POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Klein (TIME): Palin Was Fine, But This Debate Was No Contest

Posted by Lew Weinstein on October 12, 2008

Joe Klein writes in TIME (thanks to KARIN for the article) …

  • Sarah Palin was animated and confident. 
  • She displayed an ability, for the first time since her convention speech, to repeat with a fair amount of credibility, the formulations that her handlers had given her. 
  • She also was allowed to do fine by Joe Biden, who never really challenged her—his criticisms were always directed at John McCain—and never exposed the obvious shallowness of her knowledge on most topics.
  • Sarah Palin’s high-energy performance in the vice-presidential debate was the most glaring demonstration—since George W. Bush’s performances in 2000—of how little you can get away with knowing and still survive one of these things
  • Her relentless opacity was impressive. She refused to answer the questions where she hadn’t been prepped with answers and when Biden pointed out that an early question had been on deregulation not taxes, she flashed: “I may not answer the questions the way you and the moderator want to hear, but I’m gonna talk straight to the American people.”
  • Talk straight she didn’t, with only a few exceptions. She talked talking points. And when the talking points concerned areas where she didn’t know diddly, she didn’t talk them very convincingly.
  • she didn’t understand the points she was talking about (on the vice president’s constitutional powers, for example).

Joe Biden, by contrast, demonstrated a real knowledge of the issues in question.

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