There’s nothing I abhor more than not answering a question when one is asked of you. I’ve seen a lot of debates, on television and in person, and it pisses me off to high heaven (as my mom would say) when a candidate, any candidate, doesn’t answer the question.
Now I understand talking points and I understand spin and I know a little something about rhetoric. Sarah Palin however did something I have never seen when she abandoned the spin for a brief moment and said out right that she wasn’t going to answer the questions the way “the moderator” would like. (Who, Sarah, by the way has a name and it’s Gwen. But I guess you only really know the names of the three news journalists you’ve granted interviews to.)
She went on to say what she would do, which I think was give Americans some “straight talk.” And a lot of talking heads after the debate pointed this out and said things like “that was just Sarah being Sarah” or “she was being honest.” Maybe that’s what a lot of other people watching thought, too.
Here’s what I heard. By stating out right that she wasn’t going to answer the question, I heard her say she wasn’t going to play by the rules. I heard her say I’m above the rules. I heard her say I think the American people are as dumb as I am and that they don’t really deserve or even need the answers to the questions, but rather, the American people will be happy to be swayed by redneck swagger and Republican hubris the same way they were in the last two elections. I heard her say she didn’t have the answers. I heard her say she wasn’t qualified or experienced enough to debate in the Rogers Memorial Library much less in Washington D.C. I heard her say she had a script and that she was going to stick to it.
As for the rest of the debate, I didn’t hear her say much of anything that would make me think she is anything other than a GOP puppet.
Which leads me to another point. I suppose the new GOP talking point is that Obama and Biden are spending too much time looking to the past. Palin very inarticulately tried to press this last night. But her winks and ticks and noises (which some people think are endearing but that I think, are her way of masking the fact that she is a moron) got in the way somewhat. But then after the debate a number of GOP surrogates tried to drill the point home even further. They’re saying that Obama/Biden, while promoting change and looking to the future, seem to be spending most of their breath talking about George W. Bush and pointing to the past.
This was one place where I thought Joe missed a golden opportunity, and it highlights what is happening in this election. Joe should’ve channeled Bill Faulkner. He should’ve pointed out that the past is not even past, if you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know where you’re going, etc. The word “republican” was barely even uttered at the GOP convention in St. Paul. GOP talking heads go to great lengths to not say it on air. It’s so obvious they are trying to distance themselves from the current administration. But there’s only one problem: McCain and Palin are Republicans. George W. Bush is a Republican, as is Dick Cheney, as is Karl Rove, as is Don Rumsfeld. This election is between Democrats and Republicans, donkeys and elephants. McCain and Palin play for the same team as Bush and Cheney. They’re on the team that created the upheaval in our economy, the team that started a disastrous war, the team that is responsible for our reputation abroad being damaged almost beyond repair, the team that has stunk up Washington D.C. for the last eight years. The Democrats are not dwelling in the past; they are acknowledging it. The Republicans on the other hand, are running from it.
At one point Palin mentioned Obama’s tendency to vote Democratic (i.e. to be a team player). She pointed out that he has voted along party lines 96 percent of the time. Joe should’ve stated the reason for that statistic, the logic behind Obama’s voting record: Because in that 96 percent of the time, the Democrats were 100 percent correct.