The much anticipated Vice Presidential debate is now past us and I have to say I’m relieved. Relieved because quite frankly Sarah Palin has been an unknown quantity up to this point, but no longer. Last night she proved to me, and millions of Americans, that she really isn’t ready to be VP.
I give her major props for actually putting in a credible performance in last night’s debate. Stylistically she was friendly, approachable and down to earth. Unlike McCain with Obama, Palin looked Biden in the eye, and gave him credit for his positions on several occasions. But as the debate wore on, it was clear Palin was speaking from wrote. She didn’t answer the questions put to her, she mispronounced critical names and couldn’t keep up with Biden on important topics like nuclear proliferation and the economy.
The people this morning that are telling you Sarah won the debate are the same ones who went into the event white knuckled. They were scared beyond belief that the “Katie Couric” Palin would show up. You know, the one that couldn’t form complete thoughts, couldn’t name one periodical she’s read and didn’t know any Supreme Court decisions beyond Roe v Wade. So expectations were sufficiently lowered that supporters now feel confident saying Palin “mopped the floor” with Biden. It simply isn’t so, and in fact, just the opposite happened.
Here are just some reasons why Palin lost last night’s debate:
• Calling Afghanistan’s commander McKiernan “General McClellan” repeatedly and then lying about what he said on how an Iraqi surge “won’t work” in Afghanistan.
• Wanting to give the Vice President even “more power” in the US Senate. Biden killed her on this particular question. Palin’s surrogates disagreed with her take. The answer Biden gave was frank and reassuring. Palin’s reinforced the Bush policy of the Unitary Executive.
• Misunderstanding and then glossing over questions about a nuclear Iran to get to prepared answers to her own questions on a completely different subject.
• Over-use of “maverick”. She said it like 5 times in the last 15 minutes, until Biden had simply enough.
• Her rambling, incoherent answer on climate change. She clearly doesn’t understand or won’t admit the problem.
• It’s “blunders” Sarah, not “blenders”.
• “I’ve only been at this what, five weeks?” That admission was a huge mistake. It will be played in TV and radio ads just like Obama’s multiple “McCain was right” lines. Yes, she has only been at this five weeks and it shows.
• She decries the media “filter” and wants to answer more of American’s questions directly but won’t agree to a general press conference. What’s up with that?
If the first and only Vice Presidential debate had been purely about style over substance then yes, Palin might have won. Americans however, were looking for cues to reassure them that Palin deserves the position that John McCain awarded her. They were not simply watching to see Wasilla Sarah’s folksy mannerism, “gosh darn-its” and winks to the camera. They came to learn if Palin had the stuff to take over as leader of the free world should something happen to a 72 year old man with a history of health problems. They didn’t get what they wanted.