Below The Beltway

I believe in the free speech that liberals used to believe in, the economic freedom that conservatives used to believe in, and the personal freedom that America used to believe in.

Palin v. Biden: More Blog Reaction

by @ 8:18 am on October 3, 2008. Filed under 2008 Election, Joe Biden, Politics, Sarah Palin

More reactions to last night’s debate from across the blogosphere.

Patrick Ruffini @ The Next Right is among those on the right who think Palin did a bang-up job:

A major contributing factor to conservative despair these last two weeks is that the fear that the Palin choice would be defined as a warped historical error. Conservative and grassroots leverage over the party would be gone, at least for the foreseeable future. Sarah was our gal, and if she messed it up, it would be a long time before the conservative narrative about the future of the GOP would be trusted again. Meanwhile, conservatives were being asked to depart from principle in supporting the bailout. It was a wrenching and sobering couple of weeks.

Just as with her brilliant RNC speech, Palin did not let us down. And once again, she becomes the hope of the ticket and a standardbearer for the young guns who include Jindal, Portman, Cantor, McCarthy, Ryan, and many more.

Palin can no longer be defined as a liability in any meaningful political or analytical sense. Her claim to leadership in the next Right stands stronger than ever.

Doesn’t that depend a lot on whether she becomes the next VPOTUS or whether she just becomes the bottomg half of a losing ticket ?

Rick Moran, like Ruffini, says that Palin proved herself last night:

Palin proved the one thing she had to prove; she belongs on The Big Stage. She might not be the brightest star in the firmament intellectually. But when she spoke, there was authority and confidence behind the words that belied every nasty thing written and spoken about her over the last few weeks. In fact, her performance made the McCain campaign handlers look like idiots. What the hell have they been doing hiding this woman for all this time? Are they nuts? I’m not the only one who underestimated this woman. The McCain people have as well. And at least I have an excuse – I’m ignorant. They’re supposed to know her, know her strengths and weaknesses.


My sense is that it has stopped the bleeding but that the way back for McCain will not be through anything that Sarah Palin can do. She may have stopped the exodus of independents and women from the McCain camp but as far as winning any of them back I am just not convinced that a Vice Presidential candidate – no matter how well she performs in a debate or how she connects with ordinary voters – is up to that challenge.

On that final note, I agree completely with Rick. It’s unlikely that this debate will have a serious impact on the trend that we’ve been seeing for the past two or three weeks. Obama is in the lead, and there are plenty of signs that he’s on the verge of pulling away unless McCain can change things quickly.

Continuing with the conservative bloggers who think Palin did well, Lorie Byrd at Wizbang:

My overall impression is that Palin was incredible and that Joe Biden was quite smitten with her. I don’t know how much any VP debate can move polls, but I do believe that if she had not done well it would have had a very negative impact. I would not be surprised to see Frank Luntz be right and see an uptick in the polls as a result of tonight. At this point in the race people who have not yet made up their minds often go with their gut. They want to vote for the person they feel comfortable with and the one they trust, not necessarily the candidate with all the facts memorized. Tonight’s debate reminded me of the 2000 Bush-Gore debate in which Al Gore kept referring to the Dingle-Norwood bill. Gore was Mr. Smarty Pants with all the facts, but Bush was the one that displayed the personality. It will be interesting to see whether or not the voters are moved by Sarah Palin tonight.

Nate Silver at thinks that this may be the last we see of Sarah Palin on the major media stage:

Tonight, we didn’t see any major game changing, trainwreck moments. The big question is: putting Sarah Palin’s final comment about how great more of these debates would be, how much exposure will Steve Schmidt allow her? With the exception of a few short, scripted rally speeches, vis-a-vis the press will she go straight to Dick Cheney’s bunker, do not pass go, do not collect $200?

I suspect she will. Despite what I view as the correct, hammering demand to have Palin face questioning in a press conference format from the grand old men of the blogosphere, Josh Marshall and Andrew Sullivan, I don’t suspect the Obama campaign will much push the issue, and the McCain people have to be scared to death to have any more Couric-style answers out there. They want to lock this performance in and keep it in stasis.

This much is certain — we won’t see Palin showing up on This Week with George Stephanopolous, or Meet the Press.

Ron Chusid says that Palin avoided a trainwreck, but it was Biden who won last night:

The second debate resulted in another win for the Obama/Biden ticket but it will probably not have much effect on the race. The major accomplishment of this debate was to put an end to the idea that to beat expectations is to win. Sarah Palin did beat expectations, thanks to a combination of extremely low expectations and the lack of follow up questions, but still lost the debate.

The preliminary poll results show a win for Biden. CNN found that Biden won 51% to 36%. CBS News found that among independents Biden won 46% to 21%. Both candidates improved their overall opinion among those responding. Media Curves showed independents thought Biden won 69% to 31%.

As predicted before the debate Palin spend most of the evening avoiding answering questions and therefore avoided winding up in the position of obviously not knowing an answer as occurred in her recent interviews. This tactic helped in terms of allowing her to beat expectations but failed to help win the debate for two reasons. First, while it is common for politicians to avoid answering some questions, she did this to the point of absurdity so that most viewers would notice. Secondly, in the event that some viewers might not notice, she even announced her intentions, saying early in the debate, “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.”

And DailyKos notes, correctly I think, that, in the end this debate won’t matter very much:

Sarah Palin won! Actually, she survived, since she had no “deer in headlight” moments. Of course, it’s easy to do that when you say, straight up, that you won’t answer any questions you don’t like. And in true to her word, she tossed aside any question that might prove problematic (like Biden’s questions on McCain’s support for deregulation) to discuss whatever talking points she had memorized.

And really, Palin was like one of those dolls where you pull the string, and some pre-recorded message comes out. Pull string, “They hate our freedoms!” Pull string, “Obama will raise taxes!” Pull string, “Drill, baby, drill!” It was tiresome and, frankly, a little boring.

Joe Biden obviously knows his shit. That was never in doubt, and nothing Biden did changes that perception. In fact, he even had a little of fun showmanship to spice up his answers, like his mocking of McCain’s refusal to meet with Spain. And his takedown of McCain’s “maverick” status was simply sublime.

So who won? Who cares. Nothing happened to change the dynamics of this race. Palin proved that she’s still unable to answer the questions posed to her, but she also didn’t fall flat on her face. And in the ridiculously depressed expectations for the governor of Alaska, she didn’t crash and burn. But she didn’t need to maintain the status quo. That’s toxic territory for her. She needed to prove that she could get beyond pre-packaged talking points to demonstrating some capacity for analytical thought. In that regard, she failed.

As much as I hate to admit it, that’s exactly what I think.

More to come, I’m sure…….

Comments are closed.

[Below The Beltway is proudly powered by WordPress.]