Why Palin Lost

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.


  1. Excellent recap Ged. Watching your tweets last night was the perfect accompaniment for what will go down as one more victory on the road to an Obama/Biden White House!

  2. Wonderful, this post is music to my hears. Even as a Canadian I watched the debate closely because in the mainland, we lack that kind of political smacking (most probably by a serious lack of leadership from the future prime minister). Simply put, Palin couldn’t stand against Biden, especially after the numerous “blenders” she did.

  3. She said Maverick 9 times. We counted. And actually, once she referred to herself and McCain as “Mavericks”.

    She also winked 3 times and said “bless his soul” twice, to which me and my vociferous roller derby group audibly snorted every time.

    Re: “glossing over questions… to get to prepared answers to her own questions on a completely different subject.”

    Did you notice almost eery time she did that, she’d say something like “(insert short answer) but I want to talk about (new topic)”?

    One of the girls in our group would yell out (complete with accent) “Because I rehearsed an answer for this one!”


    We played your bingo by the way. You forgot “Joe Sixpack”, “Todd”, “Um” and “JOHN MCCAIN”! Why was everything John McCain’s plan or John McCain’s policy? Try “we” out for a change, hooker! You’re not his administrative assistant, you GET HIS JOB when he croaks, and you need to be able to think for yourself.

    End of rant.

  4. For me the biggest “blender” was Palin saying that Obama still can’t admit that the surge worked. Not only has Obama said that it worked, McCain quoted him on that in the first debate.

  5. When asked by Ifill, “So there is nothing you have offered as a candidate that you wouldn’t take off the table?”

    Palin: “How long have I been at this, like, 5 weeks? So there hasn’t been a whole lot that I’ve promised…”

    No. You know what? Just because Ifill asked the question directly to you does not, in any way, separate you from your ticket. The promises of McCain are also your promises. The statements and the policies pushed by McCain should be your statements and policies. So regardless of how long you’ve been on this ticket, be it 5 weeks or 5 hours, you’re a part of the campaign and the promises made by your running mate need to be shared by you.

  6. Terry, a most excellent point. Biden constantly referred to “Barrack and I”. Although Palin often referred to a “McCain Presidency” or a McCain Administration, she didn’t really make the connection of “John and Sarah”. Great point.

    On a side note, here’s one of the incredible sentences she said last night: “That is not so, but because that’s just a quick answer, I want to talk about, again, my record on energy — your ticket’s energy ticket also. I think that this is important to come back to, with that energy policy plan, again, that was voted for in ’05.”

    Granted a little out of context, but it’s really just hard to believe that so many people think she’s the best thing since sliced bread.

  7. Great fun. Sadly, we could have Sarah and Joe talk 8 hours a day for the next month over coffee on C-span and what would it settle? Although it would be quite entertaining, it does nothing unless one of them makes a major mistake, which they probably won’t. It’s mental masturbation. What matters is the Obama/Biden/Democratic party’s written platform vs. the McCain/Palin/Republican party’s written platform. They are published free on many websites. As a minimum go to Obama’s website and read his pdf “blueprint for change” and McCain’s website and read his issues pages. Detailed positions on every major issue facing the US today. Read them. Get someone to explain the platforms to you if you need to. Ask the next campaign worker who contacts you to provide you with these materials or a summary pamphlet. It’s all free. You have no excuse.

    Principled support of one ticket or the other should begin with this. The next step would be to request from the campaigns summaries of their public records. Of course you don’t have to do this. But you should.

    I would be ashamed if I was voting without having read their platforms. I’m not a very popular person lately because every single person that’s brought up presidential politics lately with me gets asked if they’ve done this. I’ll let you guess what their answer always is. Red faces. “I don’t have the time to do that!” But these same people have the time to watch TV 12 hours a week. There are people that risk death to acquire the democratic rights we have in the US. And what do we do with it here? We practice convenience store democracy. If it’s not on TV, I can’t be bothered. Let me focus on Obama’s mole or Sarah Palin’s accent or John McCain’s scars or Biden’s hair plugs. That’s how I’ll make my decision.

  8. Krystyn said, “Did you notice almost eery time she did that, she’d say something like ‘(insert short answer) but I want to talk about (new topic)’?”

    Yes, and it was infuriating. You know she was told, “If you’re asked to comment on a topic that we haven’t trained you to answer, ask to talk about something we have.”

    She was trained to give 10 or 12 rote responses and that’s what she did. A 17-year-old could have been trained to do the same thing.

  9. bad news ged! ha! gotta love you democrats!

    Attorney Philip J. Berg, the former head of the Montgomery County.
    Pennsylvania Democratic Party and a former member of the Democratic
    State Convention and, reportedly a Hillary Clinton supporter, wanted to
    learn the truth from the myriad of rumors that also suggested that Sen.
    Obama may also have been a citizen of Indonesia. The only consistent
    part of the story was Stanley Ann returning to Hawaii to claim he had
    been in the United States and was a US citizen. In his ruling, Judge
    Surrick noted that the “…cause came before the United States District
    Court Judge, Honorable R. Barclay Surrick on defendant Barack Hussein
    Obama and the Democratic National Committee’s motion to dismiss.” The
    order continued, “Having reviewed the motion and plaintiff’s opposition
    to said motion and for good cause shown, it is hereby ordered that the
    motion to dismiss pursuant to F.R.C.P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) is denied.
    It is further order of this court that the following discovery is to be
    turned over to plaintiff within three (3) days.

    1. Obama’s “vault” version (certified copy of his “original” long
    version) birth certificate; and 2. a certified copy of Obama’s
    Certificate of Citizenship; 3. a certified copy of Obama’s oath of

    In his lawsuit, Berg demanded a copy of Obama’s Certificate of
    Citizenship, a document Obama must have applied for to regain his
    citizenship—which was lost in Indonesia. He will have that document only
    if the proper paperwork was filed with the US State Department when
    Obama returned to Hawaii in 1971 since that is the only way Obama could
    regain his US “natural born” status. Berg is convinced that Obama was
    never naturalized in the United States after his return. Obama returned
    to his maternal grandparents in Hawaii without his mother. Since she is
    the only one who could have filed for the reinstatement of his
    citizenship, it is unlikely it ever happened. If it did, his Certificate
    of Citizenship would affirm his right to seek the office of President.
    Without it, Barack Obama is just another resident alien who can’t
    legally hold his seat in the US Senate.

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