Archive for Saturday, October 4, 2008

Palin didn’t crash or soar in debate

October 4, 2008

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— So this is what they mean by the soft bigotry of low expectations. The long drumbeat that led to the vice presidential debate suggested it would be a matchup between an airhead and a gaffe machine.

If you added up the two cents from every adviser, you could pay off the national debt. For a week we'd seen the air of confidence come out of the balloon of Sarah Palin. She flunked the interview with Katie Couric, a woman who had once been trashed as not having the gravitas to anchor the evening news. What Palin "needed to do," in the language of the cablemeisters, was to complete a sentence and come up with a fact. Or even a factoid.

On the other hand, Joe Biden had been given some advice that sounded like an inversion of the 1950s. Back then it was the smart woman who was told to play dumb. Now it was the smart man who was warned to keep his IQ under control. And to avoid being patronizing like the plague.

Well, blessedly this turned out not to be Bobby Riggs versus Billie Jean King. Biden and Palin were more surrogates for their candidates than their gender. The idea that Biden would pat her pretty little head in public was laid to rest. The idea that Palin would ratchet up a female sympathy vote died with it.

Sarah was Positively Sarah, as they used to say when she ran for mayor of Wasilla. Folksy, breezy, full of anecdotes, sidestepping the questions and staying on the message. If this is what cramming looks like, she'd pulled the all-nighters and learned what Hamas was and to keep her sentences (mostly) in order.

If every question didn't lead to an answer, it led to an anecdote. Never mind the "shout-out to all those third-graders" back home. Never mind the bizarre comment that nuclear weapons would be the "be-all, end-all of just too many people in too many parts of our planet." She was quick to link herself to a team of mavericks. "Oh yeah, it's so obvious I'm a Washington outsider."

Joe was positively Joe. A few statistics too many, a rush of words and ideas against the 90-second deadline, but he kept his tongue pointing in the right direction. He even kept it under control. McCain's not a maverick on "virtually anything that genuinely affects the things people really talk about around their kitchen table. ... Maverick he is not." And when Sarah suggested that being a "mom" was one of the qualifications she brought to the office, this one-time single father fought back against the implication that because he's a man he wouldn't understand how to raise children.

In the end, Biden was able to run against McCain, while Palin had to run against her own image. In the psychodrama that is this election, the big question was whether she could wipe out the data that had been put in the voters' hard drive over the last week. In fact, the governor of Alaska has looked woefully unready for the job. She was like the perky, self-confident valedictorian of her small high school who got into MIT before she realized that her school had never taught physics.

Mom, mayor, governor, she'd be given a social promotion all the way to the vice presidential nomination. Politically brunette? It was if she were playing Elle Woods, but wasn't going to make law review.

As for those women, especially the Hillary voters that McCain was wooing when he picked Sarah Barracuda? Sen. Clinton had broken through stereotypes, especially the tenacious idea that a woman wasn't up to the job of commander in chief. Increasingly, women who cheered Palin's initial appearance have drifted away. How many of these independents cringing at Palin's performance were dismayed to see her single-handedly revive the old prejudices. Still, not even the most committed Obama fan looked forward to watching the first woman on the Republican national ticket fall on her face.

So, Palinphobes and Palinphiles alike can breathe a sigh of relief. This wasn't the battle of the sexes and it wasn't a full-scale gender disaster. It's just that Tina Fey still looks more qualified.

- Ellen Goodman is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

jaywalker 6 years, 9 months ago

"Obamas governance of the Harvard Law Journal is worth much more than the governership of Alaska"That's not just silly, that's dumb. You should probably stick to public speaking there, Mimi, 'cuz your writing needs some serious work.":..then it follows that Obama lacks the qualifications to be president since Palin has far more executive experience."Scott: "No, it most certainly does not. Obama is an accomplished scholar (top of his class at Harvard,) constitutional law professor (which will be most welcome by a nation abused by the current occupant of the office and his VP) and a top rate politician (he found a way to take the nomination away from the heavily presumed candidate.)"Long time no sling, Scott. I'm not gonna say that BO's resume isn't impressive, but you're kidding yourself if you think being a good student and lecturing on law makes someone more qualified than a person with actual executive experience. And no offense to Hillary supporters, but her defeat was a reflection on her and her 'unlikeability', not a rousing endorsement for BO's political skills. I called that one early on, though I suspect some Bill blunders and the 'sniper fire' whopper didn't help much either. In fact, since I know you've been following all this closely, did you seem to notice how her campaign really began its fizzle after the sniper thing? Not sure that wasn't the final torpedo in a sinking ship.

staff04 6 years, 9 months ago

She said "also" 57 times in the debate. Not sure that it means anything, but she said it more than any other word.

Arana 6 years, 9 months ago

Even good looking women do not agree with Palin. If I hear the word maverick coming out of her mouth one more time, I swear.

bad_dog 6 years, 9 months ago

"It's not every day that you see a former beauty queen win a debate over someone who is supposed to be as knowledgeable as Biden."-Truthtellera) Your former "beauty queen" was Miss Congeniality and runner up the first time-she'll likely experience the same joyful outcome in this contest, except she blew the congeniality award with her speech at the RNC.b) The only debate she may have won was with the voices in your head.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 9 months ago

"Palin didn't crash or soar in debate"Is THAT really the headline for a future ( potential? ) leader of this nation?What IS the standard? Rope jumping?

camper 6 years, 9 months ago

Pallin only has a bachelors degree in communications-journalism. In this day and age you would be hard pressed to even find a managerial position without a masters degree or other proffesional certificate. I'm sorry, but Pallin by is not qualified to be (arguably) one heartbeat away from being the most powerful person on the planet. This also displays a serious lack of judgement and decision-making ability from McCain. Period.

Corey Williams 6 years, 9 months ago

" I think there's quite a bit of envy concerning a woman who is both intelligent and attractive. It's not every day that you see a former beauty queen win a debate..."Palin has a jaw like a prizefighter. And how hard would it be for a woman to win a beauty pageant in Alaska? Does she look better than a bear? She's in!There are less people in the whole state of alaska than the population of the greater KC area. Does that mean you get more credit for being the mayor of KC than the governor of Alaska?

LiberalDude 6 years, 9 months ago

You've got to check this out if you haven't seen it already. It's the Sarah Palin debate flowchart!http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/03/sarah-palin-debate-flowch_n_131607.html

jaywalker 6 years, 9 months ago

"No, Jaywalker, you are kidding yourself with a false measurement. The American people are speaking pretty clearly & they are saying that Palin is horribly unqualified. No matter what her vaunted executive experience may be, the public is taking the measure of the two teams & her team is coming up short - by a wide (and widening) margin."How do you figure I'm kidding myself with a 'false measurement'? Obama = NO executive experience vs. Palin = mayor and governor. Where's the falsehood? You're right about her wane in campaign impact and BO's widening lead, but that doesn't change what the point of the argument was. She has such experience, ANY law professor or good student does not. And it's perpetually laughable for pro-BO backers to refer to Palin as 'horribly unqualified' when their candidate has NO such experience whatsoever. It's the epitome of hypocrisy. For the last two to three years BO has been doing nothing but work on his 'Presidential resume'; taking trips overseas, cramming for all the issues, memorizing talking points and immersing himself in the endless minutia that goes with the job. So he's been little more than a 'student' for this time, mostly ignoring the job he was elected for in order to beef up for the final exam. He's done a great job. But I reckon Palin could have been doing the same if she had a two year head start. Sorry, man, this is a good woman, a credit to America as a whole and what we stand for. It's a shame so many would rather act like pit bulls and attack her like she's a side of beef. Is she ready for the presidency right now? 'Course not, but luckily she's not the nominee. The more she's around, the more capable she'll become, and like it or not she has more hands on experience than Obama. Incredibly sad, but true.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 9 months ago

tt: "In fact, a study showed that Biden spoke at the 7.8 grade level, while Palin spoke at the 9.5 grade level."Odd... most 9th graders can pronounce "nuclear."

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

It sure is good that Palin has so many "intellectual" supporters like yourself, truthiness.

slang4d 6 years, 9 months ago

Looks like there were some typos in the first comment, it should have read: Ellen "Smarthead" Goodman is yet another intelligent woman who hates Palin.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 9 months ago

".....then it follows that Obama lacks the qualifications to be president since Palin has far more executive experience."No, it most certainly does not. Obama is an accomplished scholar (top of his class at Harvard,) constitutional law professor (which will be most welcome by a nation abused by the current occupant of the office and his VP) and a top rate politician (he found a way to take the nomination away from the heavily presumed candidate.) In the only "Presidential" decision either he or McCain gets to make before the election, he made a far superior decision when he selected Joe Biden.A significant majority of Americans currently favor him to be President. Finally, with each passing day and each time Palin opens her mouth, Americans have a greater and greater opportunity to judge the value of Ms. Palin's qualifications and experience. The judgements have not been kind.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 9 months ago

"Horseface""Smarthead" ... both the same to Truthteller... he still derives his wisdom from that oracle, Mr. Ed-though not from the horse's mouth.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 9 months ago

"I note that you could not name any "accomplishment" of Obama's that is relevant to being qualified for the presidency. Woodrow Wilson was a scholar, but he was arguably our worst president. Obviously, with her executive experience as a mayor and governor, Palin has much more relevant experience that Obama does."Truthteller, please go back and observe that my comments were in response to another comment on the respective qualifications of Obama and Palin. I did not attempt to name any accomplishments. Counting Woodrow Wilson as our worst President automatically tarnishes your opinion. george w. bush is hands down, without argument, indisputably, the worst President our nation has yet endured. Palin is certainly a contender for the title, but I am afraid will never get the chance to prove how truly unworthy she is. Although, as we begin to look ahead to the next election cycle, I guess she might be considered the Republican standard bearer. McCain will likely be in a nursing home, or dead of cancer, and she will be the last one to have run.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 9 months ago

"you're kidding yourself if you think being a good student and lecturing on law makes someone more qualified than a person with actual executive experience."No, Jaywalker, you are kidding yourself with a false measurement. The American people are speaking pretty clearly & they are saying that Palin is horribly unqualified. No matter what her vaunted executive experience may be, the public is taking the measure of the two teams & her team is coming up short - by a wide (and widening) margin.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 9 months ago

It's the valley girl in her..."That John McCain is like all-so mavericky... and like all-so good at winning wars... and like all-so..."so-so.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 9 months ago

Jaywalker:Palin has the equivalent of management experience down at the local Taco Bell. Obama a degree from the best business school in the country. Yes, she's hired and fired a few people, managed a budget (in a state awash in oil revenue - hardly a difficult task,) opened a few new offices maybe. Guess what, so has Obama in running his, to date, more successful national campaign. He's also got the skills, training, and intellectual capacity for the job. She, it is now clear for all to see, does not. As you admit. So where does that leave us on trusting John "Riverboat Gambler" McCain. He's selected someone for the #2 job that is not qualified to take his place should he die in office (something that is more likely than not to happen given his advanced age, cancer patient survival expectation and whatever else is keeping him from releasing his medical records to the public (he released the several thousand documents for a three hour viewing once & for unknown reasons the pages were unnumbered making coherent understanding of the group of documents impossible.) Why would he commit such a stupid blunder?

storm 6 years, 9 months ago

There's alot of idiots with master degrees so although Ms Palin 'only" has a bachelors in communication, this is of no consequence to me. Every politcal figure makes speaking gaffes in public, they're human. And I trust Mr. McCain's decision for choosing her - older people are usually better judges of character. What matters is that she is only one heartbeat to run this country. And she is clearly unprepared compared to Mr. Biden as demonstrated in this debate.

dandelion 6 years, 9 months ago

Truthteller, or Kevin, why don't you go tend to your harem of good looking women.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

jay: "Is she ready for the presidency right now? 'Course not ..." McCain made a bad decision because she isn't ready to step in if called upon. End of discussion.

Scott Drummond 6 years, 9 months ago

"McCain made a bad decision because she isn't ready to step in if called upon. End of discussion."With all due respect, beatrice, this was not just a "bad" mistake. That suggests a minor transgression, an ooopsy-daisy, if you will. No, this was a far more serious matter. Fatal to his chances in my opinion. It is an error from which he essentially cannot recover. A tremendous strategic blunder. The kind of fundamental error our elected leaders are expected to avoid. The Palin decision, coupled with his bizarre and ineffective "return to DC" ploy, must cast serious and deeply lasting doubts in the minds of thoughtful voters. We do not elect, as leader of the free world, an individual prone or given to taking such erratic and bizarre chances with our national stability. So, this is not just a "bad" decision. This, together with the DC stunt, are two compelling reasons why all true patriots must not lend support to John McCain. He is unfit for the office.

Mixolydian 6 years, 9 months ago

Strange arguments going on here. To synthesize all of them:1.Palin one heartbeat away. Palin not prepared.2. Obama not prepared. Biden one heartbeat away.So that means:If McCain wins, the country should pray he doesn't kick off.If Obama wins, the country should pray that he does.

Godot 6 years, 9 months ago

There is only one person in this battle between Democrats and Republicans who is fit to serve as president, and that is Sarah Palin. The other three voted YAY to approve the endless well of bailouts for Wallstreet villains and covered for their Congressional whoremates.

Mixolydian 6 years, 9 months ago

scott3460 (Anonymous) says: all true patriots must not lend support to John McCain. ==========================================When did Karl Rove go work for the democrats? What a bunch of hysterical crap.If educational degrees were the criteria, then you must agree that GWB is imminently qualified to be the president. Yale and Harvard. Good lord, what weak arguments.When Obama was elected to the Senate he stated, unequivocally, that he does not have the experience necessary to be president. I agree.Palin has as much experience as Obama to be President. But, once again, I'll be charitable and agree that Obama is qualified to be a VP. <<<<See, I'm simply using punctuation rather than spelling it out (Exclamation point)

Aileen Dingus 6 years, 9 months ago

Truthteller (Anonymous) says:Ellen "Horseface" Goodman is yet another unattractive woman who hates Palin. Seems to an awful lot of them.**What the bloody hell is that supposed to mean? Truthteller- in my lifetime I have been called a knockout, a goddess, gorgeous, fat, beautiful, luscious, lumpy, unattractive, luminous, delicious and was recently told (by a loved one) that I looked like I "just got shot out of a cannon." I don't hate Sarah Palin, I just don't think she's qualified for the job she seeks. I actually think she's quite brave and I applaud her efforts even if I don't agree with her message. My thought on her qualifications has nothing to do with my physical attractiveness (or the occasional lack thereof) but rather with my intelligence.I suggest you pull your head out of whatever stone age place in which you have lodged it and start associating with people of this era.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

Intelligence and a real vision on how to lead our country forward will trump so-called "maverick" politics that go 90% along with Bush's policies and his gosh-shucks "one of us" lack of knowledge side-kick. All the rest is just side-story nonsense.Time to get used to the fact that Obama will likely be our next President! I hope you wish him well.

Bob Hechlor 6 years, 9 months ago

Okay, have to admit, I didn't get tangential right, went back to reread at my 8th grade level.

David Omar 6 years, 9 months ago

First of all Ms. Palin didn't come close to winning the debate I watched and secondly, Obamas governance of the Harvard Law Journal is worth much more than the governership of Alaska. He at least was on the national level and uses language better than Palin, dontchathink? wink wink.I have taught school for years and reading and public speaking are my areas and I can assure you that her language was much inferior to Mr. Biden's. If she spoke on a 9.5 level then Biden was past graduate school.When McCain chose her as his running mate, he lost my vote as he really disrespects the American People. How could anyone take a chance on this woman to maybe, 1 chance in 6, that she will end up being president. She is no more prepared to be president than most hockey moms. Tina Fey IS more qualified.

Bob Hechlor 6 years, 9 months ago

Truth and tangential can no doubt relate to Palin. They are similarly fact challenged and value bluff and bluster like she and McCain do. It's all show. Just what we need, another Bush/Cheney admin.

Corey Williams 6 years, 9 months ago

No, the standard is intelligence. Something sorely lacking for the past two administrations.

Bob Hechlor 6 years, 9 months ago

I think that Repubs are illegitimately congratulating themselves over Palin's "performance." This is like seeing your football team lose 60 to 3 and finding a way to think of it as a victory. Everytime Palin made an actual attempt to say something of substance, she got it wrong. She is a major fact challenged person. She attempted to use Bush speak, which I assume all Republican candidates learn in Republican candidate 101 class. She may have been seen as winning by Repubs due to using the words; maverick, reform, change, terrorist, you betcha,freedom and "not a washington insider." Repubs really appreciate buzz words. She also had the biggest lapel flag pin you can purchase from Repubflagpin.com with a generous donation. You have to think, it doesn't take much to please a Repub. if you are middle and lower class. On the other hand, if you are upper class, then it takes a lot of no bid contracts and under the table deals to please them. Clearly, Palin has signed on and knows how the game is to be played.

jaywalker 6 years, 9 months ago

"Looks like there were some typos in the first comment, it should have read: Ellen "Smarthead" Goodman is yet another intelligent woman who hates Palin."A childish, immature comment, and one that shows the lack of intellect of the poster.A person, intelligent or otherwise , may dislike what Palin's beliefs are. Only a fool would use the word 'hate'. I get it if you're speaking of Bin Laden, Hitler, Hussein. But this is an American woman who's raised a family and excelled in her career path. Don't agree with her ideologies, fine. But 'hate'? What are ya, two? Grow up or stay off the strings please.

lacoov 6 years, 9 months ago

Please enlighten me as to what "war" McMaverick helped in winning? Viet Nam was never a war but a military action and we sure as heck didn't "win" jack squat there. I and my 3 month old son however lost a husband and father there.

beatrice 6 years, 9 months ago

What Palin did at the debate was effectively use memorized talking points provided by a team of trainers that frequently did not address the question asked in order to mask her lack of knowledge about the things she may be called upon to some day govern. Congratulations Republicans. You all must be very proud. So will we be seeing Governor Palin on Meet the Press or Face the Nation any time soon?

Bob Hechlor 6 years, 9 months ago

Palin didn't win the beauty contest. In a contest of 12 women, she came in 2nd.

deec 6 years, 9 months ago

If by hands-on experience, you mean throwing around the power of her office for personal vendettas and using alternative means of sending emails to avoid public scrutiny, you're right.If you mean hiring lobbyists to tap into the Federal budget for pork-barrel projects and kissing up to Big Oil, you're right again. This is a woman who lacks sufficient common sense to go to the hospital when she's in premature labor. And the righties want her to help run the country? God forbid.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 6 years, 8 months ago

Nature show quote, from another planet..."Here we see the magnificent destruction wrought by rampant rationalization, where a smile beCOMES the highest form, the embodiment, of intelligence...and the artificial whiteness of it all, the highest standard one could hope to attain. We see this again and again in societies where brutal partiarchal rule has not yet been usurped by a meritocracy. Unfortunately...here...all indications are that the arrogance, ignorance and the power of man, will destroy not only this undeserving civilization, but will IRreVERsibly damage the ability of on an entire planet to evolve using its wealth of built diversity. Stay tuned next turn, as we examine this world one billion years down time's road."By the way, this alien civilization is long dead from the effects of watching bad worlds TV.

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