Last night, Skippy and I attended the vice presidential debate, showing at the Homer Theatre, in Homer, Alaska.
The crowd was surprisingly sparse, possibly an effect from last week’s failed attempt to show the first presidential debate. Or maybe Alaskans aren’t interested in the possibility of being made into the butt of a big Sarah Palin joke?
There were probably 50 people total, many wearing Obama buttons and t-shirts. When the candidates entered, one (1) person clapped and yelled “Wooo!” when Palin walked on.
The debate itself has been dissected by better commentators than I, so I won’t give a blow-by-blow account here. I do have some thoughts to share, though.
Palin needs more practice redirecting the discussion…or maybe just staying on topic. Several times she responded to an accusation about McCain’s record or judgment on important issues with “That’s not true, but I want to talk about something else.” Denial followed by non sequitur does not win a debate.
Biden pointed out more than one issue that was “the fundamental difference” between Obama/Biden and McCain/Palin. Remember, if there is only one item, it is the fundamental difference. If there is more than one item, the one you are currently talking about is a fundamental difference. Or maybe use “fundamental” less. Dictionary.app tells me there are more than a dozen synonyms for fundamental, why not use one of them occasionally?
If Palin is elected VP, will she give “shout-outs” to her brother’s (or whomever) third grade class during press conferences?
And Palin, for the love of all that is pure and holy, stop winking at me! This is a debate for future vice presidents, not a beauty pageant or a PTA meeting.
The crowd at the theater reacted to several moments in the debate, and proved that the majority did not feel any great love for their governor. There was a lot of cheering and clapping after Biden’s barb about McCain’s health care plan being “the ultimate bridge to nowhere.” Even more after Biden’s impassioned charge that Dick Cheney is the most dangerous VP in history. Around Palin’s third invocation of “back home in Alaska…”, the groans became audible. After Palin’s now classic misunderstanding of “what is your Achilles heel,” one audience member shouted a bewildered “WHAT?”
Skippy spent most of the debate pinching the bridge of her nose and trying not to yell at the screen. I spent most of the debate laughing. The constant smiling, the winks, the false sincerity, it seemed like something straight out of a movie. Sort of like this:
(Video removed because it’s causing trouble. I’ll repost when I get my Vimeo account going.)
Afterwards, Skippy and I shared a pizza at Fat Olive’s, and discussed the debate. Maybe she’ll post some of her observations on her blog? Then, of course, it was time to check the analysis on the political blogs. I think it’s funny that, no matter what actually occurs, you see your side as the clear winner. Conservative blogs trumpeted a Palin victory, despite no substantial content to many of her answers, and all but a few polls showing Biden winning. Though, I guess if the ability to not answer questions, instead reading pre-written soundbites off of notecards, and winking at the camera are the mark of a great leader, it makes sense. Maybe that’s what mavericks do.