when she gets in trouble.

Joel Monka said...

30 minutes without either of them gaffing- I've already lost a bet

Cubit said...

"That's a good question Gwen, which reminds me of a different question I'd like to answer."

Scott Matheson said...

Why does she support carbon caps if she's not willing to admit that CO2 emissions cause global warming? Biden should have pushed harder on that.

scott matheson said...

So, we know when we can leave Iraq when our military commanders tell us so.

Joel Monka said...

9:43 the "white flag" bit was terrible. But pointing the differences between Biden and Obama was a little better.

Anonymous said...

i think Biden's funny eyes are the result of the surgery he had when he almost died of an aneurism. But it looks like bad plastic surgery.

Joel Monka said...

9:54 interesting that Palin used the word "blunders" about the Bush administration- I've never heard McCain say that. Was she authorized?

scott matheson said...

She's said "blunders" repeatedly ... probably it's deliberate. They are making a point of having her stake out independent stances, which takes the edge off her conservatism and helps her claim the "change" mantle.

Joel Monka said...

10:11 "There you go again"- is she trying to channel the shade of Reagan?

Joel Monka said...

Gin won't help, CC- I'm on my 5th finger of Irish Mist and it hasn't gotten better yet. *sigh* Tim Russert, we hardly knew ye.

Melani said...

Too bad you're not "taking a shot" every time Palin says "taking a shot" or "maverick." You'd be peacefully passed out by now, to be sure.

Cubit said...

10:18! I heard it to, and I agree!

Cubit said...

Sorry, meant 10:21

Joel Monka said...

You've got the legal mind, CC- can Jim Garner sue for damage to the name "Maverick"?

Cubit said...

10:24, yep she's asked the "What's your greatest weakness?" question and "Name a time when you faced a great challenge and had to change how you did something?" It's job interviewing 101.

Joel Monka said...

Well, her closing statement has been made, and it was better than expected. Neither one has gaffed, neither one has scored, nobody's mind will have been changed. Which means Rush and Sean will make it a major Palin victory, and life goes on.

scott matheson said...

To quote the River Road Choir, "Oy yoy yoy yoy, oy yoy yoy yoy yoy yoy, oy yoy yoy yoy yoy yoy yoy!"

David said...

Anyone agree with me she had no idea what an "Achilles Heel" was? I mean, I did not have a classical education either, but I have at least come across that phrase in context a time or two.

PG said...

I was surprised by how well Palin did. I was even more surprised to see the immediate Fox commentary afterward was actually fair: they noted that she didn't answer the questions about bankruptcy and Iraq exit strategy but instead switched to topics with which she was familiar (energy and the wisdom of the surge); and that she was "just not true" in saying that the current troop level in Iraq was below pre-surge levels (pre-surge was 137,000; current is 140,000).

However, I thought her closing speech was horribly depressing and not good. Do we have Communist invaders lined up on our northern and southern borders and I just missed it? How is our freedom being threatened? It's not our freedom that's being threatened but our way of life -- as Israelis' is, as Indians' may have to be (although being so numerous and not having suffered a Holocaust, Indian people seem less freaked out by casualties in terrorist attacks). Osama bin Laden cannot take away our freedom, but the need to keep ourselves safe from him and his followers may lead to our restricting it.

In fact, come to think of it, she bookended her part of the debate with fear. She started with Americans' fearfulness about the economy -- not anxiety, not worry or concern, but fear. She ended with the possibility that if we don't "fight" (fight what?), freedom will become a fairy tale we tell our children. Until now, I hadn't believed the DKos schtick that while Obama appeals to our hope, McCain appeals to our fear, but Palin sure sounded like she agreed with that.

Quick fact check from what the Republican husband picked up: Biden was wrong to say that McCain had voted for the same budget resolutions that he's now saying mean Obama will raise taxes for people making $42k -- McCain has been in the Senate so infrequently this year that he wasn't present for either of them. (Since people apparently don't care whether a presidential candidate is doing his day job, I guess not being in the Senate to be on record for stuff is a good strategy.)

Husband and I also got into a bit of a fight over Biden's statement that Bush had sent a high-level diplomat to meet with our allies and with Iranian high-level diplomats. Husband says the diplomat was merely an observer and did nothing at the meeting a videocamera couldn't. I pointed out having a U.S. representative at the meeting at all was a significant shift as it's the first time Bush has engaged with Iran at all without requiring a concession from them first. Evidently getting the other diplomats' notes had worked fine for the previous meetings, but the Bush Admin has decided it now should at least have a guy in the room.

PG said...

I'm sure she figured out from the context that Achilles Heel meant weakness. When she feels comfortable, she's reasonably sharp; she's just rather ignorant. Honestly, if she'd known a year ago that she was in contention to be VP, she'd probably sound reasonable by now.

PG said...

One last thing that I'd wanted to check the transcript before I attributed to Palin and not me mishearing her.

Palin speaking to Biden: "I have great respect for your family also and the honor that you show our military. Barack Obama though, another story there." Can we finally admit that the Republicans are questioning Obama's patriotism?

PeaceBang said...

Yea, you heard right at 10:21. That was wonderful.
Thanks for the liveblog. Very fun.

ogre said...

Biggest Biden gaffe?

Claiming Article I talks about the executive branch.

He was absolutely correct in his facts about the vice presidency--but it's in Article II. Article I is all about Congress; it's the senior branch of government, it comes first among equals....

As gaffes go, that's tiny. But it's one that I thought a law student might appreciate--even though it's clearly just a momentary bobble on his part.

Loved his ripping into Cheney--and how Palin had already said that she wanted to be a VP on Cheney's model, complete with all the powers of the Fourth Branch... so that he was able, by implication, to rip into her for wanting to wield unconstitutional powers.

Of course, I also appreciated hearing him dance all over "maverick." That's a word I don't want to EVER hear ANYONE tell me that they ARE. My older son's comment on that was that whenever some gamer blathers about how GOOD they are, it's usually bullshit. It's like when someone keeps telling you how honest they are....

Mavericks? Over and over and over? It's gotten to the point where they're reminding me that they've already taken out third mortgages on their souls... at special interests rates.

I'm bitter, I couldn't drink to soothe the pain of listening; I'd promised to take the boys out for burgers if they didn't bother me while I listened to the debate. Tactical error--next time, bring burgers home earlier and seclude myself with a bottle...

Bill Baar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill Baar said...

Talk about accents...ever pay attention to Obama's switch back and forth between U of C Prof and South Side Guy?

Palin offered Biden an invitation for more debates at the end.

I expect Biden to ignore it.

That will speak volumes on who Biden at least thought won the debate.

PG said...

Palin offered Biden an invitation for more debates at the end.

I'd tell him to take it if he can condition it on her actually responding to the topic put forward by the moderator. She would be looking less successful if she'd had to put up an answer about the wisdom of restricting bankruptcies and allowing credit card companies to avoid the consequences of offering easy credit to bad risks.

If I were allowed to bloviate on whatever topics felt most comfortable to me, instead of answering questions, I'd sound competent too. Her whole "I don't have to answer the questions you're putting to me" thing really bothered me. If she believes that Ifill or the debate format in general was unfair and biased, the honest thing to do is to refuse to debate. But if she agrees to play the game, play the game -- don't play "I have no obligation to treat this moderator with respect."

IFILL: Governor, please if you want to respond to what he said about Sen. McCain's comments about health care?
PALIN: I would like to respond about the tax increases.
...
BIDEN: 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.
...
IFILL: Sen. Biden, you voted for this bankruptcy bill. Sen. Obama voted against it. Some people have said that mortgage- holders really paid the price.
BIDEN: ... There are ways to help people now. And there -- ways that we're offering are not being supported by -- by the Bush administration nor do I believe by John McCain and Gov. Palin.

IFILL: Gov. Palin, is that so?

PALIN: That is not so, but because that's just a quick answer, I want to talk about, again, my record on energy versus your ticket's energy ticket, also.
...

IFILL: Let me clear something up, Sen. McCain has said he supports caps on carbon emissions. Sen. Obama has said he supports clean coal technology, which I don't believe you've always supported.

BIDEN: I have always supported it. That's a fact.

IFILL: Well, clear it up for us, both of you, and start with Gov. Palin.

PALIN: Yes, Sen. McCain does support this. The chant is "drill, baby, drill." And that's what we hear all across this country in our rallies because people are so hungry for those domestic sources of energy to be tapped into. ...

IFILL: We do need to keep within our two minutes. But I just wanted to ask you, do you support capping carbon emissions?

PALIN: I do. I do.


That last one seems to have been one of the few occasions where Ifill repeated the question and got Palin to give at least an up or down vote on it, albeit not one that required Palin to discuss it at all.

And then Palin had the gall to conclude with "I like being able to answer these tough questions."

I wish I felt as confident as she that she is able to answer these tough questions.

Bill Baar said...

Well PG, she offered to debate more.

Biden almost certainly will decline or ignore.

That's says something...

Comrade Kevin said...

Biden won on points and the expectations for Palin's performance were set so low that it would be hard not to meet them.

She memorizes well. She cannot, however, think analytically or critically in the least.

fausto said...

Like Catholic University Law School, I got into Canada easily.

How easily did Catholic U Law School get into Canada?

hsofia said...

The only thing Palin succeeded in doing was not looking as clueless as she did during the Couric interview(s). I dislike her as much as ever.

I'm also sick and friggin tired of "folksy" being a viable substitute for knowledge and wisdom. And then we've got this woman talking about how she wants to have more power as VP than normal. Frightening, frightening.

I had never heard Biden speak before and was extremely impressed by him. I thought he was great. Good choice, Obama. But now I'm mad about the bailout. Grr.

PG said...

bill,

If Palin continues to debate the way she did last night (i.e., not actually debate but instead recite her energy record and wink at the audience), then agreeing to more debates with her simply gives her prime time on every network to spout her talking points instead of having a genuine debate. Why should he agree to that?

He has one month left to lock in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Hampshire
Michigan, Florida, Colorado and Pennsylvania for Obama. He could be out campaigning, or he could be dignifying Palin as a "debater" instead of as a candidate who ignored the questions and said Obama did not honor the military. Now that Palin has shown that she won't genuinely debate, and Ifill has shown that she will be cowed by bias accusations from pushing Palin to answer those questions, Biden has gotten as much advantage as he can from the debate: he's shown that he can avoid major gaffes and that he can attack McCain while being polite to Palin. He also showed a personal side that can't really get repeated without looking staged. Last night's debate won't do much to change either side's numbers. Further debates are free advertising for Palin at a time when Biden is needed on the campaign trail.

(Unless someone got to taser both candidates every time they failed to answer the question asked. That would be amusing. Palin's former brother-in-law could show them how to do this safely, and she'd finally have to explain the exit strategy for Iraq and her ideas on bankruptcy legislation. Thoughts on how her "starve the beast" philosophy of government and McCain's readiness to cut everything except military/ veterans' spending will affect the SEC's ability to do its oversight job also would be welcome.)

Bill Baar said...

Further debates are free advertising for Palin at a time when Biden is needed on the campaign trail.

Yeah... right...Biden draws a real crowd.

You nailed it in your first paragraph. She's an effective debater.

Biden will decline and that's Biden's acknowlegement that she's effective and would gain points on him.

Political points among voters... not this High School debate club scoring stuff.

Chalicechick said...

Well, Bill, then all Palin has to do is negotiate with Biden and, say, refuse to agree to a debate using a moderater who asks difficult questions with real followups. (Or make some other equally unreasonable demand.)

Biden's not going to agree her terms, so the negotiations won't go forward.

And lots of people like you will nod your heads and say "Looks like Biden didn't want to re-debate after all" and think you know what happened when really it's a political ploy.

Don't you know that "Oh, I'd love to debate again, too bad my opponent won't" is the oldest trick in the book?

I'm amazed that someone who knows as much about this stuff as you claim to would actually fall for it.

I can see it and understand what Palin is doing and say she is playing the game well, but I don't believe for second she's serious.

It doesn't mean a damn thing other than she's a decent politician, which we knew.

CC
who's not sure what the point of another VP debate would be, but would watch it if they were asked real questions.

Bill Baar said...

Don't you know that "Oh, I'd love to debate again, too bad my opponent won't" is the oldest trick in the book?

Speaking as an AARP member, there is nothing wrong with old.

We'd be much better served with a ban on TV commercials and a couple of debates each week until the election.

We'd have been better off if Obama had accepted McCain's proposal to do this all summer.

We'd be better off with more Saddle Back type events. I thought that was very informative about these two guys.

Somebody will be opposed depending on who thinks they're winning, but the country would be better off if these candidates engaged each other more, and inflicted fewer ads, appearances on late-night talk shows, and so on...

I think Palin really does want to debate again, and I think Biden really doesn't want too.

There are tactical reason for both to think that way, but who here thought yesterday Palin would be in a postion today to challange Biden (and Biden better off running off)?

She should challange Obama to a debate.

I wish McCain had stayed in DC and sent her instead. Palin would have cleaned Obama's clock just like Bobby Rush did.

Chalicechick said...

(((I think Palin really does want to debate again, and I think Biden really doesn't want too.)))

Which is exactly what Palin wanted you to think, which is why she said what she did.

I would say Obama's a better debater than Biden, and I don't see anyone saying she beat even Biden. She did a great job coming off as folksy, but as PG's post shows, not really answering the questions.

And I think skating buy on charm without actually answering questions would be harder and harder for her to get away with in subsequent debates.

Also, I don't see the point in her debating. If she's going to talk about whatever she feels like rather than answering the questions, she might as well just give a speech.

CC

Chalicechick said...

((How easily did Catholic U Law School get into Canada?))

Easily. It has a lot of advanced degrees.

Ba-dum-ching.

OK, ok, I fixed the sentence. You people and your gotcha questions...

CC

PG said...

bill, do you have any experience in competitive debate? Refusing to answer questions and not addressing the topic of discussion is not considered to be effective debating. I have coached high school students in constitutional law debate, and they lose points if they veer off into subjects that have nothing to do with the stated issue. Having a debate on the constitutionality of an animal sacrifice ban, and talking about the constitutionality of a federal handgun ban, is a sure way to lose that scholarship money.

Palin is a poor debater, but an effective politician. The McCain campaign negotiated a format (and they have acknowledged this) that they believed would play to her strengths: 90 second answers to the question, two minutes of "discussion." Contrast with the formats for the presidential debates, which the Obama campaign was OK with using for the VP as well but McCain objected to that, because it gave too much opportunity for candidates to directly challenge each other and for the moderator to do follow-up questions.

If Biden had been allowed to keep interrupting Palin's monologues on drilling with "Yes, Governor Palin, but about bankruptcy..., even Bill couldn't tell himself that she had come off well. He'd have to use the alternative narrative that is employed to excuse Palin's performance in the Couric interview: such questions are biased, disrespectful "gotchas." If Joe Six-Pack didn't know that our bankruptcy law underwent a significant change a few years ago, why should Palin have a clue about whether it was a good idea or not?

Incidentally, I think I have finally settled on my opinion of Palin's type of intelligence. She's shrewd -- someone who figures risks quickly and fairly accurately and has the self-confidence to take them. She's not particularly clever. A clever person who knew nothing about the bankruptcy legislation would have responded, "John McCain and I understand the need to balance the values of personal responsibility that Americans hold, with help to those who are truly needy through no fault of their own. This is a fundamental conservative principle that Barack Obama does not believe in, because he thinks government can solve all our problems by waving a magic wand. When someone goes into bankruptcy and doesn't have to pay back their debts, that hurts other regular folks. My friend Joe gave credit at his store to lots of folks, and most of them paid it back, and when someone was in really hard times, Joe let that go. But Joe can't stay in business if everyone can take his goods and then say, 'Whoops, couldn't afford that, but I'm gonna keep it and not pay for it.'"

There are plenty of ways to talk about stuff when you have no idea about the specific facts being referenced, and people who are clever and glib manage that. They're bullshitters. Palin is only occasionally a bullshitter, because bullshitting is a risk-averse strategy. You don't lose the points of saying "Uh, I have no idea," but you can't win a lot of points because you're still technically on the enemy's turf; you can't really shine because you don't know what you're saying. Palin is bolder -- she'll ignore what she doesn't know and go to what she does so she can sound good, and she'll take the risk on whether people notice and hold it against her.)

kim said...

Are you thinking of moving to Canada? I took that "test" and just barely passed. Good; we are seriously thinking of moving to Canada.
It's hard to judge a debate when you are already on one side. I find that one not only doesn't hear the mistakes from one's own side, one doesn't hear the positive zingers as well either. If you are already convinced, it's hard to hear what would be convincing for someone undecided. We saw that more for the Obama-McCain debate -- in what surprised us in other people's reactions.
I kinda resent that the election will most likely be decided by the very people who are least informed on the issues: the "undecided".

PG said...

A great article on Rep. Tom Davis in the NYTimes, where he takes the Biden line on the Iraq resolution.

Biden: With regard to Iraq, I indicated it would be a mistake to -- I gave the president the power. I voted for the power because he said he needed it not to go to war but to keep the United States, the UN in line, to keep sanctions on Iraq and not let them be lifted.

Palin: Oh, yeah, it's so obvious I'm a Washington outsider. And someone just not used to the way you guys operate. Because here you voted for the war and now you oppose the war. You're one who says, as so many politicians do, I was for it before I was against it or vice- versa. Americans are craving that straight talk and just want to know, hey, if you voted for it, tell us why you voted for it and it was a war resolution.

Davis: "Our vote to go to war was a vote to give permission. It wasn't a vote to go to war. It wasn't a declaration of war. The president was trying to get inspectors in there and he said, 'Look, we're going to do this the hard way or the easy way.' And if you don't stand behind the president in those circumstances, you kind of pull the rug out from under him. You know what I'm saying? Now, if you knew it was going to come out this way, that's a different answer."

I remember when Tom Friedman was writing the "you have to give your keys to your wild but not crayz uncle" column about the reason to vote for the Iraq resolution even if you didn't want war in Iraq.

PG said...

Incidentally, Palin seems less enthused about challenging Biden to future debates than bill baar believes:

Since she seemed to have enjoyed the debate, I asked her whether she'd like to take this opportunity to challenge Joe Biden to another one.
There was a pause, and I thought I heard some staff murmuring in the background (we were on speaker phones). She passed on the notion of a challenge.