Becker Blog

The world according to Brian Becker

Palin Vs Biden Analysis.

Posted by Brian Becker on October 3, 2008

Tonight’s debate was a clear mismatch going into it. A long time veteran of the Senate and experienced debater on the national stage versus a novice folksy governor. Both Biden and Palin came out of tonight’s debate exactly where they wanted to be. Biden did not at any time come off as condescending to Palin, he didn’t make any gaffes, and it was clear he had a good grasp on the issues. Palin exceeded low expectations, didn’t make any major gaffes, and seemed folksy which probably plays well with the base.

Like the first Presidential debate, I don’t think this debate had a knockout punch, or really changed the dynamics of the race in any way. It probably stopped the bleeding of Palin’s poll numbers, but I don’t think she was impressive enough to give McCain the significant bump in the polls that he really needs. Biden was reassuring and I don’t think anyone can say that he isn’t ready to be President with a straight face.

The real deciding factor in who actually won the debate, though, is what those undecided voters think. If the quick polls after the debate are of any relevance, Biden was the clear favorite, and I agree for various reasons.

First, Biden came off as a real statesman. He was above the fray, defending his positions as respectfully as possible without chewing Palin’s head off. He also demonstrated substantive knowledge on all the issues, which Palin lacked. Third, he rammed the Republican ticket to George Bush much more effectively than Barack Obama has. Lastly, he had a few good quips, such as likening the McCain health care plan to a bridge to nowhere. I supported Joe Biden in the Democratic primary until he dropped out, and personally I felt he won most of the debates he was in back then. I had high expectations, and he exceeded them. I truly think this was his best debate performance yet.

Palin didn’t do bad. She was very likable, and folksy, but she made a few minor mistakes. Although she didn’t ramble nonsensically like she did in the CBS interviews, she didn’t answer a lot of questions either. When she did, her answers lacked substance and came out as nothing more than obviously prepared talking points or attacks. Now, I know they both have been rehearsing for this debate for a while, but Biden is so smooth with his answers that you can hardly tell. Her answers were rarely more than talking points. Often times she dodged the question topics without a segue at all, usually to something completely unrelated to the question. She relied mainly on attacking Obama and Biden’s records, which is a good tactic, but not when she can’t talk about the subjects shes attacking them on without resorting to platitudes and generalities.

I think her worst moment in the debate was when she was asked about the role of the Vice Presidency. She didn’t seem to really understand what the constitution says about it, and she also mentioned she agrees with Dick Cheney’s approach that the office should have an expanded role. That’s disturbing to me, and I’m pretty sure Dick Cheney is universally hated around the world. This answer was probably very hurtful with independents.

The thing about Palin is, I think she would do a lot better if she could just be herself and didn’t have to defend John McCain’s record. Whenever she had the chance to talk about her own record, she didn’t seem so ditzy or robotic. She seems to actually know whats going on up there in Alaska, but doesn’t seem to have had any interest in national and international issues until she was tapped for VP. A few weeks just isn’t enough time for someone in her position to get a good grasp on those issues. She just isn’t ready yet.

I gotta say though, if the Democrats win this election, and Palin manages to not screw up majorly between now and November 4th, I think she might be ready in a few more election cycles if she works hard at improving her knowledge of these issues enough to form her own opinions on them. Not that I would ever vote for her, but I could definitely see her running in 8 – 12 years and at least winning the Republican primary.

Ultimately, I think Palin exceeded expectations, and Biden had his best debate ever, so both came out of this debate better than they went in. I don’t think either campaign is going to see any real bounce from this debate, and that is not good news for McCain. Time will tell if I’m right, but I’m pretty confident in that prediction.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: