That’s the line I’ve heard over and over since the debate ended last night. The Republicans are breathing a sigh of relief because the vice presidential candidate didn’t implode. That’s some rave review.
They’re right, however. Sarah Palin most certainly didn’t implode. There were no weird, crazy-head ramblings about ” … the healthcare reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the — oh — it’s gotta be all about job creation … ” I will admit, evil-spirited, snarky bitch that I am, that I was hoping for 90 minutes full of those (even if just to watch Jack Cafferty’s reaction).
She didn’t implode. No. She also didn’t debate. She announced at the start that she had no intention of engaging in debate, said: “I may not answer the questions the way [you] want to hear …” which then gave her the open door to follow her carefully prepared speech and not answer anything at all. That’s how afraid McCain was of letting her loose on the debate stage. I can’t say that I blame him, but what we saw last night wasn’t a debate. Gwen Ifill (who I adore and want to grow up to be) did her best, but only one candidate on that stage made a show of answering even one of her questions. And it wasn’t our Joe six-pack, hockey-mom from “up there in Alaska.” (What the fuck does ‘Joe six-pack’ mean, anyway?)
She didn’t implode because she. read. from. a. script. Hello! Waiting to be called on and then reading a prepared, rehearsed statement is not debating. And even with the planned comments she had moments of struggle. At one point when her turn to speak came, she stared down at her lectern, clearly searching for her answer: had she lost her place on the page or was she looking for an ‘answer’ she hadn’t given yet? She kept us waiting with a long “Ummm … ” until she found her place in the script.
The other thing she got points for, in addition to her success in not imploding, was ‘talking the way regular people do.’ I’m a fairly regular person — though I’m not from up there in Alaska — and Sarah Palin was definitely not speaking like me. Not like anyone else I know, either. I don’t even believe she really speaks that way. I would love to see her script. Did the speech writers come up with that hateful pap or did they just pepper her comments with “[insert folksy colloquialism here]”?
Yes, yes, of course. I’m one of those East Coast elitists she pointed at. Worse still, I’m from — horrors — New York City. But, doggunnit, I’ll be hog-tied and pickled in prune juice if I’m the only person who was made ill by that put-up job of folksiness.
She did answer one question, the one about how a President Palin would differ from a McCain. I hope all the Democrats and Independents who are sliding right were listening. Sarah basically told us that on all the issues where she and John disagree, things would be swinging her way, parking themselves solidly in reactionary, fundamentalist territory she proudly occupies. Good of her to say it. I mean, it’s something we might have assumed anyway, but it’s good that she put it out there. This way she can say a hearty, smiling, “I told ya!” when the hue and cry is raised.
I’m so very scared here. By now I expected it to be so clear what a colossal cock-up this VP choice was. Between the Gibson and Couric interviews and the excellent writing at Mudflats, it seemed impossible that we’d still be talking about her seriously. But here we are, a month out from hold-my-breath Tuesday, and people are saying she did ok last night, saying she made some good points, saying she maybe even won the debate because she didn’t. fucking. implode. I’m sick.