Soob

Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Photo via AP

Eddie enlightened me of the McCain camps insistence that last nights debate entail shorter question and answer segments and less free interaction between the candidates. The effect was presumably to give Palin an edge as less time meant less rope with which she could hang herself. The effect on the debate was to render it anything but a debate. An hour and a half of rote political talking points that provided little insight into the intellectual and political measure of each of the candidates.

Joe Biden was oddly passive, almost careful in his delivery, lacking his usual theatrics and fiery delivery. His one slip of emotion came about when speaking of the death of his wife and child when insisting that he too was capable of identifying with the struggles of raising children. Else, it was a homogeneous point and counter point in defense of his running mate and offense against his opponents running mate. Though I got a good chuckle out of his assertion that he spends a good deal of time at Home Depot. Perhaps he mans the Nathan's hotdog stand on the weekends?
Excepting a jab about the Bridge to Nowhere, Biden didn't go after Palin in the fashion that I expected him to. No doubt his "handlers" (an odd word with an equine quality that has me imagining the candidates being brushed while chewing hay and sugar cubes before going on stage) encouraged him to stick to the issues, go after McCain and leave off Palin so as to not appear a "bully."

Sarah Palin at first appeared nervous, her delivery and manner stiff, scripted in measure and cadence. She appeared to quickly warm to the conversation (conversation not debate) and grew in confidence and fluidity in a quick enough fashion. Of course the problem is the majority of what she had to say was a combination of predictable, bland talking points and populist diversions.

Additionally the "aw shucks" quality of her speaking might be an effective political tool in roping in "Joe Six-Pack" but I found it irritating. No doubt a bit of theater and not the true measure of her eloquence but never the less, irritating given the context of the discussion was between two people who might be second in command of the United States. Save your "shout outs" and winks for less formal occasions.

Never the less, Sarah Palin performed to task as a political tool in the effort to get John McCain elected. She held her own, even given the ease of the "debate" and committed, beyond some confusion regarding General David McKiernan, no overt gaffes. In this the McCain campaign can breath a sigh of relief and move on to the next Presidential debate.

My personal conclusion regarding Sarah Palin:

Whatever Palin's value as a political advantage in getting John McCain elected, the ultimate role of the Vice President is to serve in the event that the President becomes incapacitated to the degree that he (or she) cannot effectively lead our country. In this respect Sarah Palin is simply not equipped to fill the position of commander in chief. Her abject ignorance of foreign policy is prohibitive enough to allow me to overlook her short tenure in executive command of Alaska and arrive at that conclusion with a great deal of conviction. Palin was a fine choice politically but a poor choice functionally.

19 comments:

The Historian said...

Soob-

A fair review of the debate as it unfolded. However you make no mention of the basket full of fully inaccurate statements by Biden on facts.

One conclusion missing in your review: Biden has no more abilitiy to be President than Palin. Thirty plus years as a Washington insider is of no value for that office.

Keep up the great work.

Adrian said...

Yes, obviously intimate familiarity with political issues is poor preparation for the Presidency. That's why the last eight years have been so successful.

"Palin was a fine choice politically but a poor choice functionally."

That sentence is remarkable. It's not that I don't agree, but what does it say about how we decide who we vote for that somebody can be totally unprepared for the office they're running for, but still be a good choice in terms of getting elected? It's like a massive joke on all the opinion-makers, how they continually talk about the political benefits she brings to the GOP ticket while noting that she doesn't know any Supreme Court decisions of the last thirty years.

The one moment that stood out to me was when Palin said that the Obama/Biden plan for Iraq is "waving a white flag of surrender". Because apparently our country didn't suffer enough from the stabbed-in-the-back myth over Vietnam, we need another 30 years of it over Iraq. But it's the price McCain is willing to pay in order to get elected. Because he puts country first!

The Red Son said...

Two moments stick out in my mind.

1) When she winked at the camera.

2) When she talked about going to a soccer game and talking to parents.

Why do they stick out? Because I almost vomited.


Historian-
"Thirty plus years as a Washington insider is of no value for that office."

Uhhh, if experience isn't of value then what is?

chirol said...

Couldn't agree more with you soob. Unless there's going to be a swimsuit competition, I don't think Palin has much to offer the GOP ticket. McCain I truly believe in, so unfortunately whoever he picks will get my vote. I think his instinct was right but she isn't ready yet. Better to have just taken Jindal who has just as much experience, if not more and has an equally marketable "minority" status.

dick stanley said...

I think you're short-sighted. I thought Sarah did a great job, will make a great veep and, moreover, a fine president. It would be a pleasure to have her as president, far better than most of the recent crop, and outstandingly so compared to Barry. Shudder.

No governor, with the exception of Reagan, ever ran for the office(s) with any grasp of foreign policy. What she has is judgement, enough, for instance, not be wowed by the global warmists, but to recognize that the earth has gone through climate cycles for millions of years, and maybe we shouldn't cripple out energy production and industry just to satisfy the UN, or Al Gore.

I loved it when she turned aside some of Gwen Awful's questions. I'm fed up with candidates for the highest offices deferring to the talking pinhead of the evening.

Biden has experience, but he's also a serial liar. How can the so-called foreign policy master start talking about how we drove Hezbollah from Lebanon? What was he talking about? His own dreams, I guess.

If Barry wins, look for Sarah to be the Republican presumptive 2012 nominee. But it would be altogether better for her to succeed Mac.

Ymarsakar said...

There is no preparation for the Presidency. ALl you can do is gamble. The odds may favor you or not, but you will still crash out depending on the quality of the coin toss. The opposite is also true.

Character and experience only matter in the sense that they provide better or worse odds for a potential President.

The one moment that stood out to me was when Palin said that the Obama/Biden plan for Iraq is "waving a white flag of surrender". Because apparently our country didn't suffer enough from the stabbed-in-the-back myth over Vietnam, we need another 30 years of it over Iraq. But it's the price McCain is willing to pay in order to get elected. Because he puts country first!

It is an issue of patriotism. Some people believe that political differences shouldn't get in the way of wars that threaten the economic stability, lives, and futures of entire nations and peoples.

Given that most of the hardliners on this subject are Vietnam veterans, you don't really have an argument here. It's just bitter angst that people can still hold to a belief that you belief is like a 9/11 conspiracy theory.

While you're feeling upset over that, Sarah Palin and many other individuals, large and small, have been trying to avert a defeat by America or her allies. While it is true that there are many individuals, American and foreign, who do not care what happens to those that have been defeated by factions that have taken thousands of civilians out to be summarily executed, simply because those civilians dared to seek out a better life through mutual interest with America. Such individuals exist, but they only matter if defeat occurs. Iraq is not defeated and nor is America. Until one or both of them are incapable of resistance, people like Sarah Palin will continue to fight for a future that isn't dictated solely on the quality of how much cruelty and ruthlessness the victors have.

Complaints are no solution to the problem. Biden complaining about how we need a timed withdrawal is nothing but nattering insect noise compared to the actual accomplishments of Petraeus and the correct relationship between civilian authority and military power Sarah reinforced. When Sarah says the commanders on the ground know what is going on and will tell the civilian authorities, like her, when things will have reached a political objective, that is not the same as Democrats saying listen to retired generals about more troops, and then when Bush got more troops, cause the real generals on the ground told him it was a plan that could work, did a 180 and said "don't listen to Generals like 'Betrayus'".

Myths about being stabbed in the back is all and nice and good to demagogue about, but it has nothing to do with the actual pain and suffering inflicted and received by people in war.

Cassandra at Villainous Company posted that the debate should convince those that felt negatively towards Sarah that she is capable. But I doubted that, and some of that doubt is reinforced here.

The differences are not superficial, you see. They are fundamental in the same aspect as the fundamental difference between losing in Iraq and winning in Iraq. Those that want to complain and play the blame game are constitutionally incapable of actually working the solutions out.

It's human nature to worry and complain about disasters and loss, but policy makers and leaders don't have that luxury except in their few private moments, if any still exist.

Leaders must lead and that means doing things and figuring stuff out, not going into the past and picking things up like Vietnam and using it to blame people in the present. The dead in Vietnam are dead. The living in Iraq can only remain that way through victory, through having the victor be us and not any of America's enemies.

The degree of polarization or disgust that Sarah Palin evicts is natural for a political individual whose views are so diametrically opposed, and inflexible, on the issue of letting good men and women die simply because winning would cost too much for America. And it's not just winning in Iraq or war. It's winning on the philosophical difference between government and chaos theory. Between class warfare and counter-insurgency as practiced by the Marine Corps. Between terrorism and the use of fear to force people to adopt your political solutions and mutual interest and cooperation to resolve financial and security disasters.

There can be no greater difference than the one Sarah Palin represents to the American body politic. Everyone's views on this issue becomes locked into a path set by their own personal perspective box.

Ymarsakar said...

I loved it when she turned aside some of Gwen Awful's questions.

Gwen's unprofessional attempt to hide her conflict of interest with Obama from the McCain Campaign reminds me of the photographer who took pictures of McCain for the Atlantic, if I am recalling correctly.

There must be a great need for self-preservation and the saving of their own skin to motivate people to such extents that they would violate their cherished professional standards of conduct simply for political points.

This is consistent with the philosophical difference between classical liberals and Biden's Balkanization philosophy/classwarfare/nihilism. When political identity becomes the only identity you have, then saving that identity justifies any means, even the desperate.

Ymarsakar said...

Better to have just taken Jindal who has just as much experience, if not more and has an equally marketable "minority" status.

The logic works like this. If Jindal had more experience and an equally marketable minority status as Sarh, yet Sarah was chosen for her political points as a woman over Jindal, then this means that Sarah was chosen because she had more experience than Jindal, given the premise that McCain needed a pick with minority status advantages. If Jindal and Sarah both had the same minority advantage in points, then the only thing differentiating them would be experience. However, if Sarah was not picked for her minority points, then Jinda's minority points would not matter at all.

Adrian said...

"What she has is judgement, enough, for instance, not be wowed by the global warmists, but to recognize that the earth has gone through climate cycles for millions of years, and maybe we shouldn't cripple out energy production and industry just to satisfy the UN, or Al Gore."

Dick, given Palin's apparent belief that people coexisted with dinosaurs, I'd be surprised if she thinks the earth has even existed for millions of years.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-palinreligion28-2008sep28,0,1440865.story

Eddie said...

She is a hack with seriously questionable judgment and a nasty aversion to transparency (How many secret e-mail accounts do you need to conduct business you don't want revealed to the public if it comes down to an investigation?). Her record in Alaska is as thin as the "oatmeal" (Gruel) they used to serve us out to sea.

While Biden is no prize piece (Hello Jim Webb or Evan Bayh), I respect his knowledge and his judgment (he was right about Pakistan for example, especially relying too much on Musharraf) in a far greater capacity than Palin.

McCain is running a campaign based on tactics, where as Obama is about strategy (we'll see which wins but I sure hope McCain and co. have a better idea than just running Wright, Ayers and Rezko ads over the next month and winning that way... newsflash.. that won't work, plus there's Keating, his wife's drug abuse, lies and get out of jail free card, his record of being wrong on Iraq on everything but the Surge, etc).

Whether you agree or disagree with their policies (and I disagree plenty with both), Palin's utter lack of suitability for the Presidency (and to me, VP does not matter, its about her fitness to lead as McCain is old and should be disqualified as it stands on that too) should be a far greater issue than it is.

Quayle may have been pilloried as daft but was a good person with a solid legislative record and reasonable quality of mind. Palin is a power at any cost pol in a skirt.

Jay@Soob said...

historian, yep Biden was being, to a degree, Biden. The debate, for me, was about Palin. I can assure you I will not be casting a ballot for Obama. I was looking for a last hope chance to get behind Palin as completing the McCain ticket. Sadly, I didn't find it.

Jay@Soob said...

adrian,

Yep we've come a long way baby! Superficiality rules our popular culture. Why not our political culture too? 2012 will bring us a reality show in which all four candidates live in a house and are recorded 24 hrs a day. First day of the last week before the election there will be a talent show and the American public will vote via text message for the best at show. The winner will receive a recording deal (Sony Records, I hear,) trip to Monticello (where they can laugh at the "quaintness" of the early Republic) and a 4 year stay in the White House.

Jay@Soob said...

red son, yep that whole bit was very irritating.

Jay@Soob said...

Sir Chirol,

You and I find ourselves in very similar boats. Jindal or perhaps Romney given the economic crisis we're seeing might have been (hindsight being 20/20 of course) an excellent choice.

Mr. Stanley, I too was puzzled by Biden's account of America and France driving Hezbollah out of Lebanon (I'm damn near certain Hezbollah is an integral part of Lebanon's political system. I could be wrong, or perhaps Biden was, as you say speaking of a different reality.)

As for turning aside a moderators questions, well that's half the problem I have with her performance. And I'm not buying the Gwen Ifill bias deal.

Jay@Soob said...

Eddie, I disagree regarding both McCains age (way too played out, Reagan was what, a year younger?) and Palin being a Clintonesque power grabber. I think she's effectively won the political lottery and is trying her ass off to make it pass. Who wouldn't in her position? Never the less she hasn't got what it takes to functionally reign over the US executive branch.

Eddie said...

Over 70 should disqualify IMHO. I'm sorry but its simply too much of a job to be betting against the averages. Same thing in sports, I'm sick of these old has-beens that are more figureheads in most cases than anything else. If coaches start slipping after 70 or so, I'm pretty damn sure presidents will as well. For every one Reagan/Auerbach, you've got numeorus Bobby Bowden/Leahy/Vermeils/Lenny Wilkens/Byrds/Doles.

As far as Palin goes, her record in AK is that of a very opportunistic pol with an eye towards grander prizes. There is no doubt IMHO she knew she had a shot in the future, she just may have been rushed a bit. The unrestrained ambition is there, especially with the desperate legal tactics she's waging in AK to stop that ethics report from coming out Friday and the sheer number of lies she's willing to recite on a regular basis about her record in AK.

I know you disdain him but Huckabee would have been a better pick than Jindal, Romney or Palin. Jindal is a no-frills extremist on social issues and I don't think that would play well. I like him and think he's creating a miracle in LA, but he is not destined for domestic politics with a social issue record and views like he has. Romney is a tax cheat (he spent years helping companies shift assets overseas as well as creating offshore accounts to dodge taxes) and would have been pilloried on economic issues even though he's right about most of them.

Huckabee is genial to a fault with a fairly good record in Arkansas, especially in tough economic times. He connects well with people, especially at a time like this. He would not have seemed as out of his depth as Palin.

Fun as always. I can only imagine the personality cult around her as president.

Yours Truly said...

HERE COMES THE CIRCUS & ITS CLOWNS!!!

Ymarsakar said...

Dick, given Palin's apparent belief that people coexisted with dinosaurs, I'd be surprised if she thinks the earth has even existed for millions of years.


Whose mind is really closed here? Hers or yours.

Eddie said...

Ah, here we have the Ifil explanation.

http://harpers.org/archive/2008/10/hbc-90003659

She was sufficiently cowed by the McCain camp's tactics that she let Palin (and as well Biden) do what they wanted, ignoring questions, giving unrelated answers, etc.