Interesting little note. Chris Matthews noted tonight that the McCain/Palin ticket isn’t doing very well in western states, nor is Sarah Palin going over all that great in those states. Could it be that they recognize a small-town huckster politician when they see one? That they see enough of that fake-folksy wink-wink charm to see through it?

I’m still shaking my head over the hubris of Palin’s performance tonight, with her whole ‘I don’t have to follow the rules, I don’t have to answer the questions, I’m here to make speeches and talk to my peeps, yo, so butt out’ attitude. A friend of mine noted that if he were debating Palin and she’d pulled that tactic, he would have started -every- single answer with some variation of “Governor Palin did not answer the question yet again but…” Me, I’d be tempted to go with something like “…but we do know that she can tell a story about soccer moms and make you feel all nice and cozy. There’s nothing cozy about the policies that her running mate is proposing, though, and that she presumably supports. I’m not sure if she even knows them, though, since she didn’t answer the question…”

At times, it seemed as if Palin and Biden were taking part in two different debates, speaking two different languages. There was a fundamental disconnect somewhere along the line between the questions asked and the responses given. It was like asking your friend “What did you think of the movie tonight?” and having them answer “I thought the veal piccatta was fabulous, and I looked stunning sitting beside your mother.”

Really, we should have known right from the beginning when she thanked Gwen Ifil for the honor and the opportunity to talk directly with the American people. She didn’t view this as a debate – she saw it as an opportunity to give a campaign speech. She wasn’t there to answer questions posed to her by the moderator. She was there to override the moderator and deliver HER message.

After the debate, we heard more than one commentator talking about ‘her one big mistake’ – she didn’t get specific about what she and McCain will actually DO when they get into office. She painted a picture in broad, general strokes of ‘patriotic’ language, but never gave a single concrete example. She chided Biden repeatedly for ‘looking back instead of forward’ and minimized the mistakes of the last eight years, but didn’t tell US what we could look forward to. Frankly, I think the reason she can’t give any specifics, can’t let us in on the plan, is that there IS no plan. Once you realize that, so much makes sense. The ticket is purely reactive – the only goal is to get into the White House. There is nothing beyond that because they haven’t thought that far. McCain has no substantive plans other than vague generalities – and the generalities don’t make sense.

We will strengthen the middle class (by making them bear more of the burden and do more of the heavy lifting).

We’re going to put government back on the side of the people (by giving tax cuts to big corporations and nothing to you)

We’ll give you a $5000 tax credit (to by a $12,000 health insurance policy)

Our candidate is a maverick (who voted with his party and the current president 95% of the time)

Your candidate is part of the old boy network (who voted with his party in opposing the current president and his failed policies)

We should look to the future and leave the past in the past (unless we’re talking about your record)

I don’t understand how you can vote for the war, and then say you’re against it (but I can say I said no thanks even though I pocketed the money for the state – and my running mate can vote for the bailout bill then say it should never have passed and urge the president to veto it)

There was so much spin and circular reasoning that I swear I ended up with whiplash just trying to follow her arguments.

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