Category: debates

At 53-minute mark, debate is a yawner

I’ve already lost my imaginary drinking game for this evening’s presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn. John McCain has said “my friends” five times in the first 45 minutes of the debate and a shot each time would have me passed out on the floor by now.

I’m writing another post and only halfway listening to the “town hall” “debate,” so maybe that explains what sounded to me like some Palin-esque verbiage from McCain. I thought those nonsense, mangled statements were Palin’s own invention, but maybe she learned them from McCain after all.

Sorry, I just can’t stay focused on the TV. I’ve been listening to all these issues for so long that I’m just glazing over. I’m sure if either of the candidates trips, it will be all over the networks later.

Uh oh, “my friends” again. Gulp.

I’m outta here. I can’t take any more of this. Obama seems to be making sense so far, so I’ll give him a pass on the rest of this evening.

Palin avoids face plant in debate, salvages some pride

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The veep debate was last night. Joe Biden vs. Sarah Palin. Honestly, I found the whole thing pretty boring. Neither candidate stumbled notably, dammit.

Biden choked up once, talking about the tragic accident that killed his first wife and almost took all his children as well. Other than that, he seemed to stay on message — without any obvious (to me) gaffes.

Palin did well by employing one tried and true political maneuver: she often didn’t answer the question posed but launched instead into a rehearsed topic of her own choosing. With the exception of her answer to a question about global warming, she managed to avoid the air-head, beauty queen answers for which she’s become infamous.

Absent the fact-checking by pundits, I’d say Biden won because of his greater experience, direct answering of questions, and gaffe-free performance, but it was a moral victory for Palin, who managed not to fall on her face as many expected.

This debate was probably a wash as far as its overall effect on the presidential election. Personally, I don’t want another cowboy talkin’ individual in the executive branch. Palin’s small-town “yep” and “nope” and “joe six-pack” persona is a distinct turnoff for me. Beer-drinking, moose-hunting, small-town redneck types may be common in America, but not in Washington. I want highly educated, sophisticated, worldly politicians and diplomats running our government, people who understand the very complex issues facing America and the world today (hopefully better than the current crop seems to understand economics). That’s not a guarantee of better government, but it certainly improves the odds.

If not Gwen Ifill, then who?

PBS’s very capable Gwen Ifill will be moderating the vice presidential debate tomorrow night. Conservatives are now blasting Ifill’s selection because she has written a book scheduled for publication on Inauguration Day entitled Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, about the younger generation of black politicians.

I am not unbiased in this election, and perhaps that is a partial explanation of why I’ve always found Ifill to be intelligent, fair, and well-versed on issues. I like her and think she’ll be a good moderator. And it certainly doesn’t seem unusual that a black political commentator would write a book about the new generation of black politicians.

On the other hand, I can understand why people might perceive her writing of the book as evidence of bias. Perhaps she’d seem more neutral if she hadn’t written the book; I don’t know. But I can’t think of any totally impartial individual qualified to moderate the debate between Biden and Palin. Can you?