I really have no idea why I watch the Presidential Debates, so-called. I haven't missed many since I started watching them years ago. Why do I waste my time? One generalization I can make about all of them, no exclusions, is that they are not debates in any sense of the word in English. The candidates stand there and mouth talking points most often only loosely connected with the question that was asked.
Which brings us to the subject of Thursday night's "debate" between the vice presidential candidates. Here's the flash: Sarah Palin survived. Yes, along with all the other millions, I was there in front of the tube to see if Sarah Palin, the Alaskan bimbo, would live up to the potential she displayed in the Katie Couric interviews. In my opinion, she did . . . only she wasn't as deliciously vacuous as then. Of course, this was to be expected. This woman really hasn't got a clue. One of those pleasently-packaged people who manages to skate by serious scrutiny from other people who cannot get beyond the surface trifle.
But maybe it's better to stay there on the surface. Seriously. Because this woman is grossly deficient in any quality you would expect in an actual aspirant for the vice presidency of the United States. A common reaction among the pundits was that Palin did much better than expected, didn't terminally embarrass herself and sink the McCain ticket right on the spot--which is the ultimate in damning with faint praise. See here, here, and here, for just a few examples. Others were scathing in their appraisal of the woman's ineptness: here, here, and here.
I agree with both these camps: yes, she managed to stagger through the 90 minutes without completely discrediting herself, but, my God, she was otherwise awful. Did not directly answer any of the questions put to her, completely ignored some, constantly filled the air with the misleading if not completely false talking points pumped into her head over the past few days by her (probably desperate) handlers. Drove me crazy with her unrelenting cuteness and folksy blather--"doggone it"--and that phony aw-shucks-I'm-just-like-all-the-rest-of-you facade. Well, she ain't anything like anybody else except ignorant, Bible-beating suburbanites who actually have SUVs to drive kids to soccer, whose husbands actually have jobs, who work at what they do "outside the home" for "self-fulfillment," and who think gays are hell-bound, and God's going to take care of everything. (You know who they are: you saw them in all their splendor screaming "USA! USA!" and "Sarah! Sarah!" at the Republican convention.) And you just know that the phrase "Say it ain't so, Joe," was on her pre-programmed program to insert sometime during the evening. Sure enough, she got it in. My poor wife had to listen to my raving at the TV screen several times during the debate.
David Brooks, conservative NY Times pundit and Lehrer Newshour commentator, like many of his GOP colleagues, congratulated Palin for not self-immolating before the millions. This excellent Glenn Greenwald piece takes him to task for contending, in the face of polling data showing just the opposite, that Palin is just the sort of American sweetheart people will happily vote for. But Greenwald's criticism is downright kind compared to this entertaining savage attack. It's an attack worthy of the bubble-brained woman who ultimately inspired it.