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2008 Vice Presidential Debate

 
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brian-hansen
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Joined: 17 Mar 2006
Posts: 712
Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2008 2:59 am    Post subject: 2008 Vice Presidential Debate Reply with quote

Both candidates passed the "personality test" of not
being the kind of person that people hate instinctively.

And Palin's supporters must've liked what they saw, because
I've heard that over 30% of viewers thought she "won"
the debate. But two incidents in particular illustrated to
me that Palin's performance was a failure, and one that
reflects poorly on the Republican ticket.

The first case is when misleading claims are made about
the opponent's positions. "He voted twenty times for
tax increases", say. That's just an example: I don't have
the transcript. There were at least two occasions where
Biden simply refuted the claim, showed how it was misleading
and one-sided, how if the same standard were applied to
McCain, those statistics would sound even worse.

For something to be a lie, there must be a false statement
and an intention to deceive. If you are caught making a
factually true, but misleading statement, then it isn't a lie,
per se. It's just something said that is meant to deceive
and mislead the hearer.

You could tell that Biden had training as a lawyer.
With remarkable restraint and clarity, he refuted the
claims and showed Palin as either a deceiver, or the
pawn of one. It would not have been politic for him to
say it, but I can: what do you think about voting for someone
who just tried to deceive and manipulate you?

The other incident involved the RNC's favorite meme,
"you voted for it, after you voted against it" or some such.
I can't believe that this one still works on anyone but
the most hopeless rube. Again, refuted with a clarity
and restraint that I found admirable.

As a gimmick, "Say it isn't so, Joe" might've worked,
except for what followed. Palin had her mental cue
cards out of order, because she said something along
the lines of how the American public wanted a "straight"
explanation, when he had just given what I heard to be
a perfectly succinct and cogent one. She was figuratively
"on the wrong page". Thus she was revealed to be not
only "prepared", as anyone would be, but tightly scripted,
without necessarily having the skills to adjust that script
as events unfold in an unexpected way.

I could interpret these incidents as "debating points".
but I think what they reveal about the candidate and
the RNC is important.

There is danger in promoting misleading ideas, and in
tightly scripting politicians. When these are revealed,
the cost is higher than the gains made. Or, at least,
it should be. And it didn't seem to work. Most polls
showed that Biden made the better case.
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