Friday, October 03, 2008

Biden Wins the VP Debate (and More)

It seems boring and obvious to say that Joe Biden won the VP debate, but the vast majority of the media and political pundits have been so focused on the Sarah Palin Sideshow ("Wow, she can string together nouns and verbs!") that the real story from last night needs to be repeated so that it can escape the NoiseDome: Joe Biden easily won last night's debate, especially in the eyes of the only people who really matter at this point: Independents and Undecided Voters.

Media Research did real-time polling of Independents on issues that matter most to them. Here are some of the results from Biden Won Independents in VP Debate:

Who won the debate?
Biden 69%
Palin 31%

Washington Bailout Reaction
Biden 62%
Palin 38%

VP Responsibilities
Biden 72%
Palin 28%

Biden 72%
Palin 28%
An instant CBS poll of Undecided voters on who won the debate:
Biden 46%
Palin 21%
Tie 33%

The over-emphasis on Ms. Governor Sideshow not freaking out on stage neglects the fact that Biden had to walk a tightrope last night in how he dealt with his opponent, and he handled the situation very, very well.

Some comments from Joe Klein (certainly not a raging liberal) at Time:
The fact that Palin made it through the debate without running off the stage shouting, "I can't do this!" should not obscure the fact that there was only one person tonight whom anyone with any sense—even John McCain, I imagine—would trust as President. Biden's performance was strong and, happily, gimmick free. He used no gotcha soundbites, no consultant-driven silliness—a fact driven home by the lameness of Palin's snark lines like, "Say it ain't so, Joe" and—pace, Gipper—"There you go again, talking about the past."

She had that folksy thing down—although I did notice, watching the squiggly lines down at the bottom of the CNN screen, that when she tried to get cutesy with her folksiness, it didn't work.

What she did show was some folksy charm and some energy—qualities that might get her selected for Dancing With the Stars, if not Jeopardy.

Joe Biden, by contrast, demonstrated a real knowledge of the issues in question. . . . He was genuinely moving when he talked about being a single parent after the death of his wife (he almost began to weep, but held it together); in fact, that moment was more real than anything Palin said all night. He also closed with a devastating point: McCain was, sure enough, a maverick on some things, but not on any of the issues that really mattered in this election—and he listed those issues, and where McCain stood on them, to great effect.
Drama Queen John McCain's poll numbers have been steadily slipping, both nationally and in several key swing states. His campaign, and many pundits, think that Gov. Sideshow's performance last night will stop the bleeding.

Because she didn't totally screw up.

But she still looked completely outmatched - and unprepared to be Vice President of the United States of America.

Republicans were so happy last night that Gov. Sideshow had done okay. And I'm sure the "base" was pleased.

But I'd bet money that at least a few undecided and Independent voters woke up this morning and - in the cold, sober light of day - realized that Sideshow actually didn't do that well last night. And when they think about a future that could be one of the most challenging and insecure times in the history of our country, the idea of McCain and Palin running the country could and should scare them to death.

The bottom line: John "Drama Queen" McCain and Sarah "Sideshow" Palin simply aren't presidential.

It's rather stunning, really. In one of the shakiest times since most of us have been alive, the Republican Party has chosen TWO people for the ticket who fail the simplest test of all - at least seeming like they have what it takes to be president of the country. Over the last two weeks, in the midst of an economic crisis, McCain has behaved like a fading prima donna gone off her meds. Or some boozer trying to hijack a school bus full of kids so he gets on the evening news. "Erratic" doesn't even begin to cover it. For God's sake, take the keys away from this guy before he gets behind the wheel.

And no matter how much Palin exceeded expectations last night, she seemed absolutely vacuous and immature next to her Democratic opponent.

Biden, on the other hand, seemed as presidential as Obama. It's a solid ticket in a time of crisis.

Joe Biden won the debate. And much more.


Garpu said...

Like I mentioned over on Liam's blog, I'm insulted after the debates that the GOP thinks I'd vote for Palin. As a person on LJ commented, Palin's fixing the cracks in the glass ceiling.

Liam said...

"Over the last two weeks, in the midst of an economic crisis, McCain has behaved like a fading prima donna gone off her meds. Or some boozer trying to hijack a school bus full of kids so he gets on the evening news."

Brilliantly put.

Jeff said...

I was gratified to see Joe stay grounded last night, even after Palin ambushed him right out of the box with that cheap "Can I call you Joe?" gimmick. I thought he really did a nice job. I just wished he'd unloaded on her for that remark about running up the white surrender flag in Iraq.

I'm really getting tired of her whole act, with the winks and Fargo-speak and everything else. Talk about schizophrenic. On the one hand McCain and Palin are desperately playing the populist role, goin' after those darned greedy wall-streeters, you betcha, while at the same time trotting out those old Gipper lines about government being the problem instead of the solution. Would-be maverick reformers who just want to step out of the way and let the private sector do its thing. When they say that the fundamentals of the economy are sound, they are extolling the creativity and productivity of American workers... whose jobs are increasingly getting sent overseas in favor of cheap labor.


I'd tell her to make up her mind if I thought she had one.

cowboyangel said...


It's been interesting watching women like my wife and other friends react to Palin. They seem even more put off by her antics than men. And I can understand why.

Whatever problems I have with Hillary Clinton, I can only imagine her staring in disbelief at what Palin has done to damage the image of women in government.

Luckily, there are many really impressive women, especially on the Democratic side, who could easily wind up in an Obama administration or running for president themselves at some point.

cowboyangel said...


Thanks. It's been fun/frightening trying to come up with images for the John McCain of the last two weeks. He's gone nuts.

Actually, he was already acting this way - it just became more apparent than ever in the last two weeks. Choosing Palin to begin with shows a terrifying lack of stability in his thought.

cowboyangel said...


Good points. I told La Reina last night that Biden could've done more to pound home that de-regulation has been the signature theme of the Republicans since Reagan, and that John McCain has been one of the true believers. And look where it's gotten us.

Also, I think he should've responded to her "There you go, looking back at the past" argument. What was she talking about - we're right smack in the middle of this crap! It's NOW.

But, having said that, I can't really complain. I thought he was very impressive. So few politicians can appear so knowledgeable AND be passionate and emotional in a way that most of us can relate to. Heck, even Biden has had problems with that. Also, I really liked the way he plainly stated that he had money now and had done well, but that he knew very well where he had come from. Edwards could've used some of that.

Garpu said...

That's just this the best the GOP could do, if they wanted a woman to lure away voters, who would've voted for Clinton? Hell, Rice would've been a better pick, even with her associations with the Bush administration. Come on, just what do they think women are in this country, mindless stepford wives, who dote on every word of their megachurch pastors? Wait, don't answer that. The answer to that rhetorical question is too damn depressing and will launch me into a stream of profanity at the GOP.

cowboyangel said...

Yeah, you answered your own question. And we won't go there.

Olympia Snowe is probably the most impressive Republican woman. She'd make a fine VP for someone. But she's pro-choice and pro gay rights, so that excluded her from a McCain ticket. But she's double infinitely more experienced and knowledgeable than Palin.

pbwiener said...

I was disgusted by the amount of attention major media in almost every venue paid to the debate circus event (though I looked forward to it too), and especially to what each candidate "needed to do to make a good showing." That's not news, it's duhhhh news, and hours of precious news time were wasted on these self-indulgent, useless, uninformative daydreams I can't help feeling that the media are not only complicit in making Palin viable, but that they need her, desperately. So far, the explosive, documented story about Palin's having Wasilla victims begin paying for their own rape kits when she was mayor has been absent from TV, as if no one dared bring it up, as if it wasn't proper news. Imagine Diane Sawyer mentioning it.... Blogs will never do the work of the mainstream media, which will still lead the masses to make frightened, stupified, game-show-like decisions, because reading blogs requires work and literacy.

cowboyangel said...

All great points, Paul. I do think the media's need for a horse race campaign has benefited Palin. And you're right about the "waht they need to do" commentary leading up to the debate. It's like the pre-game show for a football game.

And it was even worse afterwards. MSNBC, with the exception of Chris Matthews, did a crappy job that night. And his words were partly ruined by the obnoxious live crowd around him. CNN had like 20 people on their studio floor, bickering along striaght party lines, with not a word of real analysis. All about Palin not screwing up.

The rape-kit story is incredible and should be covered more.

Blogs will never do the work of the mainstream media, which will still lead the masses to make frightened, stupified, game-show-like decisions, because reading blogs requires work and literacy.

Yeah. All that blogs can really for is try and nudge the mass media to cover certain stories. Unfortunately, the media seems to be absorbing the worst aspects of blogs into their own programming: extensive personal opinion, often from people who don't know that much, and lack of journalistic professionalism. Like, maybe getting two sources for a story before breaking it.