Obligatory Vice-Presidential Debate Thread

You know who I miss? Lloyd Bentsen. And Admiral Stockdale. Those guys were great.free stats

Congratulations are due to governor Sarah Palin for recovering her poise — it’s much easier to watch her recite her fake homilies and Republican talking points than it was to watch George W. Bush fumble his way through simple sentences consisting of words of one syllable.

I’ve never actually seen Joe Biden ever do anything before tonight, and I was impressed with him as well — his thinking is both fluid and pointed, and he looks exactly like someone you’d cast in the role of vice-president.

In general, I enjoyed last night’s debate. Knockout blows like the ones delivered by Lloyd Bentsen twenty years ago seem to have been written out of debates these days, so they lack in drama — Obama tends to shy away from appearing too angry about the past eight years of governmental mismanagement, McCain must keep his contempt for his opponent in check or risk appearing to look like a cranky old man, Biden is lucid but polite, Palin (last night, anyway) was polished but insubstantial. (And, for my younger readers, let me add that Lloyd Bentsen, despite mopping the floor with Dan Quayle, then wringing him out and hanging him up to dry, did not, after all, become vice-president.)

So Governor Palin informed us that gay people are so by choice, and that, as a governor, she must tolerate their presence. That’s an honest, if politic, answer from a conservative fundamentalist, and if you feel similarly, go ahead and vote for her. Same with her views on global warming: she’s not here to think about what caused it, she only knows what needs to be done about it, and that seems to involve doing absolutely nothing to stop the exploitation and burning of fossil fuels. Again, well-spoken and lucid, and if you feel similarly, go ahead and vote for her.  She also stated that she thinks that Dick Cheney missed a couple of opportunities to expand the powers of the vice presidency.  Which, you know, good for her, and if you want Sarah Palin to be more powerful than Dick Cheney is, go ahead and vote for her (that is, certainly, the hopes of the Republican base she is meant to energize).  She misidentified our troop leader in Afghanistan as General McClellan, which I think is an honest mistake to make — if you, like McClellan, are an arch-conservative secessionist (to say nothing of the whole slavery thing).


24 Responses to “Obligatory Vice-Presidential Debate Thread”
  1. cheshyre says:

    Keep in mind that as memorable as Lloyd Bentsen’s knockout blow may have been, his side still lost the election.

    I think that’s one of the reasons why the debaters don’t bother trying for such gems any more…

  2. mcbrennan says:

    It’s an honest mistake; I believe McCain served with McClellan, so she’s probably heard McCain talk about him.

    Poor Admiral Stockdale. He was certainly as heroic as McCain and honestly more so. He would have made a lot better vice president than certain folksy, telegenic A Face In The Crowd types I can think of.

    As for Bentsen–well, he was just the recipient of the best setup line in the history of politics. It was Dukakis who tanked in a debate. The Duke was the first Presidential candidate I ever voted for. I’m surprised I even went back, honestly.

    • Todd says:

      Myself, my first vote went to John Anderson. That showed ’em.

      • mcbrennan says:

        I ran in very politically-wonkish circles for a long time, and sometime in the late 80s, as a birthday gift, I gave a good friend an officially autographed, framed 8×10 of John Anderson. We’re not friends anymore, I have no idea why.

    • clayfoot says:

      Hey, you’re not stuck with just the top 4. There are other options, perhaps more underwhelming than in previous years, but a few good picks, at least.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Having just read Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals,” and backed that up with a quick Wikipedia check, I can confidently state that Gen. George McClellan was not a secessionist, and I’m not sure he was an arch-conservative, either.

    He was, however, a disloyal, preening, arrogant tool, who harbored vast and rapacious ambition for power and blamed everyone but himself for his own mistakes. Seriously, I spent a good 20% of my time reading “ToR” marveling at what utter, monumental jackasses he and Salmon P. Chase were. So you’ve definitely got material to draw comparisons with there. (:

    — N.A.

    • Todd says:

      Sorry, my McClellan scholarship is a little rusty. I haven’t read Goodwin’s book, although it’s on my shelf of Lincoln biographies. I myself, for a long period of time, wanted to write a William Henry Seward screenplay, based on the same ideas as in Team of Rivals — and I would have done it too, if it hadn’t been for that meddling Doris Kearns Goodwin getting her massive, authoritative book to the market first.

  4. yezra says:

    Someone obviously (and wisely) got ahold of her and instructed her in the art of not only forming complete sentences, but actual paragraphs. Still, in all, she sounded practiced, and it was distracting the way she looked down at her notes so much.

    Biden kept himself in check, as I expected, but he also sounded like he was answering from what he knew, not what he practiced. That, to me, was the most obvious difference between them.

    It was her forced charm that made me ill. I wish she’d talk to us like we have brains instead of all the smarmy, cutsey comments, and just stop with the home town-soccer mom BS already.

    Then again, I do not think she is capable of doing that. It gives me shivers to think what sort of damage this person will do to foreign relations.

  5. rxgreene says:

    I’m going to echo someone else and say I think she was sandbagging us on the interviews. Why? So that way anything she did short of a major meltdown or error would raise her up in the eyes of the general public.

    • charlequin says:

      Given that the interviews pretty directly impacted McCain’s polling numbers for the worse, yet even with her pundit-victory of beating lowered expectations Palin still came out far worse than Biden in polls of undecided voters watching the debates, if she really was sandbagging it was a pretty horrible strategic choice.

  6. yesdrizella says:

    Gosh darn it, where to begin? The entire time I watched Palin, I was reminded of Jane Lynch’s character in A Mighty Wind – a woman who delivers creepy bullshit lines with a non-threatening voice and a pageant smile. She has guts, though; to tell the moderator that she might not answer her question and instead go completely off-topic – that takes ovaries!

    The moment of the night definitely went to Biden when he mentioned raising two kids as a single dad. A reader on an other blog I visit said it better than I can:

    I am so very very very tired of Conservative playing the “family” values card as if Mom and Dad are the only defintion of “family” and “right” values. When Joe Biden said this, he slammed her for assuming that only women can raise children and only “mom and dad” make a family.

  7. Anonymous says:


    Ever since the debate, I no longer get an erection from hearing the words “Sarah Palin”. What happened to me?

    (At least I can still get it up if you evoke Hilary Clinton)

  8. ndgmtlcd says:

    I keep thinking that she was dressed in black, like the wicked witch of the West.