October 02, 2008
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.