The VP debate last night was everything I wanted it to be. Sarah Palin was often incoherent, did not address all the questions in her answers and sounded ignorant as Biden corrected her gaffes without sounding condescending. Below, a friend and I weigh in on the state of the debate.
Friend: I was sort of hoping Palin would implode, but it sadly didn't happen
me: I don't understand how people are saying she didn't fail. When did the ability to form complete sentences become "not failure"? She didn't answer the questions when she didn't feel like it, there were more cliché talking points than substance, and she was condescending: "There you go, Joe, looking back again."
Friend: Actually, I didn't think she failed either. I agree with you: she didn't answer questions, and she had no substance. But she was (a) not the wreck she's been in interviews; (b) consistently appealing to the kind of people who don't care if you know anything
me: Apparently, the woman has no weaknesses ("Achilles' heel")
Friend: I loved that. Her weaknesses are that she is TOO fond of this country!! Please.
me: But seriously - is slang supposed to be appealing?
Friend: Jim Lehrer said she was 'relentlessly colloquial.' It is [appealing] to people who want to identify with her, and don't care that running a government is about intelligence, skill, and erudition, not being Joe six-pack
me: Which is scary to me. I was watching her horrified that someone who doesn't seem to know anything could be that "heartbeat away."
Friend: It's scary to me, too
me: And others were probably watching Joe Biden's calm, clear responses and well-placed humor and thinking, "That establishment bastard." There were just so many holes in her logic
Friend: That's why I was so disappointed that she didn't fall flat on her face. He was great, I have to say. Not only did he answer every question, but he handled her really well, I thought. He addressed all his attacks to McCain and was consistently pleasant, good-natured, and funny with her
me: Which takes skill. I would've been all "Lady, you're not making sense - again!"
Friend: Me too. I would have been like, “I’m sorry, which part was the answer to that question?”
me: They respond to her with more respect for her than I think her answers deserve
Friend: Well, they have to, because otherwise they'll be seen as picking on the pretty little governor. Big bad establishment guy v. pretty little google-eyed governor. It's like, please, Joe Biden is a marshmallow and Sarah Palin is a barracuda. I was so shocked when she corrected him by saying, “the cheer is actually drill, baby, drill”
me: I kind of love Palin's little daughter who's always pushing her way into the center of things, the one who spit on Trig's head
Friend: I know, she's kind of adorable. And there's no getting around the fact that Sarah Palin's a good-looking woman
me: I don't find her good looking
Friend: Well, she's not my type, either, but I see her mass appeal
me: She doesn't radiate any good energy, just mania, which for me negates the fact that she's slim, etc
Friend: Oh, totally. And her eyes get sort of weirdly manic. I LOVE the Tina Fey version of her
me: Her makeup also looks kinda plastic on TV
Friend: Well, she looks like a beauty queen in a suit. Which is exactly what she is
me: And when she reiterates her credentials, it sounds to me like someone discussing high school experiences at a post-college job interview
Friend: Well, because that's what it is. She's working off so little, it sounds like she's trying to sell an undergrad resume. I mean, you might say that relative to many policymakers, Barack Obama has less experience, but you'd also have to concede that relative to most people, the constitutional law professorship, community organizer, state senator, and US senator resume is pretty damn incredible. Whereas weather girl, PTA mom, mayor of a small town, and first-term governor doesn't have quite that weight
me: (First-term governor of a state nobody really lives in)
Friend: I know. Ridiculous. [Colleagues] hosted a debate-watching party last night with a drinking game - a shot every time someone said “Alaska”
[For more crazy, see a Palin debate tactic flow chart here.]