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  • Friday, October 03, 2008


    Odds and Ends post-VP Debate

    Sarah Palin easily exceeded expectations for her in the VP debate. Or at least the parts I saw. Her "folksy" style began to grate on me after a while and I left for significant portions after the first half hour.

    Whether a deliberately developed persona or not, Palin's "I'm one of you" public face is the result of Ronald Reagan's influence on politics. Much as I despise almost the entirety of Reagan's policies, many Americans apparently liked his easy manner and communication style. He lied, deliberately misrepresented, or forgot facts and events but, shucks, he made it seem like he just forgot to pick up the milk on the way home from work rather than distorting critical information and decisions related to his Presidency. In the latter years, it's possible that Alzheimer's was affecting him but that hardly accounts for the vast majority.

    The real question is whether many Americans will think that style is preferable to substance and competence. Palin's responses were often full of deliberately self-conscious "hockey mom" references, catchphrases and isolated facts obviously prepared for her. Biden had some moments like that but he also showed comfortable comprehension of the information for the most part.

    I admit I'm biased toward the Obama/Biden side but I also have to say I'm not inclined to believe what either Dems or Repubs say. At the national level, both represent elite money interests to a greater or lesser degree. Yet I heard the most incredible things from Palin, statements that obviously contradicted McCain's long record and beliefs up to that point. The clearest pandering I saw from the stage easily came from Palin.

    In most other election years, a VP candidate is hardly an important factor to consider. Considering McCain's history of serious illness and his age at 72, Palin becomes more of a factor on their ticket. The odds of her ascending to the Presidency if elected are higher than usual. This is why she is being scrutinized so thoroughly.

    I'm not impressed by her abilities so far and I've seen much that worries me.

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