Sarah Palin

Biden Won Overwhelmingly…BUT….

By on 10.2.08 | 11:18PM

I think Joe Biden just gave the greatest presidential campaign debate performance I have ever seen. He was absolutely commanding and absolutely convincing. But (and you'll have to read all the way down before I explain this) he gift-wrapped two big opportunities for the McCain campaign if the campaign is smart enough and tough enough to exploit them.

I thought Sarah Palin did about as well as she could. She wasn't bad. She wasn't great, by any means. But she was out of her league. Unfortunately, my opinion of her performance was HIGHER than that of my "test group." I watched with two women, both rather apolitical but both conservative, both of whom wanted her to do well, both in the mid-thirties to mid-forties age range. They thought she was absolutely godawful.

Young woman #1: "She's just not polished enough."

"ANSWER the question!"

and, at the end: "He smoked her. He smoked her. He smoked her."

Young woman #2: "She's just a calamity." and again at the end: "She was calamitous."

Sarah Got Her Groove Back

By on 10.2.08 | 10:54PM

Sarah Palin did as well if not better than anybody could have expected. This will help repair some of the damage that was done to her reputation over the past few weeks. She was likeable, spoke to the concerns of average Americans, defended McCain and went on the offense against Obama. She wasn't afraid to mix it up with Biden either, and she added good humor. Most of all, she seemed comfortable up there and avoided any major incident.

And I would add that Joe Biden also did what he needed to. He communicated his experience and knowledge, was an able attack dog, and most of all, remained respectful and averted a big gaffe.

I don't think this changes the big picture of the race much, but it will ease doubts about Palin.


By on 10.2.08 | 10:10PM

It sounded to me like Sarah Palin got the mame of the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan wrong. I heard McClellan, but it's McKiernan. Biden didn't call her on it though. I imagine the liberal blogs will make hay out of this, but think it's pretty thing gruel.

Joe Six Pack and the Hockey Moms

By on 10.2.08 | 9:19PM

Not a band, but Sarah Palin's first references to these Middle Americans tonight. Palin repeats McCain's Wall Street stuff but says "never again" and touts personal responsibility. Might not be as effective as Joe Biden's policy specifics and strawmen about deregulation.

Pre-Debate Thoughts

By on 10.2.08 | 9:02PM

My sense is that Sarah Palin has more to lose than she has to gain. If she exceeds expectations, it may help relieve doubts about her readiness, but
I would be surprised if McCain gets much of a bounce out of it, because the focus will soon shift back to the bailout plan. However, if she messes up, it will keep the focus on whether or not she's up to the job, and that's a loser for McCain. Fair or not, that's the field of play.

Joe Biden would be best off ignoring Palin as much as possible. He should just answer the questions and keep attacking McCain and try not to engage Palin and risk a backlash. But will he be able to keep himself from saying something really stupid? We shall see.

Palin needs to play to her strengths and recapture that likable authenticity that she had coming out of the convention, while at the same time, come across as confident in her answers. She can't afford another one of the Couric moments on such a large stage.

But at the end of the night, relax. Historically, the VP debate has very little influence on the outcome of the election, if any. Remember this?

Conservatives and Palin

By on 10.2.08 | 5:29PM

Matt Lewis, echoing Rush Limbaugh and Erick Erickson, takes conservative writers to task for daring to question Sarah Palin's readiness for higher office, even putting quotes around the word "conservative" as if to question their ideological purity. Given that I've been critical of Palin in recent weeks and have received some reader feedback on this myself, I'd like to address this issue.

Let me say right off the bat that I don't get out of bed every morning and ask myself what I can do to get Republicans elected. If that were the way I operated, I'd work for the party or join a campaign. Were I to merely say whatever is helpful to Republicans at any given moment, I would have no value as a writer. All I can do is tell the truth as I see it.

Huck and 2012

By on 10.2.08 | 11:36AM

Marc Ambinder gives Mike Huckabee a plausible shot at winning the Republican nomination in 2012, should Obama win this year. No chance. Although Huckabee defied expectations this year, at the end of the day, he was not able to expand his appeal beyond the evangelical base, and I don't see that changing much. His fiscal record is still atrocious and his national security views are erratic. He benefitted this year from coming out of nowhere and thus avoiding a lot of negative press until the very end, but this time around his record in Arkansas will get a lot more scrutiny. Also, it's hard to know who else would decide to run in four years and how that might shake up the race. This year, Huckabee was able to dominate among evangelicals because he was running in a heterodox field and none of his competitors were particularly appealing to that key constituency. But that would change if, say, Sarah Palin ran. She'd go back to Alaska after this election and get four more years of experience, and have time to study up on national and international issues and rack up more accomplishments.

Another Perspective

Alaskan Foreign Policy

By 10.2.08

Something to remember tonight: Sarah Palin, like any Alaska governor, is certainly more cosmopolitan in world outlook than her insular colleagues in the lower 48.

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