Friday, October 3, 2008


Are conservative bloggers delusional, crazy, or...simply spending too much time in the echo chamber?

Nobody can deny that Sarah Palin didn't improve her poise and grace in last night's debate, that she didn't come off as the uber-bumbler of the Gibson and Couric debates, but she did not, by any means, restore her image in my mind, nor did she, if we are to trust the polls at all, win the debate. I don't particularly like Joe Biden, and I don't think he defeated Governor Palin utterly, but it was at best a tie, and judging by the numbers, more a Palin loss than anything else.

I think most Americans simply don't want someone who relies upon phrases such as "gosh darn it" to fill gaps, or who waxes colloquial rather than display any real grasp of the subjects at hand. They want substance, knowledge, and intellect. And despite his gaffes, his mistakes, (or as Rove put it, his lies!) and his obvious gaps in knowledge, at least Biden showed that he truly does understand international and domestic politics.

Palin insisted that she was not an "East Coast" politician. She reminded us often that she was an outsider, a maverick, as though we are so foolish as to believe that any outsider who comes to the White House will somehow remain one once they're there. Like Bush, right? The outsider, the governor, the cowboy.

Look at these numbers:

CNN Biden 51 Palin 36
CBS Biden 46 Palin 21
Fox Biden 61 Palin 39

The Fox poll (yes, Fox) gives Biden a 22 point lead over Palin. That's a pretty big number for a right-wing poll. Or wait, Fox is fair and balanced--they're not, and I'm glad they're not. I like having some conservative news out there...

So is the conservative blogosphere and the political pundarati delusional when they proclaim her the winner?

Rich Lowry writes:
By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.
Michelle Malkin proclaims "Sarah Rocks!"

First, I would like to see all the Sarah doubters and detractors in the Beltway/Manhattan corridor eat their words.

Eat them.

Sarah Palin is the real deal. Five weeks on the campaign trail, thrust onto the national stage, she rocked tonight’s debate.

She was warm, fresh, funny, confident, energetic, personable, relentless, and on message.
Michelle, did you notice the polls? Not the conservative blogosphere polls, but the real ones? Americans obviously don't agree with you, so even if the Beltway does have a change of heart, even if those elitist conservatives who decried Palin last week think that she's okay now, after a rather polished, empty performance, they'll be wrong....I personally won't eat my words. My divorce from the Palin enthusiasm is complete. I don't look for down-home "real" people, or hockey moms, to lead me. What happened to the standards of the Republican Party?

Didn't conservatives used to be elitist on purpose, or at least expect their leaders to be? Don't they believe in the "natural aristocracy" to some degree? Since when did conservatives decide the most important thing in a candidate was his or her ordinariness? Have we as a nation stooped so low as to celebrate mediocrity even at the highest level? I notice most GOP strategists--the movers and shakers--are all highly educated, extremely smart people. So why should the number 2 on their ticket be, well, so regular?

The Daily Conservative writes that "Biden didn’t come off too well for anyone not already a supporter of his ticket."

Since the national polls give Biden a 20 point lead in last night's debate, I'd say this is bad, bad news for McCain. That would mean that realistically, Obama has about a 20 point lead. And if that's not what it means, then Biden must have impressed some conservatives, or all of the independents out there.

Both liberals and conservatives spend too much time in their own echo chambers. Go to either fairy-tale world and you'll find the partisan lens so strong, that of course Biden won. Of course Palin won. Biden. Palin. Biden. Palin...

But they can't both win, can they?

No. And the national polls are probably a better barometer than the very skewed ones you find on a conservative blog.

Neocon News writes:
This is what I had been waiting for. We can clearly see now that despite her apparent lack of in-depth knowledge on some issues, SarahPalin is what John McCain told us she was: a bold, intelligent executive with her eyes set on the future who WILL do just fine with some on the job experience.
I can appreciate this. I was enthusiastic, at first, over Palin. I too began to drift, and was hoping that something would pull me back in to the fold, as it were. I wanted to believe in McCain again, and this debate was an opening for just that.

Little did I know, my faith was already drained. All I could hear were empty words, relatively well spoken, from a woman who I honestly believe is completely unqualified for the job. She does not have it in her to lead the free world.

I identify with the neoconservative belief in democracy promotion and the accompanying belief in free trade, and globalism.

Is Palin the one who will lead us into a new global society, a freer world...can she usher in democracy and peace, and broker the sorts of peace deals and diplomacy we need to move this country and this world into an age of peace? Or will she be seen as just another cowboy crusader a la G.W.B.?

Fred Kaplan writes:
So Gov. Sarah Palin can speak spontaneously in complete and coherent sentences.
Let's judge her, then, as we would a presumptively seasoned and competent political leader. By that standard, on issues of foreign policy, she was outgunned by Sen. JoeBiden at every turn.
This cuts to the heart of my argument. So what if Palin was warm, coherent, pretty, or any other damn thing? Shouldn't we expect the nominee to be coherent, cogent, smart, thoughtful, etc. coming into the debate? Is this honestly what thesebloggers and commentators are crooning on and on about? That she can speak in full sentences? Seriously? Is this the bar by which we will now judge her...a simple improvement over her previous interviews?

At this point I would like to see Palin hold her own in a press conference. She can obviously beat around the proverbial bush. The last thing I want is another national leader who bases their term on obfuscation, deception, and dodges.

Robert Schlesinger has some advice:
...Be supporters and others who are quick to suggest that Palin's performance Thursday night should expunge from memory her comically faltering inability to answer fairly basic political questions from Katie Couric and others. This was no exoneration of Palin. Here, Palin got to answer predictable questions with little flak from Biden. And when she lacked an actual answer and had to pivot to a talking point, Palin managed to avoid the uncomfortable "We both know you've stumped me but I'm going to try to squirm out of it" grin that she flashed so often with Couric.


BerkeleyGuy said...

Best quote about the debate has come from Iowa Independent Dougas Burns:

"For her part, GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin – speaking with the programmed cadence of a GPS navigation system — used forced folksiness to deliver crammed material in the manner of a high schooler looking to score a good grade on a Spanish test. The kid may escape with a B-minus, but he wouldn’t be able to order a cup of coffee in Spain a week later."

E.D. Kain said...


That about sums it up, I'd say. Quite frankly, I've gotten to the point where I simply don't believe that Palin can be trusted as VP. She does not meat the intellectual standards necessary to run a country--especially this one.