vapidity wins…

The after-debate talk essentially confirmed what I was worried they’d say, that Sarah Palin “nailed it” – although, the media mostly thought McCain had been more successful last week but it turned out ordinary people ended up giving it to Obama, so they may not be reliable. To me, she was just utterly empty of any real content. She was cute, but she didn’t seem to understand what she was talking about.

She contradicted herself several times (“we need oversight on wall street, stop that greed & corruption” vs “we can’t have government gettin’ in the way” or “we don’t know the causes of global warming” vs “the important thing is to stop it, so we should stop emissions”). It just seemed like her rational capacity was entirely lacking. Did she understand the arguments? Does she get what cause and effect are? I saw no glimmer of understanding in any of her answers. She seemed to have memorized a few stock positions but there was no depth of concern or interest that allowed her to expand or explore them further.

Biden was a bit too policy wonkish at times, and because the format was such that he hardly had time to go into depth, he occasionally seemed a little scattered, throwing out a couple sentences about one example, then mentioning another, and another – all connected, but not having time to get into detail about any of them. Unless you were already familiar with the legislation or the issue, it probably came off pretty unfocused. However, it seemed perfectly obvious he was much more grounded in his knowledge, that he had thought much more deeply about these things, that he was much more reliable. And even in personality, when he talked about his personal experience of having lost his wife and nearly lost his sons, he seemed much more genuine than Sarah Palin. She just comes across fake, with the bouncy winky, dontcha know..

But then, I always thought Ronald Reagan seemed fake, and America still loves him, so I am a terrible barometer there.

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7 Responses to “vapidity wins…”

  1. rjjrdq Says:

    Uh, you pretty much nailed there…

  2. rushmc Says:

    >> It just seemed like her rational capacity was entirely lacking. Did she understand the arguments? Does she get what cause and effect are? I saw no glimmer of understanding in any of her answers.

    Exactly. She talked way too fast, like a kid eager to get through memorized lines before she forgets them. Biden pretty well hammered her from a debating standpoint.

    But, of course, most viewers don’t care about any of that, debating skill even less than rationality. Or things like getting the general’s name wrong twice. Who is most entertaining? Who has the biggest, Hollywood-like persona? Who would be more fun to party with? These are America’s concerns.

    Still, as your next post points out, Biden pretty clearly came out ahead here (why did he look so much OLDER than he ever does when he’s on the Daily Show? that lighting, or something, was NOT kind…there was something really weird going on with his eyes). As little as the VP debate matters in the grand scheme of the election, I think he provided a small net plus for Obama.

    However, I was very disappointed, as I was in the first debate, that Biden/Obama are pulling their punches so much. We have the “president” with the lowest approval rating in history, and you don’t try to tie the Republican to him? Biden’s bit deconstructing the “maverick” soundbite was probably the best part of the debate, but he should have been alluding to the Bush disaster and tying the Republicans together in every other line all night long. Palin was clearly coached to expect this when she attacked him for “looking back,” which, humorously, he had not been doing at all.

  3. rushmc Says:

    Oh, and again, I fail to see where you are getting “cute” from Palin. All the folksy crap made me want to retch. It’s fascinating to me that Tina Fey can play Palin so closely, yet come across as attractive, when Palin just seems artificial and contrived (possibly more than any politician I’ve seen in years, which is really saying something).

  4. peacay Says:

    Interesting. I admit to coming away with the sense that Palin did enough to nullify the perception of herself as a ‘dead weight’ on the ticket. The trick of course was that expectations were so low and that the majority of sentences were delivered – or read – coherently. Backed up by the accent and folksy words and looking down the barrel of the camera and the hyper energy and the ever present smile, I’d say there are enough psychological buttons touched — irrespective of the vacuity of the content — to resonate with a certain number of people.

    The Washington-haters may well find her quirky nature a breath of potential fresh air. Forget the content; the contrast between the normal political talking head old boy -vs- feisty/folksy/smiley was pretty stark and its usefulness in political terms shouldn’t be underestimated. Biden may have done ok and even shored up the notion among the ‘soft’ pro-Obama voters that he’s got the skills for the top job, but I’d be surprised if his performance contributed votes at the end of the day. He may have won technically, but I feel fairly confident that she gained more actual Nov. 4 votes than he did.

  5. drinkme Says:

    rushmc, I didn’t mean “cute” in a necessarily positive way – I was very disappointed geraldine ferraro said she’d done a good job afterwards, for one thing (even though ferraro’s shown herself unreliable this election cycle, I thought on women’s issues she could still be a meaningful moment in history, as I still remember looking up to her in 5th grade…her assessment of this was another nail in that coffin). THe fact that Palin could pull off the cheerleader routine didn’t make me like her more, and wasn’t presidential at all. We don’t want a cheerleader for president.

    I have nothing against her, and don’t feel particular animosity towards her, to be honest. I liked very much the line Joe Biden said about not questioning the motives of those you disagree with. I think she’s just wrong about a lot of stuff and in -way- over her head, and it’s terribly unfortunate that this is the way women politicians are being represented to so many americans.

    I’m comfortable enough assuming she is trying to do what she thinks is right, but I don’t think she thinks much about what it is that is right. I found her cute in a kind of fakey, trying too hard, sort of way. I don’t think she understands things well enough to really be comfortable, which is where I think real genuineness (for me) comes out.

    So, I don’t totally disagree, but I feel more pity than hostility, I guess. But that’s my snotty, at-a-distance, academic approach… psychoanalyze instead of react.

  6. rushmc Says:

    This captures my reaction perfectly (I hadn’t read this when I posted here earlier): http://www.theagitator.com/2008/10/03/debate/

    Ah, so you meant “cutesy” more than “cute.” That, I can see.

    >>even though ferraro’s shown herself unreliable this election cycle

    To say the least.

    >>I have nothing against her, and don’t feel particular animosity towards her, to be honest
    >>I feel more pity than hostility, I guess

    I don’t. I absolutely loathe her, because she is a female George Bush being promoted to continue the dismantling of the Constitution and this country and that offends and upsets me on the deepest level. This isn’t some soap opera, it’s real life, with very real and very ugly consequences. I despise her anti-intellectualism and her anti-rationality and her pandering to the same element among the public. I also can’t bear her voice, which to avoid I would endure a 24-hour Rachael Ray playlist–okay, that one is petty and I’d probably let her slide on it if not for all the other things!

    The contrast between Palin and an actual politician is that between a porn star and an actor (which has nothing to do with her gender). The trouble is, the American people no longer see, or care about, the distinction. The pretend is as good as the real–it’s all on tv, the great equalizer.

  7. rushmc Says:

    This is strikingly accurate:

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