The Grate Debate

Well, not much more to say that hasn’t been said since Joe Biden and The Governess debated on Thursday.

Some observations, however…

Gwen Ifills (whom people I trust say is usually very sharp) seemed oddly vague and out-of-it. Some of her questions were like slow motion pitches that a little leaguer (Like Ms. Palin) could hit out of the park. Other questions were vague and seemed to provide such wide latitude for answering that it enabled (esp. Ms. Palin) to wander all over the place. Of course she never intended in the first place to answer even hard questions– just to make speeches and false charges against her opponent’s campaign.
But still, a little more sharpness and follow-up on the part of the moderator would have been nice.

Perhaps the problem was that Ms. Ifills broke her ankle only a couple of days before the debate, and was either in pain–which threw her off her game– or, she was taking pain killers, which certainly can dull the mind.
The other reason for her lack of sharpness and control over the debate could have been that she fell for a kind of sleazy but masterful chess move the Republicans pulled a few days before the debate.

Ms. Ifills has written a book (to be published in January) entitled: The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.
Both Parties knew about this book back in July but only a few days before the debate the Republicans (and their wholly-owned corporate subsidiary, Fox News) made a big deal about how such a book (which none of them has read) obviously meant that Ms. Ifills was leaning toward Obama and would probably be a prejudiced moderator–favoring Mr. Biden.
So, perhaps in reaction to maybe being seen as a favoring the Democratic side, Ms. Ifills fell back into a less intense and controlling mode of asking questions and follow-ups–so that she couldn’t be accused of being prejudiced. If this was the case, then it was the reaction the Republicans intended.
Also, I suppose, as is the case in almost everything the Republicans do with Obama, they were also sending a coded message that, along with the title of the book, and Ms. Ifills being black and all–that there was no chance she was going to be fair to The Great wolf-slayer from Alaska.
(Just a note here? If I were in charge of the debates, and I found out about this book, I would, in the interests of fairness?and, more, importantly, the appearance of fairness?asked Ms. Ifills to bow out and I would have replaced her with someone else).

Maybe Ms. Ifills did pull some punches or be less than insistent at moments– In the end; she is the only one who would know that.
And maybe none of that matters at all… Since Ms. Palin made very clear–even stating it at one point– that she had no intention of answering the questions that were being put to her. She said she wasn’t going to supply answers that “the moderator and others might want.”
Amazing– She is proud of her contempt for civil discourse, facts, respect for the press and even for voters who might actually want to hear straight answers with real content.
Maybe she also meant, again, in a coded way, to imply that since Ms. Ifills had written that book and is black besides, that she (Ms. Palin) wasn’t going to play the moderator?s supposed prejudiced game.

In any case… Sarah cleared the one-foot bar in the high jump– Did the best she will ever do in such a forum. My guess is that that is probably the last any of us will ever see of her.
She clearly cannot handle herself in one-on-one interviews where she can’t just make memorized speeches or stare at her notes every two seconds.
She is an ignorant woman (maybe smart or shrewd) but abysmally ignorant. There is no way the Republicans will let her face a single interviewer again–unless its just to reel off non-responsive, memorized answers to expected questions. She reached her high point–why screw it up by letting her actually show her ignorance, bigotry and nastiness any more?
From now on, she will probably just speak at cheerleading rallies for her ticket and rally the bozo base she was brought in to represent on Mr. pretend maverick’s ticket.
If there was ever a candidate in modern history that could be accused of being a celebrity with nothing else of value to them, it is Sarah Palin.
But Doggone it! Joe Six-Pack (actually adjusted for inflation and record unemployment, its really Joe Three-Pack now) is gonna be deprived of her celebrity catwalks and high-school cheerleading winks.

– Mike Feder (New York City – October 5, 2008)

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