HOTCHKISS, Colo. – Having missed the first Presidential debate a week ago, I, like the rest of the country was very eager to watch the Vice Presidential debate last night. The VP debate in itself is a very peculiar thing. Does the VP candidate debate to sell him/herself or sell the presidential candidate? Or maybe even both? Last night’s 90-minute debate between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden was an example on who they were actually selling.
After last weeks embarrassing debacle with CBS’s Katie Couric, Palin had to spend the 90 minutes selling Palin to America. Not John McCain. Democrats, Republicans and independents across the country tuned in to see how well Palin had been trained over the past week to react, in an intelligent way mind you, to moderator Gwen Ifill’s questions.
I would say from what I heard during my two-hour drive to Hotchkiss during the debate is that she hung in there at best. She didn’t make a complete fool of herself and John McCain the way she had done in the days leading up to the debate. With that, she didn’t wow anybody either and the polls are already showing that the McCain camp isn’t really gaining any ground after her performance.
And when she couldn’t answer a question. She didn’t answer the question. Simple as that. No tiptoeing around the subject, she left the subject alone…usually returning to the topic of “good green, clean energy.” That was a bit frustrating. But I was listening on the radio mind you. I wasn’t viewing her cutesy little nose scrunches or the batting eyelashes. She didn’t have the power of her allure through the squelching sounds coming through my radio speakers. All I had was audio and I heard nothing good from her. Who knows, maybe my perception would have been different if I was watching her on stage. Sexist? Probably so. But then so is McCain’s whole campaign.
Anyways, back to the subject here. She had the tendency to not answer a number of questions. Here is a great example of Biden in his most gentlemanly fashion (because he had to) pointing this out during the debate.
“Gwen, the governor did not answer the question about deregulation, did not answer the question of defending John McCain about not going along with the deregulation, letting Wall Street run wild. He did support deregulation almost across the board. That’s why we got into so much trouble.”
Gwen: “Would you like to have an opportunity to answer that before we move on?” She said to Palin.
“I’m still on the tax thing because I want to correct you on that again. And I want to let you know what I did as a mayor and as a governor. And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk to the American people and let them know my track record also.”
This statement hit home. She was defeated already and this was no more than 20 minutes into the thing. What she really said was, “Lets go back to something I can talk about – me. Alaska. Wasilla. Because that is the only America I know. And if you don’t like my answer. Too Bad. Because that’s all I have. My strait talk to America is that I don’t know what I am talking about.”
Sounds about right, doesn’t it? Now I could go on for days about Palin, as I already have in this attempt at a political blog. She and her supporters are so fascinating to me. Half the time during the debate she played this “team of mavericks” card that the McCain/Palin ticket is the ticket of change in America, bashing the decisions of her party’s leadership a number of times. The other half of her senseless oratory was that the country needs McCain and Palin because they have a track record that is outstanding. If I were a Republican I would be totally fucking confused. This woman is bashing my party, yet I am expected to support her. What the hell do I do?
But the most fascinating thing is those who remain on the sinking S.S. McPalin. I have yet to understand how even the most staunch Republicans could support this ticket. I understand Republican values. I don’t understand McCain’s change-maverick-anti Bush-pro-Bush-anti big oil-pro Exxon values he is touting in this election. At least as a Democrat, I have a feeling of where my candidates stand. What a mess those Republicans have made for themselves. When all else fails, I guess, confuse the hell out of them.
Now here is what I really got out of Thursday night’s debate. A true respect for Senator Biden. He showed compassion in not tearing Palin apart in the debate. He gave good, astute answers when asked. Even when asked a tough question like the one about what your Achilles Heel is politically, he gave a political answer. At least tried to answer it. Palin, I am not, as are others, even sure she knew what the term “Achilles Heel” even means. (Does she read? She doesn’t know.) But in her answer, she said she didn’t have one. I think here Achilles Heel is ignorance. Not that I am smarter than her. I am sure she is an intelligent woman. But for this job, she is in way over her head. It takes some intelligence to know when you have it that point. Know your own intellectual boundaries. Other than that, she has none. Shit. Here I go again on Palin.
Before Barack Obama selected Biden as his running mate, I admit I didn’t know much about him. He has a long record and experience in the Senate. I learned at the DNC that he is a family man and puts his family before anything else. Last night’s debate taught me more. He is intelligent and he knows what is going on in Washington. His Senate experience is what we need in a vice president. He wants to bring the VP seat back to where it belongs, away from what Dick Cheney has made it out to be. I had almost forgotten, until last night’s debate, that the VP is an Executive Branch position, not legislative like Cheney believes and has directed. Biden really hit home with this notion.
“Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history,” Biden said. “The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.
And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there's a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.”
Thanks for reminding us of this Joe, I appreciate it. Under the last administration, this simple fact seems to have been forgotten. And who would be a better, more qualified VP than Biden who has spent so much time in the Senate? Not Palin.
Thursday’s debate solidified the Obama campaign. There is a line drawn and Obama and Biden knows which side of the line they stand on.