Thursday, October 2, 2008

DeBait - Yer darn right!

Bloggin' real time, for you the Readership.

Not since Oscar Night have my random observations of the big race been so captivating....
My first thought, on sitting down to the show (after someone should fix up this room) was that one should not eat hot dogs while watching political debates. It is far too easy to choke.

Here is an excellent fact I heard on NPR (speaking of seething pencil-necked eastern liberals like us): Joe Biden's first Congressional debate occured when Sarah Palin was in the 3rd grade. So was I, for that matter. You know who was hot as a pistol when I was in 3rd grade? Pat Schroeder. now that's hot.

Gwen Ifill - also hot (start counting the use of the word Also). Ifill reminds me of every school principal I had growing up. She could make me eat glass just by cocking an eyebrow and saying, "Think you got some glass to eat there." She's got it all over Jim Lay-rah, though I notice they had identical opening remarks.

"Can I call you Joe?" are the Governor's first words, and she sometimes does, but Uncle Joe is loath to call her Sarah. The one time he does, he sucks it back in like a spit-out rice grain, and he has clearly been advised against this familiarity. But sucks, she's jest a gal from the fronn-teer, she can't help but call a Joe a Joe.

You know what I do like is Biden's conversational tone of voice -- an interview more than a speech. Hillary Clinton won me over during her famous "cafe breakdown" moment, not because she almost cried, but because for the first time I was able to hear her normal speaking voice. Later this evening, we will see Biden nearly cry, but it doesn't win me over.
Pat Schroeder could tell you a few things about that.

What's remarkable about recordings of Bobby Kennedy speeches is how almost dull his speaking voice was. But because you are not distracted by it, you can listen to what he is saying. So I get it that people like the plain talkin' and all. The difference for me is I like to hear substantive things spoken as if you have really thought about and internalized them, rather than if they were forwarded in email from your Aunt Dottie.
When Palin opens with soccer parents on the sidelines, she may win over those soccer parents, but I don't want my leaders to be just like me. I'm not very good.

The one-time sports reporter knows how to work the camera, though, which most sideline parents will not. Biden seems to forget that he might sometimes be on screen, in spite of having seen the first C-Span cameras roll in in 1979 (Sarah Palin - 15).

Biden tells a good story about the guy who doesn't know what it costs to fill his tank because he never has enough money. That's a clever turn of phrase, but you played right into the hands of the Governor with more poor people than you. If she were quicker on her feet, she might have picked up on that, but it was not on the notecards.

Here are some petty points:
Joe - this lighting is not flattering you.
Sarah - how far back on your head are your ears?
Sarah - is peplum coming back? Because I am afraid I will not look as fierce in it as I once believed I did.
Joe - if I think about what your hair does when you lie down in the bathtub, I get pretty freaked out.
Joe - Sarah's flag is more patriotic than yours -- because it supports the troops, and it is sparkly.

Right about here Palin disses the current administration.

That's pretty awesome, whether she meant to do it or not. But the RNC just might call her into the office tomorrow.

It astounds me whenever anyone tries to explain the US Healthcare system. I just spent about an hour the other night trying to reconcile my claim statements against my actual doctor visits this year. There were 3 of them. Plus 2 mammograms. I was there for all of them. And I still can't match charges to "services" provided.

I have become distracted by trying to figure out what the backdrop is quoting.

What if Oprah moderated these discussions and made them sit on couches? Or better yet, Dr Phil on those wierd barstools. I knew Dick Cavett. Dick Cavett was a friend of mine. You, sir, are no Dick Cavett.

Palin: "Energy is my area of expertise."

Joe - stop raising your hand when you speak; it is veiny and clawlike. You might as well laugh like Walter Brennan.

Palin: "Alaska feels climate change more than every other state." Phone call for you, Governor. It's the Gulf Coast.
Biden: " nuclear." It takes a Pennsylvanian to add the word SAFE to nuclear.

Natural gas pipeline? Ok, that sounds serious and real. If Alaska's governor is the kind that has real power and input into projects like that, then I am interested. If this is, like...say... Texas' governor, then maybe it doesn't mean anything.

Alaska has 375 million acres. 60% of it is federal land, another 44 million (>10%) is tribal land. The state itself owns about 90 million.

Gwen goes for the lightning round, including a turn at "would you rather?" on Iran and Afghanistan. Palin admits that some of her best friends are gay-friendly.

During this segment Palin remains smooth and unstuttering on her "Main St" ideas. When George Bush talks, I think he is not even listening to himself. It is like he has learned the lines phonetically. I do believe that Sarah Palin believes what she says. It just makes me want to measure myself for a veil.

Biden: "We will end this war." If ever there were a soundbite in search of an ass...
And here I think Joe Biden might be the first to cry.

Nice exam essay questions, Gwen Ifill. If I didn't already know you are a Simmons woman, I'd wonder if you learned that at Hollins.

True Hollins Exam question from my freshman world religions class; "Who has the right to the Holy Land?" I think I skipped it. It I had only known of the 2-state solution. Darn it! That worked so well in Czechoslovakia. Albania. Iraq. Canada.

As the night wears on, Biden begins to weaken. I am reminded of A Little Night Music.

A weekend in the country
Is delightful
If it's planned.
Wear your hair down, and a flower,
Don't use makeup, dress in white.
She'll grow older by the hour
And be hopelessly shattered by Saturday night.

Palin's granddaughterly respect act is her white dress; her gushing recitation of Biden's primary conflicts with Obama are the flower in her hair. I am waiting for her to say "I have looked up to you my whole life! I wrote a report on you in civics class after you were charged with plagarism!"

Man, I am growing older by the hour myself. And this is one long hour.

Palin goes in for the kill, pulling her Columbo act. "You Washington lifers, I just don't understand. The one thing I can't figure, Senator, and just forgive me, I won't be a minute... but where were you when the appropriations went missing?" (you have to imagine my dead-on Peter Falk and it really kills). Joe starts to flail around like Frankenstein's monster, watching the clock, licking his lips. He digs into every one of his reported hometowns for a similar Joe Six-Pack experience.

Palin: "John McCain knows how to win a war."

Shoot again, barracuda. That one's a brick.

Palin: "Doggone it." Doggone it? Seriously?! Well H-E-double hockey mom sticks. Who wants Hot Dish?

When asked to describe their proposed VP roles, they are
Palin - intern
Biden - First Lady

Suddenly, in the "final throes," Biden tosses a glove at the feet of Dick Cheney, calling him the "most dangerous vice president this country has known." Aaron Burr snickers and says, "Pfft - His guy didn't even die." Biden's car may roll off the road on the way home.

As the Palins and Bidens meet on the stage, after the bell has rung, I hear myself think, "That is a lot of daughters in one place." And I don't know yet what I think about that, only that it was remarkable.

In the end, Geraldine Ferraro summed up most of what I was thinking in her after-chat with Brian Williams. It's not drawn in here - I can't find a clip of it posted yet, but you can look for it. I probably didn't need to write this essay at all.

Mondale/Ferraro was my first presidential election, as I have mentioned before, and tonight made me miss her a little bit.

Ferraro/Schroeder in 2012. If only such a thing were possible.


  1. Brilliant Mizz Bender, brava! You forgot word count for the use of the word maverick! I now have to rewrite my Linkedin intro, as I think I use that word and it now annoys me.

    And I loved that Palin said: 1) She has a diverse family! 2) said Ahmadinejad three times fast, three times!!! 3) and that winking! If only I were in her wink path. Sigh!


    PS. when do my sunset years begin? with this economy, never.

  2. But I wondered why a woman who can say Ahmadinejad three times fast can't pronounce "nuclear".

  3. Doggone it, where the heck do ya think all those final consonants went?
    If someone aspires to a position where the potential exists to have a finger on the nuclear button, wouldn't it be a good thing to be able to pronounce the word?

  4. living in alabama, my demorcrat friends are few and far between. i think it's something about the unfortunate gene pool, or the propensity for backwards thinking, or something that goes on down here - but even seemingly normal people in the south are staunch republicans, no matter what. one of my few democrat friends turned up with a mccain palin sticker on her car the other day. it did not give me a good feeling. i have a feeling i'm going to get that sick pit in my stomach come election day....


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