Friday, October 03, 2008

so i watched the palin-biden debate last night after i got home from work (yay dvr). i thought joe biden did about as well as could be expected. he knew his shit, was comfortable in his own skin, and spoke in a way that not only demonstrated that he understood the complexities of the policy and political challenges that face the country, and indeed the whole world, but that he was able to take that understanding and translate it into terms that were meaningful to folks who don't work in the senate for a living. i think the format of the debate, with the time limitations involved, kept him from making that third or fourth paragraph verbal blunder that is something of a signature move for him, and it kept him focused and his answers crisp and to the point.

i think he pretty clearly won, at least by any objective standards, and i also think that there was no way he was ever going to lose, at least by any standards that ought to matter to serious-minded people.

i think sarah palin did as well as she was ever going to, and i felt for her as i watched. she was clearly nervous from the get-go (she actually seemed to be gushing when she greeted biden as they walked onstage and shook hands), and it was also obvious that, despite the many cogent talking point sentences that had been drill-baby-drilled into her mind, she had very little idea about the answers to many of the questions that gwen ifill asked, and knew it. she was clearly most comfortable when speaking in vacuous folksy-isms, blessing hearts and six-packing with joe, and clearly uncomfortable when expected to answer any questions about almost anything substantive. according to politico, on at least ten occasions she dodged, evaded, or outright ignored the question put to her, to the point where she even acknowledged herself that she was going to skip one of the questions put to her in order to go on the attack against biden and obama. and, like many people of less-than-sparkling intellect, she wasn't half bad at sticking the knife.

that she managed to fill all of her time with words (cogent and on-topic or not), and neither fainted nor farted into the microphone, has apparently re-energized the twenty-odd percent of america that thinks she's just the bee's knees and would be a great commander-in-chief-in-waiting.

i can only assume that these are the same sorts of people who think their children should get sports trophies just for showing up.

in fact, what the debate reminded me of most of all was the parent-child scrimmage i do for last practice of the season for the kids' soccer team i coach. the kids are ten or thereabouts, and even the ones who've picked up on the basic skills and introductory understanding of the game that i've managed to instill in them aren't playing the same game that the grownups (many of us players, both active and retired) are. and hey, noone expects them to. the whole point is to get them out there, have some fun, build some skills, some self-respect, a little character maybe. and hey, if they win their games, or lose them, it doesn't really matter. they're kids. it's fun. and if their parents want to buy them trophies at the end of the season so they feel better about the whole endeavor, then i will gladly keep my mouth shut and smile as i call their names one by one.

but you wouldn't let one of the ten-year-olds coach the team, even at the extremely non-serious level at which these kids play. letting sarah palin anywhere near national office, at least at her present level of understanding of the many serious issues that we face as a nation and a people, would be just like that, only with nucular weapons.

makes me shiver just thinking about it.

No comments: