Friday, October 3, 2008

After the second debate

I'll confess, I didn't watch the whole thing, I flipped back and forth (a lot more after the Cubs embarrassed themselves). I have been reading some of the takeaway quotes and some of the analysis, and it would appear that my opinion is pretty much floating in the mainstream. Palin wasn't as bad as she was in her various interviews over the last couple of weeks, which might seem to embolden the base, but it was not enough to turn around anyone who finds her rankly unqualified.

Her curious habit of smiling through even the most serious issues was disquieting to me; I believe it's her version of the Bush smirk, and I've seen quite enough of that. If you look at substance, she did a reasonably good job of parroting the usual McCain talking points.

But, as I pointed out yesterday, debates are decided on style and gaffes. There were no real gaffes from either Palin or Biden. As for style, to me, Biden appeared potentially presidential, Palin more lie a chirpy tour guide ("now we see the Empire State Building out the left side of the bus, now we cut taxes to create jobs, now John McCain is a maverick"), but I admit that I was already oriented in that direction, so you can't take my word for it (the early polls indicate that Biden won rather decisively).

So my conclusion is pretty much the same as for the first debate. Nothing happened to turn anyone around, there are probably not too many undecided voters who will make up their minds based on this - we'll just have to wait for the last two debates between Obama and McCain.

Note: I would be remiss if I didn't mention this item from Rich Lowry at National Review. I would love to credit someone for putting me on to this, but I've seen this referenced quite a few times today. Lowry:
I'm sure I'm not the only male in America who, when Palin dropped her first wink, sat up a little straighter on the couch and said, "Hey, I think she just winked at me." And her smile. By the end, when she clearly knew she was doing well, it was so sparkling it was almost mesmerizing. It sent little starbursts through the screen and ricocheting around the living rooms of America. This is a quality that can't be learned; it's either something you have or you don't, and man, she's got it.
Maybe Rich can take that Farrah Fawcett poster off his wall now.

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