Friday, October 03, 2008

Politics: Veep Debate

Some instant reactions:

Biden's has a reputation for being a gaffe machine. He gave a pretty steady performance. He had a few verbal stumbles and some questionable facts but otherwise did fine.

Palin's reputation had been hammered into the ground with halting answers in some interviews. Thus, her performance last night was a success by reminding the voters of the woman who hit it out of the park at the GOP convention. Of course, she too had some questionable facts but she did what she had to do to reassure people she was up to the task.

The over-arching narrative however will probably be unchanged. At best, McCain-Palin may gain a point or two.

You really can't ask a VEEP debate to change the overall direction of a campaign. The prime example of that was 1988. Bentsen clearly dominated the debate over Quayle but Dukakis-Bentsen still went down to a big defeat. Palin can energize the base which she definitely has but its up to McCain to do his part and move the independents into his camp.

Other observations:

Palin's style is casual. For some, it won't sell. For others, that is why they love her.

Biden at some points sounded like he swallowed an excel spreadsheet. When people cram too many numbers into an answer, I tend to tune out. I subscribe to the adage, you can get statistics to say anything. Some will feel his number citations indicate he is substantive.

Palin was too strong when she said Obama-Biden's timetable was a white flag of surrender.

Biden was too strong when he claimed Cheney was the most dangerous VP in history.

Biden's job was to attack McCain and he did. I don't think he ever leveled an attack on Palin.

Palin's job was to attach Obama and cite when Biden disagreed with Obama and she did it well.

Biden attacked the Bush administration and drove the point McCain would be Bush's third term. Palin didn't make any effort to defend the Bush administration and stressed McCain the Maverick who will change Washington. If independent voters who want change conclude McCain is Bush 44 then Obama wins. If independent voters see McCain as the Maverick then he wins.

It is just that simple.

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