The Big VP Debate: Palin’s Running on Fumes, Not Real Fuel

The Big Vice-Presidential Debate: Palin’s Running on Fumes, Not Real Fuel

Reactions to the Debate

CBS News reported on the debate, where vice presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden clashed on the financial crisis, foreign policy, energy and taxes in a nationally televised debate on Thursday night. Palin committed no major mistakes, but CBS News chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer gave the edge to Biden. “I thought Sen. Biden had a very good night,” Schieffer said. “Time and again, Gov. Palin would choose not to answer the question.” A CBS News instant poll of Americans who watched the debate also showed Biden to be the winner by a margin of 46-21 percent. About one-third thought the debate was a draw.

A CNN national poll of people who watched the vice presidential debate on Thursday night suggested that Democratic Sen. Joe Biden won. Poll respondents gave Sen. Biden the edge over Gov. Sarah Palin in the ability to express views. The CNN/Opinion Research Corp. said 51 percent of those polled thought Biden did the best job, compared to Palin’s 36 percent.

At The Atlantic Magazine, Andrew Sullivan felt that Joe Biden’s sobriety and authority and call for fundamental change is both reasonable and solid. “It will resonate, I think. As you can read, I began this debate feeling that she was steam-rolling him. She was. But it was a steam-roller coming at you on fumes, not real fuel. She doesn’t have it. Maybe one day she might. But not now. Biden’s concluding remarks were very, very strong. There is no contest here.”

And from abroad, The Guardian (UK) reported that Biden gave the far superior debate performance by any objective standard, of course; far superior to pretty much any recent debate I can call to mind. But of course that may not be the relevant point: Palin didn’t fall apart, and until discussion moved to foreign policy, at any rate, her relentless strategy of talking only about tax cuts and energy policy, peppering her lines with plenty of folksiness, seemed to serve her well. From the Iraq section onwards, she sometimes seemed to be clinging on by her fingertips.

Fred Kaplan reviewed the debate from a foreign policy perspective in Slate Magazine. His conclusion was that Palin still know nothing about foreign policy. He proposed that Palin be judged as we would a presumptively seasoned and competent political leader. By that standard, on issues of foreign policy, she was outgunned by Sen. Joe Biden at every turn.

And more than Sen. Barack Obama, who could have answered some of Sen. John McCain’s charges more forcefully in last week’s debate, Biden made no effort to muffle his fire. When Palin called Obama’s plan for a phased withdrawal from Iraq “a white flag of surrender,” Biden shot back that the plan was identical to the policy of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

When Palin repeated her charge that Obama was “beyond naive” in calling for negotiating with adversaries “without preconditions,” Biden explained what the phrase meant, then noted that it was supported not just by the five former secretaries of state who recently co-authored an endorsement of the idea but by our allies, with whom Palin had just said we needed to work together.

When Palin recited McCain’s line about applying the principles of the Iraqi surge to Afghanistan, Biden (correctly) noted that the U.S. commanding general in Afghanistan has said the surge wouldn’t work there. (By the way, it does not bother me at all that Palin referred to Gen. Dave McKiernan as “Gen. McClellan.” We all make mistakes like that now and then.)

Finally, when Biden said the Bush administration’s foreign policy has been an “abject failure,” and proceeded to list the many ways in which that was so, Palin’s only reply was to smile and say, “Enough playing the blame game.” If Obama and Biden talk so much about change, she added (as if this were really a clever point), why do they spend so much time looking backward? To which Biden replied, with uncharacteristic pith, “Past is prologue.” And so it is. At another point, he noted, “Facts matter.” And so they do.

Joe Biden gets the first laugh of the night, calling the McCain-Palin health care plan “the ultimate bridge to nowhere.” Watch:

Biden Mocks Palin’s Bridge to Nowhere

Palin’s “Cute Act” Flops Bigtime

For much of tonight’s debate, Sarah Palin avoided any spectacularly obvious stupidity and Joe Biden steered clear of any casually offensive statements. Then came “Say It Ain’t So, Joe,” an attempted cute catchphrase deployed by Palin that not only failed spectacularly but which was also followed by a cascade of other dumb attempts at adorability. The Republican vice presidential nominee then looked increasingly like the end of Tina Fey’s most recent impression. She winked! For the second time in the night! She called her own joke “lame” and tried to laugh at it. And then she said Joe Biden’s wife would be rewarded in heaven because she’s a teacher. That would be Senator Biden’s second wife, after his first wife and year-old daughter were killed in a horrific car accident and are, in fact, now in heaven. Whoops. At the conclusion of the video below, Biden becomes very emotional when he touches upon the issue of his first wife’s death.

Sarah Palin’s Failed “Cute Act”

Hockey Mom’s Across the Nation

In Palin’s 90 minutes on the stage Thursday night, she left the firm impression that she is indeed ready to lead the nation, presiding with an unnerving mixture of platitudes and cute, folksy phrases that poured from her lips even when they bore no relation to the questions asked. “Let’s commit ourselves just every day American people, Joe Six-Pack, hockey moms across the nation,” she proposed in response to a question about the mortgage crisis.

Head of Skate: Hockey Mom’s Across the Nation

Palin Disintegrated as the Debate Wound On

In The Atlantic Magazine, Marc Ambinder observed that to practiced ears, Palin memorized and repeated talking points and Biden responded to the questions and argued. Palin dodged questions and seemed vague; but then again, for those whose only impression of Palin has been the one Tina Fay performed on Saturday Night Live, she cleared the bar. Biden seemed a little unsure how tough to be at the beginning of the debate; by the beginning of the final third, he hit his stride. As the debate wound on, Palin seemed less agile when it came to constructing sentences and answers. Lots of key phrases, weird placement of conjunctions, so the gist of what she was saying was there, but it wasn’t terribly clear.

At one point late in the debate, Palin’s words seemed to flutter all over the place like mourning doves frightened at the feeder. Many of her sentences were plainly just not English; they were just collections of words strung together just to prompt a strong reaction, floating ands and prepositional phrases (“with that vote of the American people“). One of the prime examples from last night’s debate:

“A statement that he [Obama] made like that is downright dangerous because leaders like Ahmadinejad who would seek to acquire nuclear weapons and wipe off the face of the earth an ally like we have in Israel should not be met with without preconditions and diplomatic efforts being undertaken first.”

TechnoratiTechnorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Please Remember Me and Bookmark This:

The Legendary Fairy-Tales of Bridges to Nowhere

The Legendary Fairy-Tales of Bridges to Nowhere

The Fairy-Tale of the Prehistoric Origin of Palin’s “Bridge to Nowhere”

A Fairy-Tale of the Origin and Evolution of Bridges to Nowhere

This is the animated official complete and unabridged guide to the origin and evolution of all of the various types of bridges that were ever built before the non-construction of Sarah Palin’s notorious Bridge to Nowhere. This animated tour takes us from bridges that were spontaneously made out of tree trunks to escape dangerous dinosaurs and alligators, to prehistoric bridges often constructed from groups of large boulders, to the giant steel marvels of modern engineering. Finally it takes us on a journey to The Space Bridge of the future, which unfortunately ends up being The Space Bridge to Nowhere:

An Unabridged Guide to the Origins and Evolution of the Bridge to Nowhere

Sarah Palin’s Delusional Non-Constructed Bridge to Nowhere

The Fairy-Tale of Sarah Palin’s “Bridge to Nowhere”

America’s roads are are filled with potholes, our bridges are collapsing, metro trains are crashing and killing passengers while dull-eyed engineers spend their time pecking out text messages and airlines have become flying cattle-cars. As our dams and levees burst apart, there are year-long waits to get a passport and maimed soldiers are sent back time and again to fight in an endless war. And of all these burgeoning national infernos have culminated with a book-banning, big-government goose egg from Siberia becoming briefly popular for being one hugely nasty moron. Yes, it’s the Sarah Palin fiasco!

During the past few weeks, the media has been preoccupied with documenting the number of times Sarah Palin has made and continues to make claims that have been described as biographical fairy-tales, exaggerations, half-truths and “those things where something’s not true and you know it.” However, until recently many mainstream media persons had been hesitant to publicly identify her recurring “blurrings of the truth” for what they really are: outright lies.

That reluctance may in part be based upon an apprehension about what it means to lie. For example, a person might tell a lie in order to defend her/himself against painful consequences, ridicule or criticisms. On a darker note, a person might engage in lying in order to deceive others, for example as part of an underhanded plan to commit acts of fraud. Or, as Eugene Robinson recently suggested in The Washington Post, Sarah Palin’s lying could be a symptom of something much worse: that she really believes her own fantasy-based version of events. In that case, “hypothetically” of course, the lies might serve as indicators of an ongoing denial of reality, the reflection of an impaired sense of reality testing.

From this perspective, the lies as distortions and exaggerations disclose a state of ongoing misinterpretations of perceptions and/or of experiences. In reality, however, for such persons their perceptions of situations often are either not true at all or they are highly exaggerated. When such ongoing misinterpretations also reveal an underlying theme of compensatory grandiosity that is characterized by an overly-inflated sense of worth, power, knowledge, or identity, they can lay bare a state of delusional thinking. Parenthetically, in view of the very peculiar manner in which McCain chose Palin to be his running-mate (after speaking face-to-face with her just once and, even then, only on the very morning of his announcement), one might, again quite “hypothetically,” not entirely dismiss the possibility that a sense of folie à deux somehow had an influence upon his decision.

“The Bridge to Nowhere” is a Very Big Deal

The “hypothetical” suggestion of feelings of compensatory grandiosity, accompanied by a diminished capacity for reality testing, is exactly why we should consider Sarah Palin’s repeated boasts about the “Bridge to Nowhere” to be such a big deal. For example, it is important to note some of the contextual details about the proposed bridge, the Gavina Island Bridge that was supposed to connect Ketchikan, Alaska, to the Ketchikan International Airport on Gravina Island. First, keep in mind that Palin campaigned enthusiastically for a governmental earmark that would have totaled $223 million dollars to build just that one bridge. Now, view that large federal financial cost in conjunction with the following details:

First, Gravina Island had a population of only 50 persons in the 2000 census, and in 2007 the population of Ketchikan was reported to be just 7,685 persons. Second, while the airport on Gravina Island is named The Ketchikan International Airport, in fact it has just a single asphalt pavement runway and one seaplane landing area. Currently, it is served by just one commercial airline, Alaska Airlines, which flies to only four towns or cities. Third, just consider the wildly over-the-top scale of the proposed Gravina Island Bridge construction plans (linking a hamlet of 50 persons with a town of 7,685). It was to have been almost as long as San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and even taller than the Brooklyn Bridge. Maybe some ingenious Alaskan political porker, perhaps even Palin herself, would have christened the Gravina Island “Bridge to Nowhere” as The Sarah Palin Causeway.

Oh, yes. Can’t forget this. Nope. Sarah Palin also threw her political clout behind a project to build a road on Gravina Island that led to the Bridge to Nowhere, even though the bridge ended up not being built. It was a road to a bridge to nowhere that wasn’t even there itself, to a nonexistent bridge. And up to this very day, the state of Alaska is continuing construction on that $24 million gravel road on Gravina Island that leads up to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone.

To some (of course “just hypothetically”), this all adds up as the paradigm of a person who exhibits grandiose, delusional thinking.

The Liars Club: Introducing Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin: A Master of Non-Improvisation

TechnoratiTechnorati: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Please Remember Me and Bookmark This:

%d bloggers like this: