The Broad is Back!

October 2, 2008

Biden vs Palin: Now That’s More Like It!

Filed under: American culture,politics,Uncategorized — by maggiec @ 11:46 pm

Just finished watching the VP debate, and I must say, I am impressed.  It was livelier than the presidential debate, and I actually felt like the candidates were engaging with one another and with the moderator.  Once in a while.

And it needs must be said.  Sarah Palin impressed me.  She barely flubbed a line.  She spoke in full sentences.  She gave good soundbites.  She was obviously coached, but she’s one quick study, I give her that.  She mostly looked poised and confident, and there were times when she looked downright relaxed.

From what I’ve been reading and seeing about Palin for the past five weeks, she’s good at touching people where they are easily touched.  Just today in class, discussing this evening’s planned debates, we discussed the aspects of rhetoric: ethos, pathos and logos.  We knew going in that Palin was strong on pathos–the ability to sway an audience’s emotions.  And she was.  She also knows how to use her on-camera experience as a sports reporter to excellent advantage.  She looked straight into that camera and spoke to Mr. and Mrs. and Ms America.  At one point she even referred to “Joe Six Pack,” a term I learned in journalism class. 

What struck me as odd, though, was that I was taught that Joe Six Pack is the slightly condescending term we use for the people who were going to read our stories–the average American who just wants to go home after work, drink that six pack and watch some news, maybe read a paper.  Palin managed to sound like she was including herself in the Joe Six Pack stereotype.  But that nuance is probably not going to be picked up by the people she was addressing.  She knew going in that people like me were already dismissing her. 

There were times I found myself agreeing with her, which is not too strange, as I’m not a strict party member.  I’m a Democrat by default, but I am more Libertarian in my views than anything else, and in some ways I think Palin is of more of an independent mind than many Republicans.  How many times did she call herself a maverick tonight?

But I don’t think she won.  I thought Biden was very good, as well, and indeed, his experience showed.  He must have read the pundits’ advice that he not call her Sarah, but Governor Palin lest he appear sexist and condescending.  She asked to call him Joe and did so.  He called McCain “John,” Obama “Barack,” but spent the evening calling her “Governor Palin”.  As she was calling him Joe, the continual “Governor Palin” did come across as a little stiff, but that filter between his brain and his mouth was firmly in place.  There was no embarrassing sound bite that will haunt him in years to come.  There was a perfect catch in his voice when he was discussing the loss of his wife and daughter and the terrible injuries suffered by his sons, which rang true and felt unscripted.  Every parent in the listening audience empathized with him at that moment. 

He touched more emotional notes in his brilliant closing statement.  (You can find the transcript of the entire debate here.)  He used pathos to great effect in his closing and left all of us listening in my house with lumps in our throats.  He roused us to action and to change by reminding us of what we’re capable of doing as a nation.

Palin hit some good notes in her answers, as well.  Although I thought she horribly overworked the energy angle, her shout outs to teachers were very much appreciated by the three teachers in my house.  Sometimes I do feel like I will get my reward in heaven, ’cause I sure ain’t getting it here, at least not a monetary one.   And when she spoke of parents at their kids’ soccer games, of people sitting at their kitchen tables, worrying, she was painting images that millions could see themselves in.  She wasn’t always answering the question, but she was certainly catching people’s attention.

Her closing statement was disappointing.  I expected better rhetoric.  The one part of the debate that could be totally scripted, and she didn’t blow me away.  Oh, she  trotted out the words I expected to hear–freedom, fighting, change–but the delivery was stiff and stilted, probably because it was the one part of the debate that had been totally scripted.

Overall, though, I never got bored by this debate as I did with the presidential debate.  Perhaps because it’s the first time I’ve really listened to either candidate, it was less old hat than the presidential debate.  I very much enjoyed watching these two spar, and I think they enjoyed it on some level as well.  They seemed to like each other, or at least respect one another.  Both do have records of being able to cross party lines to get things done, and I think they are sincere in their desire to put America first. 

Too bad there’s only one vice presidential debate.  But let’s hope that the next presidential debate will prove as lively as this did.  This wasn’t a perfect debate, but at least I felt like the two debaters were actually in the same room together this time.


1 Comment »

  1. Well, I listened to the debate and then all the anchors, co-anchors and pundits have their say and your comments rang more true to me then all the rest! I agree, Palin impressed. Although I wonder how many of her words were really HER words. But she’s smooth, I’ll give her that! In terms of the factual analysis, from what I heard they both uttered truths, half truths and inaccuracies. Neither candidate is in favor of gay marriage which in my simple minded view defies separation of church and state! Palin’s stance of “tolerance” enraged me! How condescending can you be? As far as her comments regarding teachers, put your money where your mouth is! Enough said, I feel a rant coming on! Thanks for your insights! Teach on sister!

    Comment by mimi — October 3, 2008 @ 11:00 am |Reply

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