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Born at the Crest of the Empire

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Stray thoughts on the debate

Palin has to do well enough to separate her image from Tina Fey.

If Obama had picked Clinton for VP, McCain wouldn't have picked Palin, but, just for grins, imagine what Hillary Clinton would do to Sarah Palin in a debate.

An ABC/WaPo poll supports the idea that Palin's image is falling.


  • Palin probably won't be a disaster tonight. Her thing is the "non-answer", rather than the "dumb answer". Like virtually everything Republican, if you go into the debate liking her, she will not disappoint. She will not provide any illuminating commentary on her positions, but she will tell a number of anecdotes and make broad assertions, vague generalities, and statements of obvious truth presented as keen insight.

    "Not a disaster" is not much to recommend a candidate.

    The real question in my mind is how far she will push the fundamentalist agenda. Will she go into all-out "Jesus mode", or will she play it safer?

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 9:04 AM  

  • Palin pretty much knows how to regulate here Jesus talk commensurate to the audience. I don't expect her to go too far with it.

    I mostly agree with Todd that Palin is a patron of the art of the non-answer, rather than the dumb answer. BUT... I don't think she's all that good at it. And when pressed on a point, dumb answers come out.

    By Blogger -epm, at 9:25 AM  

  • Todd, "how do budgetary restraints impact the availability to extend healthcare?" becomes "Out on the trail, I meet many people who....."

    It's a non-answer, but it sells okay.

    And re:Jesus. She'll play it extremely safe. Nothing to gain there. The base already knows.


    EPM, the question is whether Ifill pushes. That's probably why we saw the Ifill "bias" trashing yesterday.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:20 AM  

  • The art of the interview is in the follow up... Making the interviewee justify the statement she/he just made. First of all, while Ifill is smart and can ask tough questions, I don't think she's much good at the following up. And besides, I'm under the impression the debate format is tightly scripted... not sure there's a provision for follow ups anyway.

    It'll be up to Biden to point out "I'm not sure who the Governor's been talking to, but when I was talking to Mary Lamont in Detroit two days ago, she told me..." Contrast Palin's vagaries (and pulled-out-of-her-butt 'facts') with specifics and details. Biden's good at that... if he can keep it short and sweet.

    By Blogger -epm, at 10:29 AM  

  • I put up a post above this one on the bias charges against Ifill designed to inoculate against followups.

    And, I don't know the debate rules, but it's Ifill's debate. I guarantee she'll followup occasionally.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 10:33 AM  

  • It's a non-answer, but it sells okay.

    Non-answers will resonate with those who already have a favourable opinion of her, and will leave others with a neutral impression at best.

    That's fine, if that is how one defines "it sells". But it will change very, very few minds, and this is one of McCain's few chances to change a lot of peoples' minds.

    By Blogger Todd Dugdale, at 12:29 PM  

  • Right. But I think you're putting too much on her if you expect her to win this election for McCain tonight.

    I think the very best they're hoping for is to stop the rot in opinion of her.

    To me, this debate is all downside for both candidates. They're not going to gain their tickets too much, but they could lose a bit.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 1:24 PM  

  • "To me, this debate is all downside for both candidates."

    Agreed. So how does Palin get Biden to "lose" for his team? She's free to be aggressive; Biden is not. Does she taunt him, in a manner of speaking? Does she push his buttons into "reacting" to her?

    Hmmm... The more I think of it, the more I think we'll see Ms Pit-Bull.... trying to get a rise out of Biden in some way; throw him off his game. (Going relentlessly negative and lying about Obama's/Biden's record? As in "Obama wants to teach 5 year olds about sex!!!")

    Biden better be prepared to be a punching bag, I'm guessing.

    By Blogger -epm, at 1:36 PM  

  • I agree, maybe she attacks Obama dirty to try and draw Biden into a mistake?

    The only downside is that that's a gamble with her image. If it comes off wrong, she loses big.

    By Blogger mikevotes, at 2:21 PM  

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