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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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October 3, 2008

On the wormless ABC1 version of the VP debate, Palin did better than expected, although plenty have been unkind enough to point out that expectations were pretty low. The tiny stumbles and robotic delivery would probably have gone largely unnoticed, and 'nucular' is a perfectly acceptable way of pronouncing nuclear in some circles.

Biden failed to gaffe or attack Palin as widely feared, and otherwise put in the professional performance expected. It was rather nice to hear an American politician acknowledge the country's international reputation could do with some attention, and to come straight out and say global warming is man made so alternative energy sources have to be a priority.

It looked pretty much of a draw, but I'm not an undecided Ohio voter.

Over at the Poll Bludger, Possum contributed running commentary on a worm displaying the responses of an audience of Ohio voters, split between men and women.

If it's true that, after Clinton, women will be the election deciders, Obama should make the best possible use of Biden from here on in. The worm tanked every time Palin did the hockey mom, middle America, us girls, and maverick stuff, which is a bit of a bummer considering that's her brand. Women don't like it. Well, Ohio women anyway.

Men responded more favourably and more evenly, but seemed rather excited when Sarah turned to counter-insurgence. All worms went under when Palin mentioned McCain abandoning his campaign in order to rescue the economy.

On the other hand, Biden only had to open his mouth for the women's worm to start climbing. According to Possum, they were throwing underwear at one point. There could be some ugly domestics in Ohio when the happy couples go home tonight.

| Posted by Lyn at 3:41 PM | | Comments (14)


Yes, she pitched straight to the rednecks. So much like the garbage Howard used so poorly last year when cornered by Rudd labor.
All they have left is mossie night terrors, to scare them, just as Howard also attempted via the botched Haneef affair back here.

Now you mention it, Palin did stick with the vague language of terrorism, while Biden homed in on the Afghanistan Pakistan border and bin Laden in particular. That much smaller target probably makes the whole WoT seem way more achievable.

Biden's worm rating did well when he said it's time to hand Iraq back to the Iraqis.

Palin appealed to the Republic small town base not the independent middle that will decide the election. The base may be reassured but not the independent middle where the Hillary Clinton Democrats reside.

Nan, it's reminiscent of watching the Howard firewall strategy once everyone realised that was what was going on.

It seems too good to be true, but the culture wars campaign strategy seems to be falling over, which can only be a good thing for Americans everywhere. It will be interesting to see the next few global surveys of attitudes towards the US.

Palin answered the questions by pretty much moving straight to the talking points. Pity the moderator didn't ask her about her views that human beings and dinosaurs inhabited this planet simultaneously only 6,000 years ago) and that only "elitists" would question her expertise.

Still, though a folksy Palin did met a basic standard of competence, she did not change the overall dynamic of the race that now has McCain at a disadvantage. John McCain pulling out of contesting Michigan indicates that. As Michael Tomasky says in The Guardian:

Michigan is a "blue" state, having voted for Al Gore and John Kerry. But it didn't do so by wide margins, and it's one that McCain's people had very much been hoping to pick off and turn red. It has 17 electoral votes. Only seven states have more. McCain winning Michigan would have been a very big deal. But that's seemingly off the table now,

Tomasky goes on to say that:
Meanwhile, let's look at the other battleground states. The list is roughly as follows: Florida (27 electoral votes), Ohio (20), North Carolina (15), Virginia (13), Indiana (11), Colorado (nine), Iowa (seven), New Mexico (five) and New Hampshire (four). That's nine states worth a total of 111 electoral votes.Here's the interesting thing about those nine states: eight of them voted for George Bush in 2004. Only the smallest one - New Hampshire - went for Kerry. This means that the battle is taking place on what used to be almost entirely red territory but is now up for grabs.

By contrast, aside from New Hampshire, there isn't a single Kerry state where McCain currently has more-or-less even footing in the polls. A few are close-ish - a margin for Barack Obama of five points or fewer - notably Pennsylvania (21) and Minnesota (10). But in none would you say today that McCain is poised to capture it.

Things don't look good for McCain at this stage. His strategy appears to have shifted from giving up on winning Democratic states to one in favour of holding the states Bush won in 2004.

She'd had such intensive coaching you couldn't expect much more. She's been criticised a lot for sticking to talking points, but if she really is as dim as she's said to be, she deserves credit at least for carrying that off. I think, anyway. That's not to say she'd make a brilliant VP by any means.

It seems to me that she's not there as a politician or potential VP, but as a theatrical prop, which is a role she fills well. It's just bad luck for her that she's filling that role at a time when Americans are looking for someone to manage some serious problems which affect them directly. She probably would have made a much bigger impact if things were still looking as rosy as they were when she got the job, but that time's gone and window dressing is looking superfluous.

Humbly concur with Lyn's analysis of Palin. A sad waste.
Gary, the thing with them giving up Michigan is, its not such a different state from Ohio.
If they are giving up Michigan, what can their hopes for Ohio be?

For mine, the two most interesting things about the debate were Palin's competence given a bit of coaching (which competencies are thought by PR people to be desirable in a candidate) and the failure of social conservative symbolism in a crisis situation (as suggested by the polls so far).

On both counts the Republicans got it wrong. That suggests to me that they're anticipating a loss of monumental proportions.

Lyn, She did ok but she still has an incoherency problem. She was all over the place.

As Guy Rundle points out in The Age:

The debate format - allowing no cross-questioning between candidates, and with no panel throwing in follow-ups - allowed her [Palin]to trot out a series of set-piece answers, and pretty much not answer questions she didn't like.

Whenever a question was the least bit challenging, she simply switched the topic -back to the talking points such as energy.

She's horrible in transcripts, but probably passes for most people watching telly.

Apparently the debate was a ratings winner. If the only thing she's achieved is to get people paying attention, that's a good thing.

Still, I'm glad there's only one. Like Nan says, she has about 4 talking points which doesn't make for riveting debate.

Yes, she pitched straight to the rednecks

No wonder Australia has swung so far to the Right, when the Left is represented by assholes like this.

Two timely essays on McCain and Palin:

Make Believe Maverick by Tim Dickinson in Rolling Stone--also available on Truth Out

Cut,Kill,Dig,Drill by Jonathan Raban in the London Review of Books.

Which "
assholes" does yo' means, J. Grunfeldt?
Ps, what did you make of 4 Corners on Frank Lowey and the Leichtenstein bank last night?
Now THERE'S "assholes", for you!!