Friday, October 03, 2008

Joe Biden vs. Sarah Palin Debate Analysis

Sarah Palin comes out swingin':

When the night began Sarah Palin turned her mic on a bit early, (perhaps not intentionally, but I think so) leans into Joe Biden and says, "Hey, can I call you Joe?" to which Joe Biden replied, something like "Absolutely no problem." The reason it's not listed in the transcript is because Joe Biden did not turn his mic on until the debate had actually started. A great swing by Palin, likely thought up by Karl Rove or someone similar. This was a good stab at Barack Obama's calling John McCain, "John" while not asking permission as she made sure everyone knew she did.

In the beginning:

The answering of the first question pretty much set the tone of the entire debate. The question was:

The House of Representatives this week passed a bill, a big bailout bill -- or didn't pass it, I should say. The Senate decided to pass it, and the House is wrestling with it still tonight. As America watches these things happen on Capitol Hill, Sen. Biden, was this the worst of Washington or the best of Washington that we saw play out?

A great first question with two very different answers.

Joe Biden:

I think it's neither the best or worst of Washington, but it's evidence of the fact that the economic policies of the last eight years have been the worst economic policies we've ever had. As a consequence, you've seen what's happened on Wall Street.

If you need any more proof positive of how bad the economic theories have been, this excessive deregulation, the failure to oversee what was going on, letting Wall Street run wild, I don't think you needed any more evidence than what you see now.

So the Congress has been put -- Democrats and Republicans have been put in a very difficult spot. But Barack Obama laid out four basic criteria for any kind of rescue plan here.

A great opening answer that actually answered the question. On the other hand, Sarah Palin had this to say:

Sarah Palin:

You know, I think a good barometer here, as we try to figure out has this been a good time or a bad time in America's economy, is go to a kid's soccer game on Saturday, and turn to any parent there on the sideline and ask them, "How are you feeling about the economy?"

And I'll bet you, you're going to hear some fear in that parent's voice, fear regarding the few investments that some of us have in the stock market. Did we just take a major hit with those investments?
Fear about, how are we going to afford to send our kids to college? A fear, as small-business owners, perhaps, how we're going to borrow any money to increase inventory or hire more people.
The barometer there, I think, is going to be resounding that our economy is hurting and the federal government has not provided the sound oversight that we need and that we deserve, and we need reform to that end.

Now, John McCain thankfully has been one representing reform. Two years ago, remember, it was John McCain who pushed so hard with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform measures. He sounded that warning bell.

While this answer wasn't a terrible answer, it never answered the question and led into what John McCain thought, not Sarah Palin. This would continue to be the theme of the night for Gov. Palin. A lot of talk about McCain, not enough talk about her own views. Despite this, however, she did very well overall.

Getting the ball rollin':

Both candidates did decent jobs of answering the next few questions without any real substance being the issue for both. Sarah Palin listed off canned answers that she gave her own "rootin' tootin', down home hillbilly" spin as an attempt to seem "more authentic" and "more like us." As is always the case, I don't want a President who is "just like us." I want a President who I look up to as being better than me in many areas. Despite this, I still feel I could have a beer with any of the 4 candidates.

Joe Biden was not the pillar of perfection, either. While Palin ignored what she herself thought about issues, Biden spent too much time saying who John McCain isn't, instead of who Barack Obama is. However, he did finally even up Palin's first swing with this:

Joe Biden: (The question was on Healthcare)

Now, with regard to the -- to the health care plan, you know, it's with one hand you giveth, the other you take it. You know how Barack Obama -- excuse me, do you know how John McCain pays for his $5,000 tax credit you're going to get, a family will get?

He taxes as income every one of you out there, every one of you listening who has a health care plan through your employer. That's how he raises $3.6 trillion, on your -- taxing your health care benefit to give you a $5,000 plan, which his Web site points out will go straight to the insurance company.

And then you're going to have to replace a $12,000 -- that's the average cost of the plan you get through your employer -- it costs $12,000. You're going to have to pay -- replace a $12,000 plan, because 20 million of you are going to be dropped. Twenty million of you will be dropped.

So you're going to have to place -- replace a $12,000 plan with a $5,000 check you just give to the insurance company. I call that the "Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere."

A great response that put things back to even on my scorecard.


There were a few lies told by each candidate but I think they evened each other out overall. Instead of rehashing each lie told I am just going call it even for both as I do not feel a lie gave the advantage to one candidate over the other. While McCain's lies obviously outweighed Obama's lies in the first debate, I think in this case it wasn't near as big of a deal. I think Biden and Palin both did well at keeping the lies to a minimum and the ones they did tell were equally stupid.

Debate Flow:

It is in the flow of the debate I felt Joe Biden did well enough to keep the race against Palin's "I'm not near as bad as everyone thought" experience. While she appeared to do better because the bar was set so low, Joe Biden silenced all the critics by not gaffing or being long winded. It was the flow of how he debated that caused him to pull ahead in the end.

Sarah Palin, on the other hand, seemed very nervous and her voice quivered at times. I almost got the sense that she didn't believe what she was saying with a passion that could have convinced many more people to get behind her. While she did a good job debating, as I predicted, she was still not the debate winner. Unfortunately, throughout most of the debate she SEEMED like she was the winner because of the bar being set so low. Thankfully, Joe Biden came to compete and did so without offending anyone, attacking Palin personally or giving in to his critics with long, painful answers and a forked tongue.

Raw, Real, Respectable Emotion:

Joe Biden got choked up during the debate when speaking of his son in Iraq and his wife and infant daughter who have passed on. He did this because that's the type of guy he is. It is this type of emotional thinking and empathy that makes him the great man he is. He is a man of the people, who is for the people and lives like the people. His net worth is roughly $100,000. He doesn't live beyond his means and he only has one house, just like Obama. It was this emotion that won Joe Biden the first and only Vice Presidential Debate of 2008.

When Biden got choked up thinking of his family that has passed on and his son in Iraq, he did so with grace and a raw truth that nobody can dispute. Sarah Palin, unfortunately, did not show any sympathy whatsoever. She didn't apologize for his loss or express empathy in any way about her own situation or his. Instead, she rattled off another McCain sound bite in a poor attempt to change the subject. While I think she was smart to change the subject and not attack back, she should have at least said something to the effect of "Mr. Biden, I am extremely sorry for your previous loss and you have my most sincere condolences. We both have children in Iraq and that is why this war must be won." This would have put her back in the lead. She didn't do it so she didn't win.


This was a great debate that did not bore me like the last one did. I was entertained and informed throughout the broadcast. Both candidates did well even though, in my opinion, Joe Biden took the trophy at the end. Not only did each candidate treat each other with respect, but they even had a nice chat afterwards showing that, politics aside, people can get along.

Joe Biden is a very nice man and is well liked on a personal level by man members of Congress. He has a great air of bipartisanship that many in Congress could take a lesson from. Sarah Palin also seems like a nice person. From what I could see she has the potential to be bipartisan and work with anyone. While I don't think she is ready yet for the position she is interviewing for, I think with enough study and real world experience, she may be one day. All in all I give the entire debate an "A."

Now that Palin has said she had a great time and wants to do it again, let's see if they let her give a press conference and finally put to rest once and for all if she can handle herself in a high pressure situation where you literally have ZERO clue what will be asked next.


suebeehonee said...

Redwing, I think you hit the nail on the head. This debate was much better than the Presidential debate and, as we all knew, Palin had nowhere to go but up. Biden was focused and Palin, as I reviewed the debate again, still got on my nerves with the folksy talk and many times she did not even answer the question, but instead, recited what sounded like a rehearsed reply.

Jamie said...

To sum up my thoughts I wouldn't even call it a debate, it seemed more like a double interview where each candidate said what they had to say.

Second thing about the debate is: what purpose did it serve? Palin obviously didn't know any of the stuff she talked about a week ago. Someone told her what to say. None of those thoughts were her own and in my opinion she is simply not ready for the Whitehouse.

Now that I think about it; Palin in the Whitehouse seems a lot like the current POTUS.

nice blog entry btw!

Grey Fedora said...

The "May I call you Joe?" line was a set-up for the "Say it ain't so, Joe" zinger later in the debate. It was scripted from the beginning.

jessica said...

this time i agree with your analysis of the debate, redwing. i thought sarah palin did a great job! i was so happy she didnt screw up and make herself look like a fool, as was the case with the three interviews she did.

unfortunately for her, it did not change my mind about voting for Obama/Palin this november. she just simply did not win the debate. while she did a good job it seemed rehearsed and i really dont like candidates who wink at me. it seemed a bit hokey and the use of slang throughout the evening was a turn off too. still, she did a great job with what she had to work with.

joe biden, on the other hand, really did well! this was his debate to lose and lose he did not! he was respectful of palin and didnt even need to attack her to win. he had a game plan and he stuck to it. my roommate eve and I both got choked up with him when he talked about his family. i havent seen raw emotion like that since, other than hillary, since ive been old enough to vote.

biden was refreshing, right on most every core issue and was an excellent pick for obama. i am not longer upset that obama chose him instead of hillary. he proved his worth in a big way.

im glad to see josie and suebee posting more. i do want to know josies opinion of this debate, though? also, where has larry been? i hope i didnt scare him off by saying he was too sensitive. i shouldnt have said it since i was too. if i did im sorry to all of you and to larry if he reads this.

one thing to jamie...if like you say, it was a job interview... biden got the job.


josie m. said...

Jessica, I think watching her in this debate solidified my decision of picking Obama/Biden. I agree that she portrayed herself as an Okeefenokee Okie Dokie kinda gal and that she made it quite obvious to me that she was very well rehearsed. She did not truly debate. She said what she memorized on cards. She said what she has been rehearsing for weeks exiled at the McCain compound. I would like to say to Jeannie that I do not feel she represents women everywhere. I would be scared if she did. I think you probably meant to say that she represents what Republican men think of women everywhere. While I am sure Sarah is a nice person, she does not come across as genuine. The winks and slang were disrespectful and "hokey" and she evaded many of the questions by giving her rehearsed answers. Biden even called her out on that when he said that he was going to give an actual answer to a question. She is not Presidential material and I am horrified at the prospects that she is so woefully unprepared in the event McCain actually wins. Let us just hope that the American voters prevent that from happening.

kevin said...

I just got through watching Ironman with my son an hour ago and I could not resist jumping in on my brothers computer to see how things were going here at the Progressives site. My wife and I are still out here in Portland with my son. I watched the debate with my brother and his wife and I was surprised.Everyone saw the same thing. Sarah Palin hung in there with one of the Senate's veterans, Joe Biden. About 10 minutes into the debate it became clear that she is resilient, she misquotes facts as much as Biden does and that she is the kind of candidate that debates well. She is engaging though she sounded quite rehearsed and stumbled a bit when the topic made her uncomfortable or uneasy. Yes, Biden won the debate. He's got more knowledge than just about anyone in Washington, right along side McCain. But the quality of engagement is something that we haven't seen in a VP in.... well.... I can't remember when.......
Did she talk too much? Joe Biden didn't in the debate this week. For a change he
reigned himself in (for the most part!). And he did very well
because of it. More words isn't necessarily better. He really got me when he broke down about his family and that did it for me. It was his shining moment and he came off more "real" than she did. I really wished she had toned down the slang. It was aggravating if not annoying.

Jeannie said...

I have been listening to all the news shows and I have heard everything from "Sarah Palin managed not to crash and burn" to "she hit it out of the park". I think the reality is closer to her not crashing and burning.

Republicans keep saying "see, she's qualified - she made it through the debate without a major gaff". SO, is the new standard for VP or POTUS that he or she can make it through a debate without a major gaff? Has Sarah Palin set this new standard for our leaders? Are the standards of Republican party leaders so low that a barely passable performance could be ranked as "hitting it out of the park"?

I dislike Dick Cheney - I think he is the worst vice president in recorded history BUT, that having been said, I've no doubt he could run circles around me on issues of politics or of history. In other words, I may not like his views but he is certainly qualified for the job. In the case of Sarah Palin, I have no doubt that I could "take her" in a discussion on most any subject - and that scares me. She isn't running for student counsel president - she's running for the highest office in the land and she is absolutely unqualified for that job by every standard I am aware of.

Yes, it is true Palin didn't "crash and burn" on Thursday night. In many ways I'm glad she didn't as I think in many ways she represents women everywhere. But she was clearly scripted, she avoided questions, she winked at us, she used an exaggerated folksie accent and overall she was just plain SILLY. She behaved like a cheerleader who was good at memory work, not like a political leader running for the highest job in the land.

I urge everyone to vote for Obama-Biden. This is the adult ticket. Two men who want to serve this country and have not sold their souls for the job. John McCain has done perhaps the greatest deservice of all to his country by choosing Sarah to be VP. He deserves to be left in the dirt he has created on election day.

freedomofspeech said...

Wow, excellent analysis here. My wife said the same thing as you. This debate was won using emotion and having a presidential aura.

Palin is now going back to Ayers to attack which is worthless considering Obama barely knew the guy and he was EIGHT YEARS OLD when the 'terrorist act' occured.

Let's not forget that Palin herself was healed by a Witch Doctor and the AIP(alaskan independance party) that her husband is a member of, was founded by a guy who damned america, cursed the flag and was later murdered in a plastic explosives deal gone bad!

So bring up Rev. Wright again and this time we'll fight back.

George said...

I dont know what debate ya'll were watching but to me Sarah Palin CLEARLY won. She was smarter, more articulate and owned the facts in a more postive and truthful way.

She is clearly ready to be Vice President and I can already see her winning in 2016 for President. This ticket is one of the greatest we've had in a long time. McCain/Palin WILL win this November. All of you liberals (-cough- I'm sorry...PROGRESSIVES -cough-) need to get used to the fact that Republicans will win this November.

It's easy to see that we won't allow a muslim into the whitehouse who has radical ties to Reverend Wright. So clear your heads and vote for McCain/Palin!

She won the debate and John McCain will win tomorrow. Tune in!