Caribou Barbie did better in the VP debate than she did with her interviews with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson. Most of the time she managed to put words together in a reasonably coherent manner, but it was still cringe-worthy. It was the follow-up questions from Couric that tripped her up before, and the debate format either didn't allow for that kind of follow-up question, or the moderator didn't want to go there. As a result, there were Republican spin doctors out there calling the debate a win for Palin.
For example, Pat Buchanan said:
"Sarah Palin was sensational tonight. She not only met the expectations, I think she wiped up the floor with Joe Biden, quite frankly. She is personable, she is young. She has got a sense of humor. She looked straight into the camera while Joe is talking to Gwen all evening long. I thought she didn't make a mistake, not a foot fault in the whole thing. ... I was astonished at how well she did. ... There are conservatives and Republicans across America who are ... breathing a sigh of relief. ... She has recaptured that magic she had out there at the convention. ... I think that McCain campaign, given the economic problems, I don't know if they can turn this around, but if it can be turned around, I think she has done it in the sense that of the four debaters we've seen, she was the most interesting, attractive of them all"
Notice how its all superficial stuff that Pat praises, not the substance of the debate. Also, note the reference to the convention because I'll get back to that.
Another example, David Brooks', "The Palin Rebound":
She held up her end of an energetic debate that gave voters a direct look at two competing philosophies. She established debating parity with Joe Biden. And in a country that is furious with Washington, she presented herself as a radical alternative.
By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.
A radical alternative? No, I don't think so. In order to be a radical alternative Palin and McCain are going to first have to prove that they actually understand what was wrong with the way the Bush administration governed during these last 8 years.
Remember when Couric asked her what is the "best and worst thing that Dick Cheney has done as Vice President?" Biden talked about shredding the constitution, condoning torture, the idea of a unitary executive where the Congress and the people have no power in a time of war and the President controls everything. However, Palin said the worst thing was the duck hunting accident. Then she praised Cheney for supporting the troops.
You can't be an alternative to Bush and Cheney until you can describe what they've done wrong.
Michelle Malkin wrote:
She was warm, fresh, funny, confident, energetic, personable, relentless, and on message. She roasted Obama’s flip-flops on the surge and tea-with-dictators declarations, dinged Biden’s bash-Bush rhetoric, challenged the blame-America defeatism of the Left, and exuded the sunny optimism that energized the base in the first place.
Jay Reding wrote:
Palin is not at all as polished as Biden, but she’s coming off as authentic. She doesn’t have full command of the debate, but she’s not just making things up like Biden has been all night.
Authentic? Really? Let us recall the previous authentic horrors:
I was hoping to see Caribou Barbie deliver another display of inept bullshit as she pretended to answer a question she really didn't have an answer for, which she did, but this time she did it much better. She was still one dimensional and still not really answering the questions. She even said something like, "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." Thus she dodged, picking and choosing her topics. She had studied her talking points and doggedly stuck to them. Toward the end she recycled and repeated a few.
Palin didn't even need to comprehend the questions, she ignored them and went down her checklist of speechifying rhetoric. Of course, this always happens in debates, but usually the politician can do a smoother segue into the point and then customize their stock bit enough to make it seem like an answer. In the end, what she did was work another convention speech into her answers and thus the problem with her answers was the same problem I had with her convention speech. One guy who explained that problem was Matt Taibbi, in his Rolling Stone article, Mad Dog Palin:
The truly disgusting thing about Sarah Palin isn't that she's totally unqualified, or a religious zealot, or married to a secessionist, or unable to educate her own daughter about sex, or a fake conservative who raised taxes and horked up earmark millions every chance she got. No, the most disgusting thing about her is what she says about us: that you can ram us in the ass for eight solid years, and we'll not only thank you for your trouble, we'll sign you up for eight more years, if only you promise to stroke us in the right spot for a few hours around election time.
-- Matt Taibbi, Mad Dog Palin
Matt Taibbi pointed out, in the above article, that we're being asked to judge character, not substance, which is what Jay Reding, Michelle Malkin, and Pat Buchanan were doing, but the character we are given is the product of a script that is designed to massage Republican partisan egos.
I'm not saying Biden was great, both of our master debaters ejaculated their gooey platitudes and sticky talking points all over the audience, but there was more substance to his answers.
How did I miss Rich Lowry's orgasmic "Little Starbursts"?
I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.
If you saw any utterly syrupy, iky, Republican spin on Palin that I missed, please share and leave a quote in my comments section.