newprotest.org: VP DEBATE

VP DEBATE

October 02, 2008
by: jovial_cynic

Source: Getty Images

I'm glad to see that concerns about Ifill's role as moderator were unfounded, and that her line of questioning was even-handed and fair. I am irritated, however, that Palin's repeated use of talking points may have been successful at distracting the audience from the fact that she failed to answer over half the questions asked, but instead used that opportunity to simply prop up the McCain campaign.

In the previous post (referenced in the above paragraph), I mentioned the cynical complaint about Ifill's role as moderator; the complaint asserts that people are generally stupid and easily tricked by a biased moderator. But after watching the Biden/Palin debate, I believe the cynicism runs even deeper. I truly believe that the Palin's strategy was to simply repeat the easy-to-remember talking points or catch phrases from the campaign, even if it meant blatantly disregarding very specific questions. It's a marketing tactic: simply repeat a phase enough times until the audience can't get it out of their head.

When it came down to the specific questions, Joe Biden swept the floor with Sarah Palin. His answers were filled with substance, facts, and a real understanding of the situation. Palin was inaccurate, lacked credibility, and at times made no sense in the context of the questions.

I hate to think that America is that sucked in by the marketing, and that talking points can "win" a debate. I'd like to think that people are more interested in substance, and that the majority of viewers could clearly see which future VP could articulate their answers and explain their positions. But the more I view the polls, the more I think most people are simply incapable of thinking outside of party lines; these debates aren't a place to see which candidate can demonstrate that they are better aligned with the good of the people and the nation. These debates simply function as a place for people to cheer on their chosen candidate. And with nobody keeping score, both sides claim victory every time. If is how people truly are, the undecided voters may very well vote for the jingle they remember best.

COMMENTS for VP DEBATE


Ken said:
I don't think undecideds will buy into her questions skirting performance.
Her lovers will love it.
The Hurl and I watched, Ms Fey had us in stitches multiple times.

The winner will be reflected in the RCP Index tomorrow. It wasn't her.

You know this isn't party line for me, a card carrying Libertarian.

October 02, 2008


jovial_cynic said:
Ken - Oh, I know. You're among my excluded friends. :)
October 03, 2008


The Conservative Manifesto said:
"I'm glad to see that concerns about Ifill's role as moderator were unfounded, and that her line of questioning was even-handed and fair."

Of course, in a format which allowed Ms. Ifill to choose her own line of questioning and not reveal it to either campaign, we'll never know if the storm of criticism which preceded the debate forced her to focus on (even modify) her questions.

But it should still be troubling that a woman who is financially vested in the success of Barack Obama would be chosen -- and allow herself -- to moderate.

Either way, I think she did fine. We'll never know what her questions would have sounded like had no one made the Ifill-Obama-book connection, but I'm glad it was at least out in the open.

October 03, 2008


jovial_cynic said:
TCM - you're kind of assuming the worst, here, aren't you? You might not be coming out and saying it, but what you are suggesting (with your "we'll never know if..." statement) is that it is likely that Ifill planned to slant the debate in favor of her chosen candidate, but was forced to back down because of the criticism.

Personally, I was more concerned with the appearance of impropriety, and suggested that stepping down would be appropriate on account of that. If bias was present, I think that the media would have slammed Ifill for it, and Obama's campaign would have felt the impact. For all we know, Ifill may be intelligent enough to know that a clearly biased moderator would not have helped her chosen candidate at all.

But you're right. We'll never know. But I think we know who's more cynical on the subject. :)

October 03, 2008


The Conservative Manifesto said:
When it comes to the media, I think it's fair to say I'm far more cynical.

=)

October 03, 2008


Luke said:
I'm going to have to agree with you here JC. She was the loser in the debate. Biden gave specific answers which come from a career of experience in the field, where Palin had trouble with those and kept to the things she was more comfortable with, like talking points. I was a little disappointed.

Then again I feel that Obama is the equivalent of Palin in experience and I feel gives similar answers as Palin when confronted off the teleprompter. Morals aside he is a much more dangerous choice given that Obama would be President versus Vice President (which doesn't make any policy decisions).

October 03, 2008


jovial_cynic said:
TCM - as long as it's non-partisan cynicism, I'll find it reasonable and agreeable. :)

Luke - glad to see you're reasonable in your perspective on the debate. I don't feel, however, that Obama is less prepared than Palin. I think that Obama's answers demonstrate that he knows what he plans, regardless of his experience, and his choice of Biden as VP indicates that he knows the areas where he is weak.

Palin's debate performance demonstrates that she actually doesn't have any answers to important questions, and if she's going to be the VP, I'd like her to have some solutions and plans thought out. Or at least have a better answer than "I agree with McCain." Palin's bizzare regulation/get-government-out-of-the-way contradiction really makes me think that she's got the cue-cards to give the public the answer they want to hear, but not a clue as to how to actually do anything. That concerns me.

October 03, 2008


The Conservative Manifesto said:
"Palin was inaccurate..."

Hmmm, let's see here.

Biden misrepresented Obama's support for the Palestinian elections (which put Hamas in control of Gaza).

Biden misrepresented his support for clean coal.

Apparently Biden doesn't know the difference between Gaza and the West Bank.

And then, of course, there's Biden's Lebanon nonsense.

And so on and so forth.

So when you say Palin was "inaccurate" but say nothing about Biden, I'm sure you're just being objective and non-partisan.

=)

October 03, 2008


jovial_cynic said:
TCM - I'm happy to admit that Biden was also inaccurate. But as I glance over the specific inaccuracies by the two, I note this: Palin, in her errors, is either errant in her math, her understanding of the actual situation, or is being deceptive; in either case, it had the affect of making Obama/Biden look worse than they are, or making McCain/Palin look better than they are. I think that leans towards deceptive, personally. Biden's errors (with the exception of McCain's refusal to meet with Zapatero*) are errors in specifics, but do not detract from the point he's trying to make, nor do they appear to inflate or deflate either party. McCain didn't specifically vote against the troop withdrawal? Fine. He urged Bush to veto the bill. The point is the same. Biden's statement about clean coal - look at his voting record on that specific issue. There's no twisting of information there.

* I believe Biden was spinning information with the Spain issue, taking a cheap shot. I'm pretty sure he understood that McCain wasn't opposed to meeting with Zapatero.

October 03, 2008


The Conservative Manifesto said:
Do you think Biden wasn't "errant in [his] math"?

In order to believe that, you would have to go along with Biden's repeated claim that we spend more in funding three weeks of combat ops in in Iraq than we have in the entire Afghanistan campaign.

Do you believe such math?

October 03, 2008


jovial_cynic said:
TCM - I was only going off the factcheck site, which you also used on your post.

I believe Biden actually said, "we spend more money in three weeks on combat in Iraq than we spent on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan building that country."

War costs in Iraq are absurdly higher than Afghanistan building costs, and I think that's part of the point he's trying to make.

October 03, 2008


jovial_cynic said:
As long as we're going tit-for-tat here, can you explain Palin's claim that millions of small businesses would see tax increases? Or that McCain's health plan would be budget neutral?
October 03, 2008


The Conservative Manifesto said:
You're awfully defensive for a non-partisan. I would think Biden so grossly misrepresenting the facts only emboldens your decision to withdraw your vote for The Real Deal.

=)

Let's stay on track. Biden did say we spend more money in three weeks in Iraq than we have in the entirety of the Afghanistan campaign.

Of course this is entirely wrong -- by all estimations.

Our largest Iraq expenditure came in FY 2008 when it reached somewhere to the tune of $158 billion - divided by 52 weeks -- roughly $3 billion per week.

So in three weeks we spend, at most, $9 billion in Iraq.

By contrast, we have spent around $177.5 billion since the start of the Afghanistan campaign.

Of course, the numbers vary slightly by source -- but not nearly enough to make up for Biden's exaggeration of epic proportions (by what, 20 times!?).

All I'm saying is that you -- as a self-proclaimed non-partisan -- might want to also check/reveal Biden's math while denouncing Palin's.

But don't let it ruin your Friday evening. It certainly won't ruin mine.

As j_c would say...

::shrug::

=)

October 03, 2008


jovial_cynic said:
Did you not read my previous statement? During the debate, which is the topic at hand, the actual quote from Biden is "we spend more money in three weeks on combat in Iraq than we spent on the entirety of the last seven years that we have been in Afghanistan building that country."

Are you really not catching what he's saying there?

October 03, 2008


The Conservative Manifesto said:
All that stretching has to hurt.

=)

Later in the debate, Biden specifically said "Again, we spend in three weeks on combat missions in Iraq, more than we spent in the entire time we have been in Afghanistan."

October 03, 2008


jovial_cynic said:
Well, now we're stuck guessing at intention.

With his first statement solidly in place, I'll argue that he provided the necessarily clarification with which to interpret the second statement. I'm sure you'll argue that he's being intentionally deceptive or incorrect. However, I doubt one could argue that he changed his position in the midst of the debate, or that his second statement is further clarification of the first. If you place both statements side by side, I think that it is reasonable for one to assert that his first statement provides the frame work for his second statement.

I think you forget that I don't actually like Biden, and that he's the reason that I'm not voting for Obama. Suggesting bias on my part makes little sense to me. I just think that the arguments you've presented are faulty. Also bear in mind that I gave McCain the nod on the presidential debate. I don't think you have a lot of room to suggest that I'm being partisan here.

October 03, 2008


HBC said:
I just want to say that Biden is totally needs to retire at this point.
October 09, 2008


add comments. you are limited to 5,000 characters:

<< your name
<< your email (won't be displayed)
<< your website / location
<< type these numbers: 221045 (plus 0NE)

(html -enabled- / no scripts)

<< Comments temporarily disabled >>

Rules: Don't spam. Don't harrass. Don't be a jerk. Your IP address (54.196.79.241) will be logged.