Friday, October 03, 2008

Palin Scatters a few Harmless Hits

Sure, she gave her supporters a few scattered lines to cheer about. But to use a baseball metaphor, Biden came on in middle relief, shut Palin down, preserved his team’s comfortable lead, and handed Obama the ball to close out the game in the last two innings.

So what if she didn’t speak in tongues or run off the stage in tears? So what if she lit up her slumping supporters with “glittering generalities” and telegenic folksiness? To change the dynamics of this campaign, to stop the polls from moving Obama’s way, Palin needed to produce a gamechanging performance that was simply beyond her limited capacity.

Not surprisingly (for those who watched her Alaska debates) Palin exceeded the low “expectations” bar set for her by pundits and talking heads. But that wasn’t good enough. Not this year. Not in this election, the “most important election since 1932,” as Joe Biden said.

Palin’s callous nonresponse to Biden’s emotional moment, as he spoke of being a single parent under tragic circumstances, must have been jarring to many viewers. In one bizarre exchange, Palin embraced the Dick Cheney model of expanded executive powers for the vice president, demonstrably ignorant of its Constitutional implications. Biden hit it out of the park, declaring Cheney one the “most dangerous” vice presidents in history. Then he gave a succint lesson on the limited Constitutional duties of the office, and warned against the radical right wing theory of the “Unitary Executive” which is behind the Bush regime’s shredding of the Constitution.

Palin sought to reassure voters that as governor at times she has had to bow to legislative prerogatives. Which begs the question: Why raise the issue at all if not that her backwoods dictatorial executive style, such as it is, bears a disturbing resemblance to the Bush-Cheney executive power grab?

The implication In Biden's response was clear: If you like Dick Cheney, you’ll love Sarah Palin.

A CNN poll of debate viewers gave Biden the “win” by 51% to 32%. It wasn’t even close. Most important, did Palin pass the so-called “threshold” test for president?

In a word: No.

1 comment:

PatEsposisto said...

Palin embraced the Dick Cheney model of expanded executive powers for the vice president, demonstrably ignorant of its Constitutional implications.

Yes, I think my mouth hung open a moment or two with that one. But I was so glad for Biden's response.

It was sort of funny hearing people's responses, most saying, almost sympathetically, well she did better than expected. But yes, expectations were very low. But seriously, NO ONE could fall for that wink. (Right?) What exactly is she and the audience conspiring on? It only worried me.