My VP debate prediction *Update*

Debates, Politics, US Elections, US Politics

Expecting to see a repeat of the Couric interview on the stage Thursday night? Get used to disappointment. What we will see is Sarah Palin relentlessly attack Biden — about his gaffes, his age, made up stuff, whatever. Do not expect her to even try to answer a question with any depth. She is at her best when delivering snarky lines about her opponents with cutesy lip smacking femininity. Her base will LOVE it. Biden might too.

Thanks to Butryflynet for great information. Not everyone reads comments, so I’m adding them here. You can view one of Sarah Palin’s past debate performances here.

2006 Gubernatorial Debate — Sarah Palin, Tony Knowles and Andrew Halcro

Andrew Halcro reflects on his experiences debating Palin and has some advice for Biden.

“Andrew, I watch you at these debates with no notes, no papers, and yet when asked questions, you spout off facts, figures, and policies, and I’m amazed. But then I look out into the audience and I ask myself, ‘Does any of this really matter?’ ” Palin said.

While policy wonks such as Biden might cringe, it seemed to me that Palin was simply vocalizing her strength without realizing it. During the campaign, Palin’s knowledge on public policy issues never matured – because it didn’t have to. Her ability to fill the debate halls with her presence and her gift of the glittering generality made it possible for her to rely on populism instead of policy.



  1. Butrflynet  •  Oct 1, 2008 @2:40 am

    Freeduck, you might find these items of interest.

    This is the video from a 2006 gubernatorial debate featuring Sarah Palin and her opponents in Alaska. Her performance during it is quite strikingly familiar to what we saw of her in the Gibson and Couric interviews.

    Election Special
    The Alaska Daily News and Alaska Public Television Stations sponsored this debate between gubernatorial candidates Sarah Palin, Tony Knowles and Andrew Halcro.
    Recorded: 2 Nov 06

    This is the advice Andrew Halcro has for Joe Biden in today’s Christian Science Monitor:

    What it’s like to debate Sarah Palin

    I know firsthand: She’s a master of the nonanswer.
    By Andrew Halcro
    from the October 1, 2008 edition

    A few excerpts:

    “I should know. I’ve debated Governor Palin more than two dozen times. And she’s a master, not of facts, figures, or insightful policy recommendations, but at the fine art of the nonanswer, the glittering generality. Against such charms there is little Senator Biden, or anyone, can do.

    On paper, of course, the debate appears to be a mismatch.”>

    “On paper, the difference in experience on both domestic and foreign policy is like the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing a bullet. Unfortunately for Biden, if recent history is an indicator, experience or a grasp of the issues won’t matter when it comes to debating Palin.

    “And when she does answer the actual question asked, she has a canny ability to connect with the audience on a personal level. For example, asked to name a major issue that had been ignored during the campaign, I discussed the health of local communities, Mr. Knowles talked about affordable healthcare, and Palin talked about … the need to protect hunting and fishing rights.

    So what does that mean for Biden? With shorter question-and-answer times and limited interaction between the two, he should simply ignore Palin in a respectful manner on the stage and answer the questions as though he were alone. Any attempt to flex his public-policy knowledge and show Palin is not ready for prime time will inevitably cast him in the role of the bully.

    On the other side of the stage, if Palin is to be successful, she needs to do what she does best: fill the room with her presence and stick to the scripted sound bites.


    So which Sarah will show up at this week’s debate, the sassy kid or the empathetic dodger? The good news is that Gwen Ifill is the debate moderator and that should offer some very revealing questions for responses from the participants. I enjoyed the video of her interview with Paul Portney at the University of Arizona. Gwen relayed anecdotes of her nervousness and preparation for moderating the 2004 Vice Presidential debate. How she selected and crafted the questions she asked gives insight into what we can expect this week.

  2. Butrflynet  •  Oct 1, 2008 @6:37 am

    Here’s the Gwen Ifill interview I referred to.

  3. sozobe  •  Oct 1, 2008 @8:27 am

    I think you’re right, FreeDuck. At least, I think that what you describe is her natural tendency and probably what she SHOULD be doing, out of the options available to her.

    But I’m very curious about how she’ll emerge from the coaching and cramming sessions that the McCain campaign has her going though. I think she has all this stuff swimming in her head which may just put her off her game. And I think they (the McCain campaign) wants her to hit some minimum threshold of credibility. Which means she might be trying to do that instead of doing her more natural schtick.

    I dunno, I can see things going either way at this point.

    I might not be able to watch it live!! Argh.

  4. seo blog  •  Oct 18, 2008 @9:52 am

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