She did fine batting softballs...

I think any honest observer would have to admit that Sarah Palin did very well tonight (so did Joe Biden.) But Palin's success was due almost entirely to the innocuous, vague questions tossed at both candidates by Gwen Ifill. One of the most egregious examples was Ifill's failure to ask the candidates about their attitudes towards Roe v. Wade and a woman's right to reproductive choice--for example, under what circumstances (rape, incest, danger to mother, etc.) they would be for or against it.

So all the right-wing paranoia that Ifill would be biased towards Biden was just a lot of hot air: She made things entirely too easy for both of them.

Nevertheless, Palin's victory over her own fecklessness will almost certainly turn out to be a Pyrrhic one, as McCain's slide continues. And don't forget, he will have two more debates against Obama. This election is not about Sarah Palin, it's about John McCain, George Bush, and the disastrous policies they have pursued pretty much in lockstep these past eight years.

More analysis: Be sure to check out my blogger-journalist pal Marc Cooper's comments on the debate. Marc also takes Ifill to task, and makes a number of other pithy remarks.

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Unknown said…
Soft balls? How about nerf balls? Whiffle balls? or, T-ball? None of those balls had the substance of a soft ball.
Jeff Meredith said…
I thought Biden was sharp right from the beginning.

He brought up McCain's participation in the deregulation movement, pointed out that McCain wants to deregulate healthcare.
Like John Kerry and others before him (Kerry faced similar attacks w/his plan in the 2004 campaign), Biden pointed out that the Democratic tax plan is NOT negatively impacting ordinary people. Only those making over $250k are impacted. Small businesses would not be impacted -- 96% of small business filers are below the $200k threshold, no?

Palin brought up McCain's nonsense healthcare plan, the $5k tax credit, and Biden just leveled them:
"So you're going to have to replace a $12,000 plan with a $5,000 check you just give to the insurance company. I call that the "Ultimate Bridge to Nowhere."


I couldn't believe it when David Brooks and Mark Shields said that conservatives "breathed a sigh of relief" tonight. Why? Because Palin didn't try to phone a friend during the debate? She got outclassed in every single respect. But she benefited from such low expectations, just as Quayle did in 1992 and Bush did in 2000.

I also liked how Biden pointed out that Ahmadinejad does not wield as much authority as these Republican screwballs think. It is the Supreme Leader and Supreme National Security Council who are calling the shots. Ahmadinejad is the family pet, not the head of the household. Palin and McCain still don't understand the decision-making structure (McCain still doesn't understand it, even after Joe Klein explained the concept to him).

Biden clearly defeated her, yet the media is going to call it a draw because Palin used down home "colloquialisms" that will allow her to connect with the moron vote -- otherwise known as half of America.
Anne Gilbert said…
Sarah Palin is a good debater, in a "high school debate' kind of way. But her answers were so obviously "canned", and she so obviously stuck to the neoconservative script, that it was rather sad. I'm not sure this debate is going to change anybody's mind this election cycle,and I have the impression that her attempt at being "folksy" didn't quite come off(polls gave Biden the edge here). When she had to depart from her script, she pretty much blathered, just the way she did on Katie Couric. Which is not a good sign.

As for Gwen Ifil, yeah, her performance as moderator was less than stellar. But keep in mind, there was some news to the effecdt that she fell down some stairs a day or two before and broke her leg. She may have been on some sort of painkillers, which wouldn't have helped her performance very much.
Anne G
terryt said…
"This election is not about Sarah Palin, it's about John McCain, George Bush, and the disastrous policies they have pursued pretty much in lockstep these past eight years".

i wouldn't dismiss her importance for the conservative Plan. The paranoid element in this country suggest that Palin, like Georgie Pie, is a Cheney and Co. puppet. She's certainly in favour of getting as much oil as possible out of the ground no matter the environmental cost.

Anyway, the theory goes that poor old McCain is not long of this world and when he goes: abracadabra, the old firm is back in.