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photos by Lara Shipley


October 3rd, 2008 · 6 Comments

No, no, no.  This is really sort of insane.  What we saw tonight was a tolerably effective Palin as a function of being well-prepped—a Palin who did well, at least relative to expectations, by sticking to her prefab talking points instead of getting lured into attempting to respond to the questions. She pulled it off because she ignored all the “helpful advice” from the “let Sarah be Sarah” crowd and memorized her lines well.  But please, nobody watching her shuddering, heel-tapping, moose-in-headlights act for the first hour, or her transparent reliance on notes throughout, can contend with a straight face that we got a moment of spontaneity from Palin in there. She did what she needed to do—avoided a meltdown—but it was the opposite of “authenticity.”

Update: Speaking of which: data point 7,532 in support of the theory that Andy McCarthy is completely fucking nuts.  Don’t say Ifill did a decent job! We can’t play the refs if you say that! Gaaaaaaa!

Tags: Horse Race Politics · Journalism & the Media



6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Franklin Harris // Oct 3, 2008 at 4:25 am

    Kathryn Jean Lopez. The Corner. Insane. Redundant.

  • 2 Gil // Oct 3, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    You’re right that the debate wasn’t an example of “Let[ting] Sarah be Sarah.”

    But, she did demonstrate some competence at executing the prepared strategy, and showed that she isn’t quite the fool that many enjoy believing.

    We’re still in the position of not having much of an idea what it would be like if she gave authentic responses. And, I doubt we’ll get to see that before the election.

  • 3 Julian Sanchez // Oct 3, 2008 at 1:05 pm

    Well, put it this way Gil, I think it’s at least suggestive that the campaign doesn’t seem to *trust* her to just answer questions naturally, since they pretty clearly gave her a series of canned talking points to deliver with little regard for whether they were responsive to the questions posed.

  • 4 Alex // Oct 3, 2008 at 3:38 pm

    I don’t think she did much to help the McCain campaign last night. What I think she did do was keep her own career from ending – meaning that she can now run for the GOP nomination 2012 without it being an automatic joke. In fact, it will be fascinating to see what happens when she does do this and to see how many of her current eager apologists end up nitpicking everything she says when she’s competing head-to-head with Romney or Thompson or some other darling of the conservative punditocracy.

  • 5 Gil // Oct 3, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    That’s true. But, every politician does that (non-responsive answering) to some extent. I was surprised that she came out and declared that she was going to do that.

    It could be that they’re afraid she’ll say embarrassing things, because she’s ignorant. Or, it could be that her authentic answers aren’t perfectly aligned with McCain’s policies.

    I don’t know the exact reason. And, I can understand the campaign wanting to play it safe even if she would give great authentic responses 99% of the time. It’s the 1% that would end up on YouTube, and exaggerated on SNL.

  • 6 Peter Orvetti // Oct 6, 2008 at 6:04 am

    I had thought going in that it would be like the Bush-Gore debates — the bar was so low for one candidate that the other, known for being a long-winded wonk, was in peril. That’s kinda what happened.