the debate

The McCain campaign has to be pleased with the way Sarah Palin performed in the debate Thursday night. She went toe-to-toe with a Senate lifer. She was able to recover from those unflattering interviews, and she was also able to get a couple good shots in at Joe Biden in the process. She did benefit from low expectations, and I take that into account when evaluating the results, but she easily cleared that bar. Those who loved Sarah before the debate were validated, and those who thought she wasn’t the best choice for a VP have some ammo to make that case after watching the debate.

Sarah was great in that she spoke directly to the American people. She can connect with her audience in a way that Obama cannot. On style, Sarah easily wins this debate. But when Americans evaluate the two candidates as potential vice presidents, Biden makes the sale. Senator Biden is wrong on a great many things, but as a skilled debater, he was able to fool people into believing that he understands foreign policy and the Constitutional role of the Vice President. He gave specific policy positions on issues, and the average viewer won’t bother to check to see whether he accurately represents McCain’s positions or his (Biden’s) own. Governor Palin’s lack of specifics on policy issues hurt her case, but as she said, she has only been prepping on this for 5 weeks, so no one should have expected that she could cram 20-30 years of knowledge into her head in that short time.

Governor Palin did not change any minds by her performance Thursday night. Those who came in voting McCain will still vote for him, and those supporting Obama will still vote for Obama. There is more work to do for McCain. This election isn’t lost yet, and McCain must have a better response to the country’s economic concerns and must learn how to sell his healthcare plan. The economy is the key issue, and there must be separation from the Bush administration if McCain really wants to win this election. Sometimes we just don’t get that impression.

debating biden and palin

Apparently Gwen Ifill’s writing a very complimentary book about our Democratic nominee for President, Barack Obama.  No bias here. Move along citizen.  Why in the world didn’t the McCain campaign know about this?  Are they all fast asleep over there?  With all the credit we can give that campaign for some of those clever web ads, the McCain team hasn’t been earning their paychecks in the last 2 weeks.  There are many things we can point to as far as mistakes they have made so far — the rollout of Sarah Palin, the fumbling around on the economy, the failure (until recently) to attack Barack on the issues that matter in this election — to name a few.  But even if they failed to “vet” Ifill and whether she could possibly be objective moderating this debate,  McCain is handling this correctly.

Making a big deal about this only hurts McCain.  They can’t pull Sarah from this debate, no matter what legitimate concerns they may have (internally) about this.  There are no unbiased moderators left in this country, so that’s not an reasonable option.  Sarah Palin needs to show up, tweak the media and the Democrats,  promote her candidate, and survive the gentle pokes by Joe Biden.  She can do this.  If it goes badly for her, the campaign will continue to push the extensive media bias theme, and it only advances their point on that.  Of course, if Palin does not do well here, McCain has bigger problems than a biased media.

some advice for the mccain campaign

Stop treating Sarah as a victim. Stop being so politically correct. Let this “pig” remark die a natural death. Guess it’s too late for that now.

Take every opportunity to compare Governor Palin’s fiscal record with that of Senator Biden. She has the advantage there. There may be some doubt as far as when she started to oppose the bridge to nowhere, but she did oppose it. Both Barack and Joe supported it from the beginning.

More later….

dnc: shiny tie night

More of the Clinton show on day three — former President Clinton (the elected one) showed Hillary how a convention speech should be delivered.  I was surprised by the massive outpouring of cheers and applause for Bill Clinton, because the whole message of the primaries was that the Democrats had moved on from the Clintons and were ready to take the party in a new direction with Senator Obama.  This could have been designed to give the former president his moment in the sun and have some closure on the Clinton era before the Obama era begins.  Of course, this effort would be a massive failure since Hillary isn’t going away.

President Clinton gave a typical Clinton speech, except that it was relatively short.  The crowd was enthusiastic and cheered just about everything he said. He made a better case for Obama than his wife did, and he made what Democrats would consider to be a reasonable effort to support the current presidential ticket.  It must have annoyed a few folks that he said nice things about John McCain, since he’s the next Bush and all.

Our favorite flip-flopper John F. Kerry also made an appearance and gave a coherent speech.  Now that he’s no longer a threat to be president,  he’s much more likable and not quite as scary as he was in ’04.

I like Joe Biden.  I can’t help liking him and his story, even though I disagree with his views on about 90, 95% of the important issues of the day.  His story is a great made-for-TV narrative.  It is interesting that that personal story of him as a fighter doesn’t always translate into his views on foreign policy.  He knows that the way to deal with bullies in the real world is to hit ’em until they respect you and leave you alone.  The same should be true for rogue nations and terrorists as well, so I’m surprised that he is so willing to surrender his hawkish side to go along with Obama’s policy views.  Of course this is something all VPs do, submerging their own personal views to mirror those of the presidential nominee, so I guess he’s just following the grand tradition of Gore, Lieberman, etc.

Then there was the great Obama surprise, where he attempted to steal the spotlight from Bill Clinton and his VP pick Joe Biden.  Think he might have been tired of watching other people star at his convention?   Looked that way to me.  But it was nice of the great one to stop by and thank the little people who got him where he is today.  It’s the least he could do — to show up in person and mingle with the hoi polloi for a few minutes before his big speech to the masses on Thursday.

My prediction for tonight — Obama’s speech won’t meet expectations.  He may wow the mediots and some of the blind follower sheep he has in his flock, but the rest of us will look at what he said and inevitably find it lacking in useful substantial content.

it’s biden

Did you really think that Barack would tell you his pick before the media found out?  That’s some kind of faith, I must say.  Biden’s hardly the most exciting choice, and I can understand why some of you may be disappointed.  But it does change one calculation by McCain — he can’t pick a VP who would be killed by Biden in a debate.  That narrows the field of choices a little bit for him, and probably excludes some of those conservatives we would have wanted McCain to pick.   Oh well..not like McCain would have considered those names anyway.

This is going to be fun.  Joe Biden…you have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say can and will be used against you by the McCain campaign.

Like this (for example):

sense and nonsense

Guess I don’t know much about the VP selection process — because I thought that Obama would have to pick one of Dick Morris’s boring white guys (Evan Bayh) to bring some balance to the ticket.  He still could pick Bayh or Tim “The Eyebrow” Kaine to keep this team from getting too much buzz around it — and to keep the attention of the press on the guy at the top of the ticket.  Unless there’s a glaring weakness to fill and all this other stuff doesn’t matter…

Why else would Joe Biden be under serious consideration in the Democratic veepstakes?

I hope and pray that Senator Obama picks Joe Biden.  On some levels, it makes a lot of sense.  He has the most credibility of any Democrat on national security issues.  He is much more experienced than Obama with the ways of Washington and he could help Obama make all those tough decisions a president has to make.  There are plenty of good reasons why this pick would be smart for Senator Obama, although there would be the risk of looking like a Cheney-Bush scenario, where the VP is in charge of organizing foreign policy.

There are also good reasons to look in another direction.  Wouldn’t a Washington lifer like Biden dilute the “change” message?  After all, Senator Biden has been in D.C. a long time.  If the system is broken, then Biden gets some of the blame for that.  And then there’s the endless ad copy against Senator Obama that Senator Biden has helpfully provided for John McCain and the RNC.

Jim Geraghty gives us some of the highlights here:

Biden, on a post-debate appearance on MSNBC, October 30, 2007: “The only guy on the other side who’s qualified is John McCain.”

Then there’s my personal favorite:

Biden said in a campaign ad, “When this campaign is over, political slogans like ‘experience’ and ‘change’ will mean absolutely nothing. The next president has to act.”

For all Senator Biden’s knowledge and experience, at times he can be a loose cannon, and he’s not that skilled at keeping his random opinions to himself.  If he’s the pick, Obama’s staff also might want to consider writing Biden’s acceptance speech for the convention to keep him from stealing words from random British politicians.  Imagine how much fun it could be for Republicans if Obama chooses him as VP.   Biden could be a smart choice, but he’s hardly the safest choice.  I would think that Obama might want someone who would be more comfortable being a supporting cast member rather than the star of the show. Can Joe Biden handle just being VP?   We might soon find out.

mr. irrelevant makes a threat.

Joe Biden threatens to call for impeachment for President Bush and Vice President Cheney if they bomb Iran without Congressional approval. Surely this will be the strategy that gets his poll numbers all the way up to 5%. Brilliant. He has to know the President would never do this, and that he will never have to follow through with this threat. I guess I was wrong in assuming he was above pandering to the lefty netroots. If you want to be different from the rest of the Democratic field, why follow their playbook? Nothing will make any difference for Biden right now, but I’m disappointed that he has to resort to playing the scary Bush card. He has more to offer as a candidate than a promise of change from Dubya’s policies.

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