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Palin Debate Performance Deconstructed

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I can almost look back into the past and see Palin and her handlers preparing for last thursday's debate. From watching her performance, you can tell that they tried to prepare her for questions on all subjects but at some point in the training, they gave up and concentrated on 5-7 subjects. If another topic came up, she was to talk in generalities, or change the subject or attack either Biden or Obama. All throughout, smile at the camera, open your eyes wide and vomit forth as much folksy rhetoric as possible.

This is the kind of preparation and performance that you would expect given someone who doesnt know very much and isn't prepared to be Vice President. Her performance was close to my predictions detailed here--> Palin used at least some variation Of nine of the twelve statements I thought she would use, and I predicted she would try to make a big deal out of pronouncing the names of one or more foreign leaders and she must have said Ahmadinejad four or five times. I also predicted the use of folksy phrases but something interesting happened with this part of Palin's performance.

Palin overplayed the folksiness and the winking. You can throw two or three folksy phrases in and wink once or twice and seem folksy. If you wink half a dozen to a dozen times and throw twelve to twenty folksy phrases in, it is insulting to the intelligence of the American people. No one talks like that or winks that much when they talk in any county in any state. The polls after the debate reflected this. Independents and undecideds did not appreciate these efforts and felt that Joe Biden won the debate.

This is one area that I think the pundits have it wrong. Many of them are claiming that this folksiness was a net plus for Palin but I think she went too far. When you hit people over the head with your injection of folksy phrases it doesnt appear genuine. I'll bet that the undecideds are thinking about this and don't consider it a positive thing.

If we consider Palin's winking from a perspective of the advancement of women and the efforts of women to break through glass ceilings and being taken seriously, one must conclude it was a setback for all of the above. Indeed, the very purpose of the winking was to not be taken seriously in terms of her abilities but instead to be evaluated on her attractiveness. I'm guessing that women all over the country are thinking about these winks and feeling very insulted by them.

Maverick, Maverick, Maverick

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Palin also overused the word Maverick. Obviously, her debate handlers and preparers coached her to use the word a lot, but I think the people watching the debate were probably ready to throw a shoe at the screen by the last two or three times she said it. Even worse for Palin and McCain, Biden pounced on the word and listed several devastating examples of how John McCain is anything but a Maverick.

One of the more interesting things that Palin did was to repeat the oft repeated McCain/Palin lie that people would pay more taxes in an Obama administration. By now, I think every American in the country has seen the fact-checking on this to know that unless you are in the top 5% in wealth and wage earning, you will not pay more taxes and in fact will get a tax cut under Obama. I know the tax issue is one that Republicans like to try to own, but I believe that the continued lying by both McCain and Palin on this issue is going to start hurting them. I predicted that Palin would do this and if you click on the above link to my article two days before the debate you will see that I predicted it, but after typing the words I shook my head and almost didn't believe my own prediction. Then, on debate night, there it was.

David Letterman summed up Palin's debate performance well in this video, pay particular attention to the last part:

There are the results and polls concerning Debates that evaluate opinion right after the debate and then there is a consensus that happens after several days of people thinking about what they saw. I believe that after people watch the folksy phrases again and again on the news and the winks and the rest, their opinion of Palin's performance in the debate will turn more negative. Biden is already seen as winning the debate by a wide margin, but Palin was thought of as exceeding expectations. When people are finished evaluating what they saw, I don't think they will continue to believe that she did.

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A political blogger for the International Business Times, Steve Leser is a hot national political pundit. He has appeared on MSNBC's Coundown with Keith Olbermann, Comedy Central's Daily Show with Jon Stewart and Russia Today's (RT) Crosstalk with (more...)

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than waste your time dissecting meaningless debate... by Mr M on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 8:06:38 AM
Steve Leser  has many articles on this site a... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 8:37:33 AM
If you want to write about what YOU believe, pleas... by Steven Leser on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 8:42:47 AM
Yes, you can write whatever you want, but discussi... by Mr M on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 9:43:59 AM
Mr. M, while your tree root analogy is fair and yo... by HopeSpringsATurtle on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 1:49:12 PM
For the last 30 years or so, Republicans have done... by Richard Mynick on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 1:07:28 PM
its use over the past 30 years cannot be underesti... by Steven Leser on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 3:13:44 PM
The monotonous refrain of this campaigning segment... by Ivan Hentschel on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 7:23:22 PM
Ah yes, the necessary illusion that we commoners h... by Michael McCoy on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 3:08:48 PM
Everybody knows that the dice are loadedEverybody ... by Mark Sashine on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 5:22:03 PM
Steve:Yep.  I think you and I saw the same th... by Barbara Bellows-TerraNova on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 6:47:04 PM
The same can be said for Obama, McCain, and Biden,... by Leep on Sunday, Oct 5, 2008 at 8:47:50 PM