[Springboard] The British take on the VP debate
synergi at yahoo.com
Wed Oct 8 19:28:47 EDT 2008
I'm still trying to digest the enormity of the Republican meltdown. Especially since Republican deregulation has taken down our global financial system with it.
Either McCain is so incredibly stuck in some kind of Reaganism that he's totally blind to global reality, or he's so totally cynical that he has knowingly bowed to Karl Rove and chosen Sarah Palin to literally take his candidacy and his party down in flames. The anti-Palin reaction among undecided and independent voters is a major negative, and one of many major negatives, for the entire ticket. What could he be thinking? And if he's NOT thinking, what does that say about his ability to rise above Palin's level of critical analysis of global/national trends?
And now for some refreshing Brit wisdom:
The British take on the VP debate
Apparently the Brits don't have their heads in the sand!
Flirting her way to victory
Sarah Palin's farcical debate performance lowered the standards for both
female candidates and US political discourse
The Guardian (London) Friday October 03 2008 18:30 BST
At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable,
preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a
male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made
such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the
voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked.
Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for
female candidates and American political discourse that, with her
newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now
deemed to have performed acceptably last night. By any normal
standard, including the ones applied to male presidential
candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the
astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually
answering the queries put to her. "I may not answer the questions
that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk
straight to the American people and let them know my track record also,"
And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she
was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack
lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own
It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely
described as such is that too many American pundits don't even try to
judge the truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric
they are paid to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as
interpreters of a mythical mass of "average Americans" who they both
venerate and despise.
In pronouncing upon a debate, they don't try and determine whether a
candidate's responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she
is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the
financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The
criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin
could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether
urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public
that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor,
There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic
beaming and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her
personality managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her
answers last night. It's worth reading the transcript of the
encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said
was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden's comments about how
the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush
administration, and how McCain will continue Bush's policies:
Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again.
You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush
administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans
what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned
education, and I'm glad you did. I know education you are
passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and
god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? ... My brother, who
I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a
shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary
School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.
Evidently, Palin's pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of
speaking on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to
simply disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points
or cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky
average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick - and dishonesty.
Asked what her achilles heel is - a question she either didn't
understand or chose to ignore - she started in on how McCain chose her
because of her "connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom,
one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs
child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those
None of Palin's children, it should be noted, is heading off to
college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old
daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and
self-described "fuckin' redneck". Palin is a woman who can't even
tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own
life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only
vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What
kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is?
That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn't show how
high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.
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