Biden Balks While Palin Performs

Sarah Palin gave the performance of her career during this evening’s Vice Presidential debate.  Right from her initial “Can I call ya Joe?” she disarmed an initially cocky Biden, who took the first twenty minutes of the evening getting his balance to get off the defensive.  But even his easy smile and his tendency toward verbosity could not overcome this disciplined Senator.

If you’ll excuse the punny heteronym, Biden let some of Palin’s more offensive tactics slide.  Maybe he thought a tougher approach would have been tantamount to picking on the slow kid in class.  Tonight, however, Palin turned ditzy into dazzling with her newest talent show feature: “I can debate, too!”  That was just the problem.  She did all of the things a high school debate coach would tell her to do.  She broke the third wall, looking directly over the moderator to both the live and television audiences (the people in their living rooms on mainstreet, as she would have it).  Biden’s *aw, shucks* charm and toothy grin as he prepared rebuttal notes languished too long into this own remarks for the first part of the debate.

This blog is about art of all kinds, and if this campaign was about performance artists, Palin would have won tonight.  But wait . . . what about the issues?  Her well-rehearsed mantras about a “country first maverick” only went so far before Biden’s rebuttal demanded something more substantive.  Where he subtly challenged her on the issues, she consistently changed the subject or missed the subtlety entirely.

Diamond Joe came into this debate all-too-confident that he could first do no harm.  Mainstream punditry painted this tonight as a loss for the Senator on the grounds that confidence blinded him to how well-prepared Palin’s offense was.  Palin may have saved face by recovering from a disastrous CBS interview, but a good performance could not hide the vacuity of her thoughts on the issues.  An Alaskan lemming might make a pleasing Veep candidate for McMaverick, but she won’t do for thinking Americans.



Filed under reviews

9 responses to “Biden Balks While Palin Performs

  1. AF

    And that’s what it was – a performance, as in, an actor’s performance.

    Palin showed little to no understanding of the issues, and rapidly tried to change the questions to things she preferred talking about.

  2. artclecticacademic

    Exactly my point. It’s important that people recognize the distinction between performance and substance. I’m not so naive as to think that Biden doesn’t also perform (he’s a politician too, after all), but it’s getting trickier all the time for Americans to discern what is merely performative or rhetorical from what is substantive. Although Governor Palin (like President Bush and Senator McCain) makes performance and substance seem like mutually exclusive categories, that is an illusion that’s been all too convincing for far too many people.

  3. is it wrong to loathe the fact that we share a first name? BEAUTY QUEENS HAVE NO PLACE IN GOVERNMENT.
    joe six-pack would argue with this sarah, but not that one. gag gag gag.

  4. artclecticacademic

    Joe six-pack can see pretty girls anywhere he wants. Beauty is not a prerequisite for holding public office. While we’re at it, why is it that the whole country can get on John Edwards’ back for getting a $400 haircut, but when campaign workers doll Sarah Palin up to appeal to Joe six-pack, to appear smarter, or to emphasize her er, assets, the details are off limits for critique. I don’t care that much; I just don’t appreciate the double standard.

  5. Tom

    Edwards’ haircut was hypocritical given his focus on poverty — he walked into that one. Palin’s unflattering use of metallic eye shadow for the debate says to me that whatever she’s spending on image consultation, she’s not getting her money’s worth…it’s not a good look, even for Katie Couric’s biggest fan.

    On the debate, I’m surprised that you thought she did that well. Biden owned the last third, and post-debate polls reflected his dominance overall. He took a smart strategic approach to Palin by re-framing responses around McCain. In confronting the “maverick” myth head-on, he went at the ticket’s core message, with points for style.

    Media narratives be damned, the McCain campaign knows they didn’t win the VP debate, as evidenced by their ramp-up in negative ads thereafter. Too bad time is running out and voting has already begun.

  6. artclecticacademic

    Of course Edwards’ haircut was hypocritical. I didn’t know you were so into eye shadow, but that’s pretty funny (get it?)

    It’s not that I thought she performed well, it’s that I think too many people get fooled by such performances. It’s funny how the more afraid the McCain camp gets, the more fear tactics they pile on. I for one have voted absentee. My ballot is sealed and will be hand-delivered to the Supervisor of Elections office. There will be no electile dysfunction for this Floridian!

  7. In a lot of states they don’t even count the absentee votes.
    FUCK eyeshadow.

  8. artclecticacademic

    What’s your source on the absentee ballot thing. Florida messes up elections in every flavor of ballot submission. It all depends on what the resident needs to stay in residency if you follow . . .

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