3.10.08

Post-Debanalysis

Most media outlets - from the Times, The Post, Daily News, CNN, Daily Dish, Drudge, cable pundits, etc. - have settled on a consensus; Sarah Palin at least met the abismally low expectations the media had set for her, thus she is able to claim some victory.

Well, ok, the talking heads on ESPN can say "The Lions will get blown out by the Packers this Sunday," and then Vegas can give the Lions +20.5 points on the spread. But when the Lions lose the game by 20, covering the spread don't mean squat in the standings - they still got blown the fuck out.

The difference between ESPN's reporters and those from the vast array of news media outlets across the United States is that after a football game, ESPN reporters don't talk about the result of the game from the perspective of spread-coverage - they talk about who won and lost. The news media in our country cares only about the results in the context of their artificial spread.

Take, for example, this from the News Analysis of the New York Times this morning: "Ms. Palin can presumably claim two victories, though modest ones. She did not offer a reprise of the unsteady responses that marked her interviews with Katie Couric on CBS News, even if many of her answers were not always responsive to the question, particularly when contrasted with Mr. Biden. Her performance — feisty and spirited — also might have heartened conservatives, many of whom had gone from ecstasy to despair in the period from when she was named until this week."

If by "feisty and spirited" you mean "flustered and contrived," then, yes. Palin puts on the folksy a lot better in her speeches than she did in the debate where it seemed like someone prepping her beforehand told her to make sure every fifteenth word was "darn right" or "gosh."

As for this little tidbit from the NY Times piece: "her answers were not always responsive to the question..." How does that entitle you to a partial victory? How do you score points like that? "They kept the game close by scoring touchdowns in areas other than the endzone."

It's true, questions she didn't want to deal with, she made up her own question and said she wouldn't answer the one that was asked. When asked if there was any project a McCain administration would have to scale back because of the financial crisis, she repeated some unrelated nonsense about an energy plan from 2005 and blessed the hearts of ConocoPhillips and Exxon.

On subprime mortgage lending, Palin blamed predator lenders and said American citizens needed to be protected from them, then went on, in the next sentence, to say Americans needed to be sure they didn't live outside their means. Well, a subprime mortgage would certainly be living outside ones means, so what's the call Guv?

My favorite double-talk came on government intervention in economic matters. Speaking on tax issues and economic stimulus Palin said, "Now, as for John McCain's adherence to rules and regulations and pushing for even harder and tougher regulations, that is another thing that he is known for though. Look at the tobacco industry. Look at campaign finance reform." In her very next response, on the same subject, she responded, "Patriotic is saying, government, you know, you're not always the solution. In fact, too often you're the problem so, government, lessen the tax burden and on our families and get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow and thrive and prosper." Um, these are contradictory thoughts.

Biden, on the other hand, was lucid and forceful. He was didactic and laid out his objections and his ticket's positions; one, two, three. His best exchange came after Ifill asked the candidates about the use of nuclear weapons. Palin spouted off some trite bullshit about "nuke-you-lerr" weapons being the "be-all, end-all of just too many people," and then shifted the question to Afghanistan - because she had nothing informed to say about nuclear weapons - and said we should have a "surge" in Afghanistan, too.

Ifill then turned to Biden and said he could speak to either topic Palin addressed. He said, "I'll talk about both" - a theme he pounded throughout the night, tacitly proving that he could address multiple issues and categorically reject his opponents claims while Palin had trouble with basic sentence construction.

Biden responded to Palin's uninformed nonsense about the "surge" in Afghanistan by saying, "The fact is that our commanding general in Afghanistan said today that a surge -- the surge principles used in Iraq will not -- well, let me say this again now -- our commanding general in Afghanistan said the surge principle in Iraq will not work in Afghanistan, not Joe Biden, our commanding general in Afghanistan." Then he spoke to Barack's leadership on a piece of legislation securing nuclear materials. Palin parried Biden's devastating attack by calling the commander of forces in Afghanistan, David McKiernan, "McClellan."

The narrative that will emerge from this debate will be similar to the one that came out of the first debate between Obama and McCain. At first, there was a lot of disappointment on the left that Obama didn't hit McCain harder and most pundits and analysts called the debate a tie. Then it turned out that people watching chalked up a big win to Obama.

What Obama did was tell you exactly what you needed to hear. Biden did the same thing, but was even better at it. He had more leeway to deal with Palin and was able to throw, and land, quite a few haymakers in the debate. In a couple of days the better performance in this debate will shine through the shit-cycle of spin and it will be the same result as we saw in Obama-McCain: Joe Biden destroyed her.

And if Sarah Palin, that dumb lump of pitbull turd smudged with lipstick, winks at me one more goddamn time or shouts out to a class of third graders again like she's on some radio-fucking-talk show call-in program, I will send Michael "I'm-In-Prison-And-This-VP-Joke-Is-Killing-Moose??" Vick after her ass.

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