The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

October 2, 2008
Biden wins the debate even if Palin exceeded low expectations

I  listened to the entire debate on the radio in my car, so I don't know if I have a different impression than those who watched it on television. My sense is that from a debate scorekeeper's point of view, Biden definitely won it. He took the offensive, stated his points clearly, offered evidence for his claims and used language and repetition effectively to drive home his arguments. I say this even though on many points I disagreed with him, and on a few I think he was exaggerating or even misleading. But he did communicate effectively what he was trying to say.

Palin might have lost the debate, but she did more than just survive, and she definitely did not embarrass herself. She was not as smooth as Biden. But Palin did offer some cogent, clear answers (though too many times those answers were to questions that hadn't been asked) and she did not sound nearly as nervous as she has in her television interviews. She played defense all night, but she played it well enough. Probably too well for some Republicans, with her frequent attacks on Wall Street and her calls for more regulation.

If this were a football game, I would say that Biden controlled the ball, moved it downfield with relative ease but Palin played just well enough to keep him from converting every drive into points. I would guess that her base was pretty happy with her showing, and she might have won over a few swing voters who were growing concerned about her competence.

But oddly enough, I thought the biggest difference between the two from a listener's point of view was authenticity. Biden, the professional politician who has been in the Senate half his life, sounded like a regular guy to me. He sounded comfortable and unrehearsed, like a fellow talking politics in the corner bar with a friend with whom he disagreed. He did not sound arrogant or condescending. He wisely kept the focus on McCain and not Palin. Palin sounded like she was performing, offering scripted lines where she could and speaking at times more like a politician than the plain spoken heartland mom she wants us to believe she is. On an emotional level, I don't think she connected as well as she could have, nor as well as Biden did.

Overall advantage: definitely Biden.

 

 

 

If this were a football game, I would say that Biden controlled the ball, moved it downfield with relative ease but Palin played just well enough to keep him from converting every drive into points. I would guess that her base was pretty happy with her showing, and she might have won over a few swing voters who were growing concerned about her competence.

But oddly enough, I thought the biggest difference between the two from a listener's point of view was authenticity. Biden, the professional politician who has been in the Senate half his life, sounded like a regular guy to me. He sounded comfortable and unrehearsed, like a fellow talking politics in the corner bar with a friend with whom he disagreed. He did not sound arrogant or condescending. He wisely kept the focus on McCain and not Palin. Palin sounded like she was performing, offering scripted lines where she could and speaking at times more like a politician than the plain spoken heartland mom she wants us to believe she is. On an emotional level, I don't think she connected as well as she could have, nor as well as Biden did.

Overall advantage: definitely Biden.

 

 

 

About Comments

Reader comments on Sacbee.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Sacramento Bee. If you see an objectionable comment, click the "report abuse" button below it. We will delete comments containing inappropriate links, obscenities, hate speech, and personal attacks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. See more about comments here.

What You Should Know About Comments on Sacbee.com

Sacbee.com is happy to provide a forum for reader interaction, discussion, feedback and reaction to our stories. However, we reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments or ban users who can't play nice. (See our full terms of service here.)

Here are some rules of the road:

• Keep your comments civil. Don't insult one another or the subjects of our articles. If you think a comment violates our guidelines click the "report abuse" button to notify the moderators. Responding to the comment will only encourage bad behavior.

• Don't use profanities, vulgarities or hate speech. This is a general interest news site. Sometimes, there are children present. Don't say anything in a way you wouldn't want your own child to hear.

• Do not attack other users; focus your comments on issues, not individuals.

• Stay on topic. Only post comments relevant to the article at hand. If you want to discuss an issue with a specific user, click on his profile name and send him a direct message.

• Do not copy and paste outside material into the comment box.

• Don't repeat the same comment over and over. We heard you the first time.

• Do not use the commenting system for advertising. That's spam and it isn't allowed.

• Don't use all capital letters. That's akin to yelling and not appreciated by the audience.

You should also know that The Sacramento Bee does not screen comments before they are posted. You are more likely to see inappropriate comments before our staff does, so we ask that you click the "report abuse" button to submit those comments for moderator review. You also may notify us via email at feedback@sacbee.com. Note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us the profile name of the user who made the comment. Remember, comment moderation is subjective. You may find some material objectionable that we won't and vice versa.

If you submit a comment, the user name of your account will appear along with it. Users cannot remove their own comments once they have submitted them, but you may ask our staff to retract one of your comments by sending an email to feedback@sacbee.com. Again, make sure you note the headline on which the comment is made and tell us your profile name.

hide comments

On October 14, The Sacramento Bee will temporarily remove commenting from sacbee.com. While we design the upgrade, we encourage you to tell us what you like and don't like about commenting on sacbee.com and other websites. We've heard from hundreds of you already and we're listening. Please continue to add your thoughts and questions here. We also encourage you to write Letters to the Editor on this and other topics.



About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

FOLLOW US | Get more from sacbee.com | Follow us on Twitter | Become a fan on Facebook | Watch Bee news, lifestyle videos | View our mobile versions | e-edition: Print edition online | What our bloggers are saying

October 2013

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
    1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31    

Stuart Leavenworth on Twitter

Follow "SacBeeEditBoard" on Twitter