Friday, October 03, 2008

"Clichés and Tired Attack Lines"

I think the editorial in today’s New York Times says it all about Sarah Palin’s performance last night in the vice presidential debate - a performance dominated by “clichés and tired attack lines” and punctuated by her embarrassing attempt to come across as all folksy by winking at the camera!

Thankfully, Palin’s performance, though “likable” to many, did nothing to clinch undecided votes for her running mate, Arizona Sen. John McCain, according to a McClatchy poll.

“Before the debate, those same undecided voters were leaning 56 percent to 44 percent for McCain,” reports Ericka Bolstad of McClatchy Newspapers. “The day after the debate, the numbers tilted 52 percent to 48 percent for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.

According to Clifford Young, a senior vice president at Ipsos Public Affairs, “It’s suggesting an overall tendency of undecideds toward Obama, so it is significant. We’re catching an underlying trend that’s going on.”

Following is the New York Times’ editorial.


We cannot recall when there were lower expectations for a candidate than the ones that preceded Sarah Palin’s appearance in Thursday night’s vice-presidential debate with Joseph Biden. After a series of stumbling interviews that raised serious doubts even among conservatives about her fitness to serve as vice president, Ms. Palin had to do little more than say one or two sensible things and avoid an election-defining gaffe.

By that standard, but only by that standard, the governor of Alaska did well. But Ms. Palin never really got beyond her talking points in 90 minutes, mostly repeating clichés and tired attack lines and energetically refusing to answer far too many questions.

When it came to domestic issues, Ms. Palin mainly relied on enthusiasm and humor, talking about hockey moms, soccer moms and Joe Sixpack almost as often as she used the word “maverick” to describe Mr. McCain or herself. But she offered virtually no detail — beyond the Republican mantra of tax cuts — for how she and Mr. McCain would address the financial crisis or help Americans avoid foreclosure or what programs they would cut because of the country’s disastrous fiscal problems.

Ms. Palin’s primary tactic was simply to repeat the same thing over and over: John McCain is a maverick. So is she. To stay on that course, she had to indulge in some wildly circular logic: America does not want another Washington insider. They want Mr. McCain (who has been in Congress for nearly 26 years). Ms. Palin condemned Wall Street greed and said she and Mr. McCain would “demand” strict oversight. In virtually the next breath, she said government should “get out of the way” of American business.

In the end, the debate did not change the essential truth of Ms. Palin’s candidacy: Mr. McCain made a wildly irresponsible choice that shattered the image he created for himself as the honest, seasoned, experienced man of principle and judgment. It was either an act of incredible cynicism or appallingly bad judgment.


And then there’s the following humorous graphic from

Recommended Off-site Links:
She Still Knows Nothing - Fred Kaplan (Slate, October 2, 2008).
Where is Joe Six-Pack? Is He Single? - Sharon Theimen (Associated Press, October 3, 2008).
Palin’s Alternative Universe - Bob Herbert (New York Times, October 4, 2008).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Sarah Palin’s “Theocratic Fascist” Affiliations
All Those Community Organizers? Who Needs Them!
It Won’t Last
The Shadow is Real
An American Prayer
Progressives and Obama (Part 1)
Progressives and Obama (Part 2)
Progressives and Obama (Part 3)

Image: J. Scott Applewhite.


Anonymous said...

What would Joe Biden's debate flow chart look like?

Michael J. Bayly said...

Well, judging by his responses and their delivery, it would look a lot different.

For a start, there would be no ignoring of questions and no "You betcha!" or "Do something cute" directives. Then again, that winning smile of his was kinda cute!



Terry Nelson said...

I was impressed by Joe.

Anonymous said...

Heh, at least Biden and Palin rate a flow chart. Mr. Bush, bless his heart, no flow chart needed!