what will we be saying tomorrow at this time about the palin/biden debate?

No one knows what to expect from Sarah Palin in tomorrow night’s Vice Presidential debate. That is, if she even shows. After a week of intensive, post-Couric cramming at one of the many McCain compounds, there’s no telling what we’ll see. My guess is that she’ll emerge wired so tight that she’ll either cruise through the controlled format easily, or combust spectacularly like an android bisected by an airlock door, spouting gibberish sprinkled with phrases like “family values,” and flailing her arms wildly.

Not to denigrate McCain’s prisoner of war experience, but I suspect that Palin’s week locked up in McCain Casa Ocho, being berated by Republican strategists, foreign policy experts and media consultants, wasn’t all too dissimilar from his first week on the ground in Hanoi. Given the insane responses she offered Katie Couric on Supreme Court decisions, rape resulting to pregnancy, and Hamas, I suspect they’ve had her tied to a chair in front of a video monitor, with toothpicks forcing her eyelids open, as Fox News tutorials roll back to back. Or maybe it’s worse. Maybe they have her doing mock debates behind a podium wired to deliver electric shocks when incorrect answers are given.

I think there’s a 20% chance that she doesn’t go through with it. Maybe she gets a headache. Maybe one of her kids conveniently gets sick. Maybe she has to suspend her campaign to deal with some pressing foreign policy issue. (John “Straight Talk” McCain said today that he routinely turns to her for foreign policy advice.) Whatever the reason, she gets to back out, perhaps leaving a surrogate, like Romney or Giuliani, to take her place against Biden. I suspect, however, that she’ll go through with it herself. Given the format they’ve agreed to, there won’t be any exchanges with Biden, and the Republicans have done a good job of beating up moderator Gwen Ifill. My guess is that they think they’ve got a reasonable shot with Palin. As the bar has been set so low, I think most Americans would consider it a victory if she just stayed vertical behind the podium and repeated generic Republican talking points, regardless of whether or not they fit the questions being asked… And, if all else fails, she can smile and break out the flute.

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  1. Posted October 1, 2008 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    The surrogate could also be Joe Lieberman. That wouldn’t surprise me.

  2. mark
    Posted October 1, 2008 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Lieberman dressed up like Palin, maybe.

    30% of the voting public, I’m guessing, wouldn’t notice.

  3. Brackache
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    The android that got cut in half was the nice android.

    The mean one tried to shove a rolled-up magazine or newspaper down Ripley’s throat before he got his head knocked off with a fire extinguisher.

    I wonder which magazine or newspaper that was.

  4. Posted October 2, 2008 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    She’ll win. She inspires just about the greatest hatred I’ve ever held for a candidate, but she will win and it will be such a PR boon that McCain will likely take the election.

    It’s gonna be a fucking nightmare. Imagine if she did become president. It would be the most lame-duck admin we’ve ever seen. I doubt there are many congress-people that would be willing to get on board with her in policy decisions for fear of completely embarrassing themselves.

    I hate to be pessimistic, but that seems to be the way that these elections play out. This is the weirdest election year that I’ve ever seen though.

  5. Brent
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Ultimately she will be declared the winner of the debate if she is able to pull of anything aside from falling down and cracking her head open. Let’s face it, the bar is set so incredibly low for her, any reasonable performance will be considered a win. She’ll easily be able to fill 90 seconds with a wordy non-answer, the question is will the moderator call her out on it and ask for clarification and/or will be media have the balls to call her out on it. That’ll ultimately be the X factor in my opinion – how the media handles the discussion after the debate.

    Will it translate though in a rile in poll numbers? That I doubt. The shine has worn off Palin and the economy is rearing it’s ugly head and pushing wedge issues out of the spotlight. Yes, people may still hold the same strong feelings about abortion, gay marriage, etc. but if the 401k is in the toilet, the house is near foreclosure, a new car can’t happen because of tightening credit market and the grocery bill is escalating – those day-to-day issues rightly are at the forefront of their minds when it comes time to go to the polls and Obama holds a clear lead in the public’s mind when the economy is concerned.

  6. Posted October 2, 2008 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    With all that said, I’m still holding out for a major gaffe tonight. And in the meantime, I’ll be enjoying a game of Palin bingo or two.

  7. Posted October 2, 2008 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I’ll say it again – Palin is going to choke tonight. Biden will clearly dominate.

    Dude, predicting such a huge Palin victory that it thrusts McCain back in the lead from his nearly double digit defecit is pretty silly. Do you really believe that or are you arguing just to argue?

    Brent, how do you play Palin Bingo? It sounds like fun.

  8. EoS
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I think she’ll tear Biden to shreds. He’s not known for thinking clearly on the fly and is famous for sticking his foot in his mouth and making verbal gaffes. They’ve manipulated her media image to cause most Democrats to wonder if she can walk and chew gum at the same time. Honestly, who can’t answer a question about what newspapers they read? I agree with Brett, “the bar is set so incredibly low for her, any reasonable performance will be considered a win.”

    Biden isn’t sweating today and will seriously underestimate her and get flustered during the debate. He’s being coached right now not to appear as too aggressive towards her and give her the sympathy vote ala Rick Lazio v. Hillary Clinton. Palin will be a vicious attack dog for McCain, who’s trying his best not to have a public display of his notorious temper and scream and blow the race like Howard Dean did. She’s been laying low but will kick butt during the debate and will be on fire for the rest of the campaign and will be the most charismatic of the 4 and draw the largest crowds for the duration .

  9. designated republican
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Governor Palin will completely outclass and outshine Senator Biden this evening. There will be another Palin-induced up-tick in the polls, and she will be the main reason why McCain will be elected President in November. The mainstream press has no clue.

  10. Posted October 2, 2008 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    “Dude, predicting such a huge Palin victory that it thrusts McCain back in the lead from his nearly double digit defecit is pretty silly. Do you really believe that or are you arguing just to argue?”

    Yeah, I believe it. Biden will make an ass out of himself. Palin will make an ass out of hersself too, but people don’t expect much from her besides snarky lines and non-answers.

  11. Posted October 2, 2008 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    And the Lions will win the Super Bowl this year.

    What the hell is wrong with everybody?

    I’m so going to gloat in this thread later tonight when Palin gives Tina Fey enough punchlines to last an entire show.

    Even ytown knows better than to argue with me on this one.

  12. Posted October 2, 2008 at 1:23 pm | Permalink


    http://www.palinbingo.com has four different cards you can print off.

  13. Posted October 2, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Hahaha….sweet! Thanks Brent.

  14. Robert
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Whew! For a second there, I thought maybe Brad Hanson had posted a video on the Internets of Sarah Palin playing his skin flute. I was worried…that I’d have to free up more space in my celebrity porn collection.

    Seriously though, do you all think you’re guest commentators on Fix News? Who are you spinning for? Have you checked mark’s web traffic numbers lately? We’re all practically talking to ourselves here, so you all might as well be honest, if you have it in you.

    If I were a consultant for Biden, I’d be coaching him to shift back and forth, between treating Palin with excessive kindness and sympathy, and then making serious and informed (but folksy) comments about the details of foreign policy and governing. Bill Clinton is great at that, so I’d try to get him in to coach Biden a little. It’s very important that he show his folksy side. It neutralizes one of Palin’s most important assets.

    Because she’s about on the same mental level Dubya’s on, Palin’s comments will be flat and scripted. If it’s done in a folksy way, Biden can benefit by being critical of that a few times during the exchange. I’d also tell him to make the “heart beat away from the presidency” comment once. But it has to come out at the right moment, which I would say is as soon as possible after any apparent mistake Palin makes. Essentially I would have Biden respond to Palin with a sort of “things are considerably more serious than that” attitude. But he would need to seem sympathetic to her at the same time. That’s not always an easy task for one as arrogant as your typical senator.

    If I were coaching Palin, I’d just have her learn the main talking points, but I’d try to get her to relax and freestyle a little too. I think the more she can come across as relaxed, the better she’ll do. Most people watching don’t know if her answers make sense. They will pick up on her discomfort though. She’s a more immediately likable person than Biden by far, so she should try to capitalize on that and stretch it out by not getting shaken. I think a great tactic for her would be to use self deprecating comments to attack Obama’s inexperience. She should compare her own experience to Obama’s as often as possible. That creates a serious dilemma for Biden and bolsters McCain’s image as ultra-experienced. I don’t know why I haven’t seen them having her do that already. She should be essentially equating herself with Obama in terms of experience, generally, but then always add at the end a little quip about her experience being in the position of the executive where the buck stops, and not just as one in many legislators who like to spread the blame out thinly.

    On Palin’s reaction to the Hamas question, I’m sure many McCain campaign consultants were just glad she didn’t start talking about the appetizers at the Falafel King in Wasilla.

    Oh, by the way, the McCain campaign cancelled their plan for a rally in Plymouth next week. Bad news for Michigan Republicans. That would suggest their internal polls are showing the state is slipping out of reach for them.

    Bruce Springsteen plays a concert in Ypsi on Monday, trying to encourage people to register to vote. That hasn’t been cancelled.

  15. Derek Foreal
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    October 2, 2008, 2:30 pm
    McCain Pulls Out of Michigan
    By Adam Nagourney
    John McCain’s decision to cancel a campaign event in Michigan next week was not a matter of scheduling: Mr. McCain is giving up his effort to take the state back into the red column, concluding that economic distress there has simply put the state out of reach, according to Republicans familiar with the decision.

    Michigan had been one of Mr. McCain’s top targets for two reasons: evidence that Barack Obama was having trouble connecting with blue-collar voters (which presumably would be a problem there), and also because the Democratic candidates did not participate in the state’s primary after Michigan defied Democratic party rules and held it earlier than permitted.

    Republican officials said that polling suggested that Mr. Obama was building a lead there, and said they concluded that it wasn’t worth spending any more campaign funds – or Mr. McCain’s time – in the state.

  16. Robert
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    If we’re supposed to be making predictions here, I guess I can do that. Tomorrow at this time I predict I’ll be making some sexually degrading comments regarding Palin and her loose morals and, in a lame attempt at comedy, drawing very weak connections to the things she said in the debate, claiming her remarks were fraudian.

  17. Posted October 2, 2008 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Palin didn’t fall on her face like I predicted, but oh, man, did Joe Biden shine.

  18. Posted October 3, 2008 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    Yes, Palin didn’t do badly. Of course she didn’t answer many questions and those she did were just filled with platitudes, but she’s good at connecting with people with a non-answer. Biden did much better than I expected. All in all, and only because the bar was set so low for Palin they had to dig a second basement for it – I’d say it was a tie. There didn’t seem to be any game changers last night. I’d suspect Obama may pick up some independents from it and McCain likely firmed up support from those who weren’t convinced and might have sat it out. Both VPs went into the debate and largely accomplished the job of ‘do not harm.’

    I wanted to see more fists and elbows, and certainly less winking!

  19. Oliva
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Pleasing paragraph from Chris Bowers at OpenLeft:

    One final word of advice to McCain and Palin: You can’t give yourself your own nickname. Palin and McCain keep calling themselves a team of mavericks. It sounds about as dorky as a 14-year old nerd who demands to be called “Superfly,” even though everyone refuses to do so.


  20. not one of the cool kids
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Her “down home qualities” make me squirm!
    I don’t want any politician to refer to Americans as “Joe Six Pack”! It is insulting and scary. Joe Six Pack refers to someone who drinks a six pack of beer in one sitting, which is pretty much the same as an armchair alcoholic. I had a few of those in my family and they are now full blown alcohols. It makes my skin crawl
    Other words I don’t want to see my leaders using:
    also also
    goin’ on
    very, very
    all of the above
    ya’ said
    you guys
    there also,
    also, though
    I am a Maverick
    up there in Alaska
    up there
    there is also

  21. not one of the cool kids
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Oh ya, lets not forget the “winking” all the time…yuk! When I was on the high school debate team one of the first thing I learned from my coach was, “don’t ever wink! Especially if you are a girl, it makes you look less credible.”

  22. EoS
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Wasn’t as aggressive as I predicted – she didn’t attack Obama’s positions enough to really impact. She did one good thing in showing that Biden was closer to McCain than he was to Obama, but both of them had to support the top of the ticket on issues that they don’t personally agree with. He was subdued and nervous for at least the first half. He didn’t say anything to inspire the base, but didn’t have a serious gaffe either. I don’t think they changed anyone’s mind.

  23. Posted October 3, 2008 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    I was glad I was wrong. Biden did great. Palin showed herself to be the moron she is, but was able to hide it behind a collection of lame, scripted answers.

    The shit about the soccer game made me sick. Personally, I am fucking fed up with having family shoved down my throat. I could care fucking less about the people that go to soccer games. Palin seems to want to make out Americans to be uniformly white and blue-collar, which is so inherently wrong on so many levels.

    Biden surprised me, however, even if the debate didn’t give me any good laughs. I was hoping for blood. I am feeling more and more positive that McCain has lost this one.

  24. Brackache
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    I turned it off after the first five minutes after I was reasonably sure there weren’t going to be any android moments. If I’m going to be bukkakkied by clap-trap pandering bullshit for an hour, I at least want to see a firey crash.

    Also because they said Obama and McCain pretty much had the same answer for the economy.

    If it makes the Obama supporters here happier, I know of one Republican friend who voted for McCain in the primaries who said he won’t be voting for him now due to McCain’s support of the bailout. I can only assume there are more like him.

  25. egnb
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    While Palin gaffed on referring to GEN McKiernan as “McClellan,” she did get the name of Iraq’s president correct, and that was (Jalal) Talabani. Contrary to what some think, she wasn’t referring to the group of Al-Qaeda collaborators in Afghanistan as “Talibanny.”

    Just FYI.

  26. Posted October 3, 2008 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    Palin didn’t answer hardly any of the questions. Mark was dead on with that prediction.

    Palin is just over her head. I loved NOOTCK’s list of terms that Palin used. The Joe 6 Pack thing was too much. Palin is not a bad person by any means, but she’s no VP. To her credit, she didn’t embarass herself, although I thought the national media gave her way too much credit after it was done.

    What is too bad about all the attention on her was how great Biden was. I was very impressed by his clear answers and solutions, his good judgement, and his lack of hesitation on all the issues. Biden answered each questions, giving specific details about each topic. He even showed his “folksy” side.

    Now, Palin did as well as she could, so I’ll admit I was a little off there in suggesting such a mismatch.

    But I think to intelligent voters, it was clear who would make a better VP.

  27. Posted October 3, 2008 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Another scary thing was people were saying that she didn’t help McCain, but instead helped her own chances of running for president in 2012. And this was the national media saying that.

  28. Doug
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    This is one of the few places on the Internet where I can read the comments without wanting to kill myself.

    Thanks for that.

  29. Posted October 4, 2008 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    My daughter actually GOT a Palin Bingo with “Alaska,” “Special Needs,” “Hockey Mom,” and “Terrorists!!!” It was so rewarding.

  30. Teluride Boner Camp Octopus Mascot
    Posted October 13, 2008 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    The highlight of the debate for me was this exchange.


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