Friday, October 03, 2008
Watched The Debate
Aren't you glad? The American debates are still something quite exotic to me, like a weird ritual where I'm not certain what the point might be. So I decided both to watch the debate and to gather all the post-debate pearls of wisdom the pundits were willing to offer to me. Here's what I learned:
First, there were questions, presented by Gwen Ifill, for Governor Palin and Senator Biden to answer. However, it seems that those questions didn't really matter. You could talk about something else instead of answering the question you were posed, and Palin took advantage of that a lot, Biden a lot less. The assessment of the media pundits is that she did very well doing that. (Don't tell college students about this trick. They'll all start demanding the right to answer the question they would prefer instead of the one they were actually given to answer.)
Second, the tone of the debate seemed to be very important. Was it funny enough? It appears it was not. Did the candidates wear their hearts on their sleeves enough but not too much? It seems that they did, because Biden mentioned the death of his wife and daughter and Palin mentioned her family. This is important, I have gathered, because if Palin and Biden had been pod-people they would have been trapped by those comments, not knowing human family feelings.
Third, what about the folksiness? For some odd reason the Vice-President of the United States needs to be folksy. It may have something to do with preventing terrorism or with the hatred of elites (meaning geeks and nerds) or with that whole idea that you pick people for the most important jobs in this country by deciding whom you'd like to bed or to get drunk with. In any case, Palin won the folksiness competition. She was folksier than Biden who was too....senatorial.
What is this folksiness? It seems to be the idea that ordinary people can use nothing but common sense and simple words to solve the complex problems of this world. This is of course exactly what George Walker Bush has been telling us for the last eight years! That's why we have been doing so very well. Palin plans to continue that never-failing recipe for success.
More seriously, I gather that folksiness might be the same as being approachable and likeable and being able to relate to the problems of the common folk, and that kind of folksiness is laudable. It is not a substitute for the skills needed for the job, however.
Fourth, I learned (from governor Palin) that America is an exceptional country, a shining city on the hill (a religious reference*), meant to lead the world. Now, some damned furriners might find that a wee bit insulting. Of course I'm not one of those. Nosir.
Fifth and finally, I found out that both Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin are offering CHANGE from the way things have been done in Washington, D.C. in the past. For instance, a governor from Alaska is an outsider and therefore perfect for enacting some change. Sort of like a governor from Texas eight years ago.
P.S. I could have discussed what was said about policies and such but that isn't how debates are judged so I won't. Heh.
P.P.S. *There may have been more religious references as a sort of code to the religious right. This was the case with one of Bush's debate speeches in 2004.