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Palin vs. Biden -- Draw (by Repetition)

After last night's debates, I was left wondering: why even have debates?

Palin admitted early on that she wasn't planning to address the questions asked by the moderator; instead, her strategy was simply to vomit out all the talking points that she had memorized at McCain's ranch.

And it's probably a good thing she did that, of course. When she was interviewed by Charles Gibson and Katie Couric, she got herself in trouble when she didn't stick to her talking points (i.e. when she had to come up with an original thought on her own).

If you compare Biden's answers with Palin's, it's pretty clear that Biden knew a lot more. Biden, I'd betcha (to use Palin talk), didn't have to prep or study for the debate. He already knew the issues, and he clearly knew what he was talking about. Palin, on the other hand, didn't express a deep understanding of the issues. However, Palin does have an ideology, and she stuck to that ideology, but what use is having an ideology if you don't know why you believe what you believe?

This always gets me. For example, Palin can say that she thinks some issues are better handled at the state level. That's a pretty standard Republican position, but ask her why. I betcha she won't be able to explain the logic behind it.

Biden underperformed last night, but before the debate, that's what all the advice givers and pundits suggested that he needed to do. After all, a draw in the debate wouldn't be the end of the world for Team Obama. That said, I was very glad to see Biden attack the maverick label. McCain and Palin mavericks? Please. Perhaps the only real maverick in American politics today is Jesse Ventura. Palin is a pretty standard conservative, and whatever McCain was, he can no longer claim maverick status. He's a pretty standard old fart (I mean Republican) himself these days.

So in the final analysis, Palin came into the debate with a much weaker position; both sides, in my mind, played for a draw, and a draw is what resulted.


  1. The debate format? Yeah, it's kind of dumb.

    Here's a letter to Salon I wrote after the first debate:

    The whole format for these debates is stupid.

    It gives both candidates the opportunity to duck questions and duck responses. McCain can say something inane and turn to the "moderator" and ignore Obama's sputtering. Obama can try to clarify a point and get cut off and left hanging.

    I can't believe I'm going to say this, but we ought to do what the French do. The last presidential debate there had the two candidates sitting across a table from each other. Eye to eye. Face to Face. No moderator limiting responses or prompting them, just some reporters throwing out questions.

    What the French got was a real dialogue.

    Here's a youtube of the event. Take a look:


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