Let's start by noting that if I was Gwen Ifill, I would have started the Vice Presidential debate by asking Sarah Palin whether or not she had ever seen a polar bear, an igloo, or an Eskimo. I would have also asked her what it is like to rule an island state. I once met a girl from Alaska in college and I asked her some of those very same questions. Needless to say she wasn't amused, and I went home alone that night. Good times!
Biden starts out with a question on the Wall Street bailout. He answers by stating that it is the result of some of the worst economic policies ever implemented over the last 8 years. Sorry Senator, but the financial crisis began in the late 90's with .com stocks trading on hype far above their value and then collapsing. Then we had the accounting crisis, where some of the major CPA firms and many corporations were busted for "cooking their books" so their stocks would trade at inflated prices. This was already illegal, they just didn't get caught until then. False gains from the aforementioned markets caused a huge housing boom, which drove housing costs up well above their actual worth. When those markets came back to reality, the banking industry and secondary mortgage traders were then left holding the bill for mortgages that many Americans could simply no longer afford since their houses were never worth what they agreed to pay for them. So really, I don't know how the current state of the economy has to do with any policy over the past 8 years. Perhaps we could have regulated the banking market a little closer to make sure bad loans were not extended, but at what price? Then we would have been left in a situation where only the wealthy could have afforded a home, which would have been a whole different issue to debate. I could go on and on, so let's take a break and move on to Governor Palin.
In her first real comments before the American public, Governor Palin confirms that the economy is in trouble right now. How does she know this? Because she has been talking to other parents at soccer games.Well, she obviously didn't find out from John McCain, who doesn't think the economy is in bad shape, doesn't consider someone to be rich unless they have 5 million dollars, and has no idea how many houses he owns.
Biden takes time out from the next question to go back to the first question in order to criticize McCain for being out of touch in not recognizing that the economy is in trouble. Now that is how you debate Senator!!
Palin follows up by noting that while she respects Biden's years of service, Americans are craving something "new and different." Ummm, Sarah, Biden is not running for President. Barack Obama is, and he is the definition of "new and different" when compared to McCain. Since McCain can't distinguish himself from the Bush Administration, does that mean she is voting for Obama? Also, for the remainder of this debate (and the election for that matter), any time somebody refers to McCain as "Maverick," I am replacing it with "crazy old white guy" in my head. Now I feel better.
On the issue of subprime lending, Palin notes that lenders are at blame for convincing Americans that they should buy a $300k house when they could only afford a $100k house. Fair enough, but let's not say that it was "deceiving." It takes two to tango. The American public needs to take some blame for not realizing that they are buying a house $200k above their means. As a potential leader, I would like to see a candidate set an example by going on record to say "knock this shit off, you know better, so don't do it." Well shit, she essentially said just that after I hit unpause on my DVR. Am I turning into an Alaskan Nazi? Ihope not, because I HATE Alaskan Nazis. Also, I am now replacing the term "hockey mom" in my head with, "I'm even whiter than a soccer mom, so if Obama scares you vote for me" for the rest of the election.
I really don't agree with Biden's views on regulation/deregulation and taxation, but he knows and sells his shit.
When Palin mentioned Obama and Biden's voting record, Biden threw a stat back at her about McCain having voted exactly the same way that completely shut her down. It may have been a lie, but you could tell Palin had just memorized a stat and had no idea whether or not McCain really did vote the same way as Obama & Biden did on that issue. I must admit though, I agree whole heartedly with Palin's taxation ideology. Like it or not, you must give tax breaks up top to corporations in a global economy to create jobs. Otherwise they will simply move somewhere else, as labor will always be cheaper in developing nations.
And as I type, Biden just hit Palin with the "ultimate bridge to nowhere" comment. It really didn't have to do with anything specific that he was saying, which is great because there is no way Palin can really respond. I also like how he waited a little bit to throw the first jab of the debate. He didn't come across as being too eager or aggressive in throwing the first stone, but it came at a time when the debate was just getting comfortable, which caused everyone to sit up in their seats and take notice of what he was saying. Well done!
Biden couldn't pronounce the word "characterize." He looks like he is completely disgusted with himself in complete contrast to Obama who bumblefucked almost every point he tried to make in the Presidential Debate. Even Palin is holding her own. I will go on record as saying that the VP candidates are far more articulate than either of the Presidential candidates...at least at this point.
Biden follows up his "ultimate bridge to nowhere comment" by complimenting Palin for taking on oil companies and implementing a"windfall profits" tax. I don't know if he did it on purpose, but after a slight dig it certainly makes him less threatening and likable. I would have liked to have see Biden question Palin on how her "windfall profit" tax on oil companies is consistent with her overall policy on relaxing taxes on corporations. She would have been forced to respond by saying that it was a case by case basis on what is just and fair, and he could have used that to open the door abd question her general philosophy of opposing market regulation in order to protect that American public. Jesus, I think I just vomited in my mouth. I feel like I am questioning my own economic beliefs analyzing this. To quote R.E.M., am I "losing my religion?" I am now soundly AGAINST windfall profit taxes on oil companies for the sole purpose of preserving my free market beliefs and allowing me to sleep at night. Let's move on.
Next up, a question on global warming. Of course Palin is an expert because she lives on the nation's only arctic island that has penguins. She refuses to address a potential cause for Global warming, while Biden states that he clearly believes that the cause is man-made. Let's just agree to disagree and cut our losses now.
In the "let's put Palin on the spot" arena, the next question involves same sex partner benefits. Strangely, even Biden takes an extremely narrow definition of what he supports (visitation rights, life insurance rights, etc.). This allows Palin to agree with Biden and tiptoe around the issue of whether or not she supports gay marriage. And as I unpause, Gwen Ifill grabs control and puts Biden on the spot by straight the fuck up asking if he supports gay marriage. He says "no, neither Barack Obama nor I support [gay marriage]." This again allows Palin to agree that she does not support gay MARRIAGE. However, she is left off the hook when she avoids answering whether or not she agrees with Biden that same sex partners should have equal CIVIL rights (implying marriage is a religious determination as Biden suggested). So much for Gwen Ifill being an Obama cronie, she should have put Palin on the spot there just as she did Biden.
Biden sharpened up in noting, "John McCain, as my mother would say, God love him, but John McCain has been dead wrong" (about the policies involving the war in Iraq, including the erroneous assumption that we would be greeted as liberators, that the Sunnis and Shiites get along, and that the Iraq has anything to do with the war on terror). Palin digs in her heels and insists that the war on terror and Al-Qaeda is centrally located in Iraq. Christ, now I'm calling for her to withdraw from the ticket.
Palin again goes back to the John McCain is a (now replaced with)"crazy old white guy" label, which really was not even used in connection with any particular incident or policy. She's just shopping a label at this point. While she has held up well to this point, I think Biden is starting to beat her down on substance, knowledge and material.
Biden gets firm and notes how he has not heard how any of McCain's policies are different than G.W. Bush's on Iran, Israel, Afganistan, Pakistan, etc. He ties that in with our need as a nation to regain international respect. Palin seems to know what she is talking about by referring to "SURGE" principals, but unfortunately I have no idea what they are, and she doesn't even attempt to explain that policy.
Palin plays the "I'm not a Washington insider card." Dude, it's no wonder she wants to drill for gas in Alaska, because she's all about herself.
According to Palin, John McCain knows how to win a war. He does? Vietnam? Iraq? Oh wait, maybe she meant Grenada. My bad.
Palin starts talking about education, and how she respects Biden's position and with his wife being a teacher. Then she says something like "I trust that her award is in heaven" right before she begins to talk about our need to strengthen public schools. Was that a wink, wink "I'm going to push creationism in public schools comment?" Should I be afraid? Because I think I am.
Palin responds to a question about whether she is qualified to be VP by noting her executive experience of being the governor of a HUGE state (cough, cough...that has no people and that she has been in charge of for only a couple of months). Also, I've finally figured out this "bridge to nowhere" thing. Apparently it is a bridge from middle America to Alaska, and it is her access to that bridge that allows Sarah Palin to be so in touch with the heartland. I'm glad we finally got that figured out, and that my tax dollars supported it.
Towards the end of the debate Palin noted her family diversity given that it consists of "folks of all political persuasions." Not different races/ethnicities, gosh no, but both republicans and democrats. Of course, she fails to mention that the democrats in her family were sent off into the artic alone to die in an Eskimo tradition (even though her familiy has no Eskimo affiliation or ties). She also calls McCain a "crusty old white guy" at least 2 more times. I certainly don't think that is going to help with their campaign. Then again, maybe that is what middle America is telling her they want through "emails to nowhere."
All in all, Palin held her own, but simply did not have the material to keep up with Biden. Biden was sharp. He had a strong central message that he backed with substance, while Palin seemed to rely on too many catch phrases. and not enough substance Academic performance wise, I think Biden won 80/20. However, you can't rule out Palin having said all the right things that the swing vote in middle America wanted to hear. Also, I think I'm starting to believe US Weekly's theory that Palin's daughter is the real mother of the little Down's Syndrome baby. In fact, I no longer think I can be convinced otherwise, so don't even try me.