October 2, 2008

Obama's Nightmare in Passing

Justin Katz

I mention this only because I caught it out of the corner of my eye and thought it was striking: On the FoxNews "focus group" of undecided voters who watched the debate together for the network, they were discussing reactions to Governor Palin and whether she's qualified, and one gentlemen pointed out that she'd been a governor and a mayor — i.e., an executive — and a black woman sitting near him cut in: "She's been there, she's done that, and she'll do it again."

I attribute no broad significance to this one speaker (people being, you know, individuals), but the image would have to give the Obama campaign chills.

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Palin did a better job connecting with the "average person", while Biden was forced to sidestep questions about why he disagreed with Obama on so many votes.

It looks like the independent focus groups confirmed Palin's win.

Lesson of the Day: Keep Palin away from MSM "interviews" and let her mix it up mano y mano with the opposition.

Posted by: Anthony at October 2, 2008 11:13 PM

She looked into the camera. She connected with the viewer at home. She was confident of what she was saying. Best of all, she managed to keep Biden on the defensive all night long -- and him looking somewhat befuddled (and heavily Botoxed -- that forehead was just weird).

As for the MSM, they may have succeeded in helping the McCain campaign lower expectations of her so low, that she was not only able to meet and exceed them, but to blow them completely out of the water. What a night!

Posted by: Will at October 3, 2008 1:40 AM

Palin did a good job, no surprise to me. I think I was one of the few on this board who had some confidence in her ability to get through 90 minutes of well prepped responses. Doesn't all the huffing and puffing about Ifill's book look silly in retrospect. The only effect that had was to subdue Ifill. There were a number of times when both candidates didn't respond to the question at hand but went off on their planned spiel, especially Palin. Ifill just let them go instead of interrupting and making them give a straight answer. That was the only discernible effect of Ifill's moderation and it worked to Palin's advantage.
Anthony, your conclusion that she must be kept from the MSM is exactly the wrong one. If the campaign continues to keep her in the bubble, she will lose whatever momentum she gained last night, She has to do the talk shows now. That's the downside of her better than expected performance (and I use the word deliberately) last night. MSM headline of the day "Palin wins debate" Real story of the day "McCain campaign pulls out of Michigan"

Posted by: observer at October 3, 2008 8:01 AM


1. No the talk about Ifill's book does not look silly. She was biased and opted not to disclose her the potential for her to benefit financially. that's an issue and should be for future debates. I do agree with you that Ifill was probably more subdued because of the story being reported. I wonder if she would have done as good a job if the story about her book deal had still been a secret before the debate.

2. I'd have no problems with Palin doing the talkshow circuit--Leno, Letterman, etc. I don't really consider them to be the "media" in the sense of the press. When I refer to MSM, I'm talking about people like Couric, Gibson, Chris Matthews, the 60 Minutes crew, etc. who seem intent on trying to play "gotcha trivial pursuit" with her (Governor Palin, so you don't know the name of the prime minister of Liechtenstein! Well, Liechtenstein is one of the world's leading producers of false teeth--how can you expect to solve America's healthcare problems if you don't know that!?!)

Posted by: Anthony at October 3, 2008 12:03 PM

The Republican Campaign Strategy, from Herodotus Book 1 Ch 60 - My emphasis added.
...Megacles, wearied with the struggle, sent a herald to Pisistratus, with an offer to reestablish him on the throne if he would marry his daughter. Pisistratus consented, and on these terms an agreement was concluded between the two, after which they proceeded to devise the mode of his restoration. And here the device on which they hit was the silliest that I find on record, more especially considering that the Greeks have been from very ancient times distinguished from the barbarians by superior sagacity and freedom from foolish simpleness, and remembering that the persons on whom this trick was played were not only Greeks but Athenians, who have the credit of surpassing all other Greeks in cleverness. There was in the Paeanian district a woman named Phya, whose height only fell short of four cubits by three fingers' breadth (about 6' tall), and who was altogether comely to look upon. This woman they clothed in complete armor, and, instructing her as to the carriage which she was to maintain in order to seem her part, they placed her in a chariot and drove to the city. Heralds had been sent forward to precede her, and to make proclamation to this effect: "Citizens of Athens, receive again Pisistratus with friendly minds. Athene, who of all men honors him the most, herself conducts him back to her own citadel." This they proclaimed in all directions, and immediately the rumor spread throughout the country districts that Athene was bringing back her favorite. They of the city also, fully persuaded that the woman was the veritable goddess, prostrated themselves before her, and received Pisistratus back.

Methinks that McCain was there and borrowed the idea.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 3, 2008 12:04 PM


That's an amusing way to try to come off as clever and well-read. Here is the problem:

Playing the card that Palin was only chosen for her less than substantive qualities and because, as a woman, has been treated with kid gloves and as a result, wins over the people beats your own record in levels of hypocrisy.

"The Republican Campaign Strategy" ... right. A Democrat would never do something like that.

"What you freely assert, I can freely deny." Nice line. Read it. Learn it. Live it.

Posted by: msteven at October 3, 2008 1:32 PM

Great anecdote, but pretty meaningless in the face of the polling done on the debate:

CNN Biden 51 Palin 36
CBS Biden 46 Palin 21
Fox Biden 61 Palin 39

Posted by: Pragmatist at October 3, 2008 4:36 PM

I don't know if I am clever, but I am well read. I'm glad you were amused, but sorry you were not edified.

Palin has shown nothing but punch limes and parroted cliches. If you think that is substance, by all means vote for her. Check Pragmatists statistics above.
I wish you no ill will, but I damned sure hope and expect that you are voice crying in the wilderness.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 3, 2008 5:02 PM


I'd say your polling data (which is on the question of who "won the debate") is pretty meaningless, unless you're positing that debating skills are critically important to Americans. I imagine there were quite a few "Biden, but" responses.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 3, 2008 5:49 PM


Since one this post's contributor's has multiple personalities I think it's possible there's another lurking. Have you noticted that you are often answered by msteven and not Justin Katz.
Just a thought. You Betcha.

Posted by: Phil at October 3, 2008 9:16 PM

Sorry to disappoint, Phil, but I never comment or post under any name but my own, here or anywhere else.

Posted by: Justin Katz at October 3, 2008 10:05 PM

Not knowingly anyway.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 4, 2008 2:18 AM


I think it bears watching. What's in your favor though is the fact that msteven's comments are usually easily understood at first read.

Posted by: phil at October 4, 2008 6:53 AM


Yeah, keep an eye on Anchor Rising, Phil. In fact, it's really a job that cannot be done by one person alone. You'd better ask for help - be sure to tell everyone you know to keep an eye on A.R.

Posted by: Monique at October 4, 2008 2:38 PM


I actually was edified by the story. But the truth is where you freely assert that Palin has shown nothing but punch lines and parroted cliches, I can just as freely assert that about Obama, Biden, or even Bill Gates if I so choose. My point was not about which candidate will win, but pointing out the routine hypocrisy in your assertions where Democrats play Snow White while Republicans play the role of the wicked witch. You may believe and assert that as reality, but that doesn’t make it true, and makes for a weak and lazy argument.

Also no ill will wished,

Posted by: msteven at October 4, 2008 3:29 PM

It seems that OTL and others paint Palin as an "empty suit" Hmmmm, what other candidate has that phrase been attributed about. Also their concern is that Palin is "only a heartbeat away from the Presidency. To be sure if McCain should pass during his time in office, all Palin has to do is pick her "Biden" for Vice-President. That would take care of her lack of experience. It seems to have worked for Obama.

Posted by: bobc at October 5, 2008 11:39 AM
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