Because life is a series of edits

Thoughts from 4 Miles Away

In Places & Spaces, Politics on October 3, 2008 at 6:01 am

It takes me about 12 minutes to drive from our house to Washington University, so it was semi-surreal watching the Vice-Presidential debate held here in St. Louis Thursday night. I thought both Joe Biden and Sarah Palin did well, but would give a slight edge to Palin for holding her own (though little more) on the issues and for better connecting personally with the viewer. Biden seemed much more distant and on the defensive (at least in the first half of the debate – he kicked it in toward the end), which seemed to play well to Palin’s “pit bull” personality.

The frustrating thing about national debates for me is that FactCheck can’t keep up in real-time as to the factuality of what each candidate is saying at every level of detail. While I consider myself a fairly informed citizen, I don’t have time to sift through and memorize voting records. Facts aside, both candidates (Palin especially) came off too “politician-y” in dodging some questions, but when you consider all that they had to cover without making any major gaffes, I suppose that’s to be expected.

That’s my two cents. What did you think?

  1. I agree generally with your assessment. Both of these candidates presented well, and both played to their own strengths and the strengths of their campaigns. I also thought (with Marcie) that it was a pleasantly civil and congenial debate.

    More of a meta-thought: the best analysis of the night, in my opinion, was when one of the pundits referred to Governor Palin as a “Rorschach Test”– people look at her and see what they are inclined to see. Those inclined to see her favorably do so, while those who are predisposed to criticism find fault.

    This is true of most politicians (and perhaps the thing that can best sum up the success of Senator Obama is his knack for avoiding this affliction), but it seems to be especially the case with Governor Palin.

  2. I turned the TV off after the debates so I missed the spin. Interesting thought on the Rorschach Test. Why do you say it applies to Palin and not Obama? If there is a difference, wouldn’t that difference have to do with the way the media has presented and pursued each of them?

  3. i think both candidates did okay. i think that fact that palin surpassed everyone’s expectation of disastrous self-implosion (a justified expectation after the embarrassing kouric interview) made her appear to do better than she really did. i still think she was an incredibly poor choice for a vice-presidential candidate. i’ll end my comment here before my cynicism and utter frustration with this election come gushing out.

  4. I was bored. Her winks bugged me. I would have liked a big something. Like error, rude comment, terrible cheesy joke….like “I have a bracelet too.” Who knows, I think I really was just mad that I didn’t get to see the Office this week. Is that terrible?

    I heard the Rorschach Test comment and totally agree. Because we all have already decided….mostly, we like the person we like and certainly think they won. That’s why it’s a night of just get through without any glaring errors for the canidates. In the end, everyone goes their respective ways. I do enjoy hearing the media put their spin on things. It’s a joke.

    So, my question is….really, are people all that undecided or are we just unsatisified and choosing the lesser of the two evils?

  5. I’ve decided to become Canadian.

  6. I was impressed by both of them, frankly. Palin obviously has been cramming and appeared quite knowledgable about what she’d been studying. Her folksy-ness works to her benefit, I think, but I do wish she would stop saying nuke-YOU-lar.
    Biden obviously has aspirations to become president. He might be a good president someday.
    Too bad it’s not McCain/Biden on the ticket. I’d probably vote for that.

  7. Oh, and I’d want Michelle Obama as the First Lady as long as I’m mixing tickets.

  8. Craig, I’d say it applies less to Obama than most politicians– which makes a big difference.

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