Friday, October 3, 2008

READ: Expectations Game

In the post-debate discussions the conventional wisdom among the pundits was that Palin exceeded expectations (CNN even had a poll showing that something like 80% of viewers thought she did better than they expected) but to me the bigger surprise of the evening was Biden.

Sure Palin didn't fall apart quite as much as she did during the Couric interviews.  She didn't make any major gaffes and she did that thing she does so well, namely appealing to Joe Six Pack with her "ya" and her charms.  So yes, she exceeded those extremely lowered expectations.  However, I would argue that on many levels her performance was a disaster once you got over the fact that she can be relentless and "hold her own".  First, the woman doesn't speak proper English.  Maybe some people don't care about that but I'm an elitist snob, so I do.  Second, answering the questions you want to answer instead of the questions you are being asked may enable you to go back to your talking points, but it doesn't make you look smart.  Third, appealing to hockey moms and Joe Six Packs is transaparent and cheap and I hereby give up on trying to understand what that even means or what moves that demographic.  Again, I'm just an elitist snob.  

Palin's supposed expectation defying performance aside, the true surprise of the evening was Biden who frankly made me nervous going into the debate.  He was firm without being arrogant, intelligent without being too philosophical and, most curiously, emotional, in an authentic non-scripted way.  As my friend Brian put it, "he was the only human being on the stage.  She was a robot with a 486 processor."  To that I would only add, a 486 processor-run robot would at least have a grip of the mysterious intricacies of English grammar and syntax.  She doesn't.


Bex said...

I vote robot as well. Wasn't there a point where she did some kind of pose, shoulder out and then back to a neutral stance? Scripted much?

evestirs said...


yeah, very robotic...also, she kinda looked like a high school student who had been up all night on NO_DOZE cramming for the big test.

Lucia said...

Right on about Biden. Also, thinking back to our debate days, I WISH improper English would have gone unnoticed (in London '99) and ignoring your opponents' challenges / just "answering the question the way I want to" were considered a plus (those teams didn't even make it to Slovak national round ;). So yeah.

Cenk said...

palin was answering from index cards. i hope other people saw that

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