Thursday, October 02, 2008
Tonight's Must-See TV!!
Well, folks, Thursday night funnies (i.e. The Office, My Name Is Earl, etc.) are being pre-empted, but I can assure you they're being replaced by something that is WAY funnier: the vice-presidential debate! Never before in history has a televised debate between two VPs been more anticipated than this one. The last time Joe Biden was involved in a major debate, he screwed up his finish so badly he ended up dropping out of the race. And whenever Sarah Palin opens her mouth, her entire staff or handlers cringe in the corner, praying to God that He will help her shut her mouth and actually answer ONE question openly and honestly.
I think in the last few weeks it's been made extremely clear that Palin is absolutely unfit for this job. Republicans are angrily telling critics to back off, and saying Sarah is a fast learner. Uh... being next in line to the most powerful office in the world is NOT the place for on-the-job training. Tell her she's anti-feminist because she wants to take away a woman's right to choose what to do with her own body, and she'll tell you that YOU are anti-feminist and are coming down on her because she's a woman. Criticize her for having nary a clue about foreign policy, and she'll tell you that while you have to read a paper to find out what's going on over there, she just needs a pair of binoculars. Ask her about health care, and she'll tell a funny anecdote about Fred from Anchorage who once went into the hospital for gangrene and it turns out he'd just gotten green lint on his toes from his socks. Ha! Ha!... ha. Ask her if she can name a single newspaper or magazine where she gets her news from, and she'll say you're just part of the Washington elite.
Seriously. Check out this YouTube clip where Katie Couric asks her to name ONE newspaper in the world.
Note the trademark deflection, the waving of the hands, the generalization, the changing of the topic, and turning it around on Couric by making her look like she's anti-Alaskan? Don't ever accuse Sarah Palin of being an idiot: When it comes to making herself look like she has a clue when she doesn't, she's a genius. Republicans would say Katie Couric was lobbing a hard-nosed question at her and then quote some softball question she'd given Joe Biden. Give me a break. There's GOT to be a point when Republicans just take off those damn hypocrite hats and wake up and say sorry, Sarah, you've gotta go.
I initially said to friends, "If I were Joe Biden, I'd just sleep in until 5 minutes before the debate." But Biden's smarter than that. You can't underestimate a person who can win over Americans by being cute, waving a flag, and dodging every question. After all, she made it to Alaskan governor by doing the exact same thing.
One of her biggest rivals is Andrew Halcro, who debated her for the Alaskan governorship. He said often she'd be up there rambling on about something that had absolutely nothing to do with the question, and while the other candidates came to the table armed with real data and research, she had nothing more than a handy anecdote, a quick quip (what's the difference between a pitbull and a hockey mom) and a biting comment about her rivals. They'd roll their eyes, only to look out at the room and see she'd entirely enraptured her audience.
Here's CNN's fact-check of her acceptance speech:
In tonight's debate, Sarah will make several gaffes (one can hope), possibly have the home audience in stitches (one can pray), but will undoubtedly have FOX News claiming that she'd hit that one out of the park, and quote from her endlessly. Middle Americans will wave their flags proudly and pat themselves on the back for allowing a woman to come *this close* to the White House. Jon Stewart will have fodder for MONTHS.
But Joe Biden has to lay off, and I'm thinking that will be his strategy. He can out-answer her on every single point, but he'll be best served not showing her up, not actually quoting facts (Republicans will say he's being mean to poor widdle Sarah if he does that), not coming down on her stance on abortion (Republicans will criticize a man for taking a stance on a woman's body, despite the fact McCain and Bush do the same thing... that's DIFFERENT, people!). So far, Biden's been able to stay pretty quiet in the campaign while loud-mouthed Sarah's been out there -- "ALASKA!!" -- digging her own little grave while McCain support dwindles. He probably needs to do pretty much the same thing. Let her stand there and make a fool of herself, or let her stand there and talk about Alaska and health care and newspapers and Russia and NATO in the most general of terms so she can trick people into thinking she actually knows something, and then give it a couple of days for the world to actually look at the transcripts, realize she didn't answer a single question, and her handlers can clean up her mess.
But knowing her, they won't be able to. One thing is for sure: Tina Fey will be watching, and I cannot WAIT to see her reenacting the debate on SNL. Remember: Joe Biden made a mistake in a campaign once and stepped down so it wouldn't hurt his party. While Republicans are quoting this gaffe endlessly (in an effort to pin ANYTHING on Biden at this point) what that showed is that he put his party first. I'm not sure Sarah would ever step down, because she wants in there so badly.
Matt Damon said it best when he said this is all like some crazy Disney fantasy movie, where a hockey mom from Alaska suddenly finds herself in the White House by accident, and begins winning over politicians and voters with her folksy charm and wisdom.
The problem is, the Disney movie isn't real. And it comes to an end. If the Republicans actually win this one, we're all doomed.