Oct 3, 2008

Palin v. Biden: Unamused by the Howdy Doody Schtick, Goshdarnit

On Sarah Palin
Reagan in a skirt, laying on the homespun, Howdy Doody schtick THICK—that is what went through my head as I cringed and suffered though almost every Sarah Palin answer in last night's debate. If you could call spewing talking points, flirting with the audience, and milking the I'm-just-a-regular-gal thing answering questions. Sarah Palin's version of answering pattern goes something like this "Generality, generality, I know how it feels [wink, wink, smile, smile], generality."

Functionally stupid is the best way I can characterize how Sarah Palin comes across, although I never could have conceived of the idea until I got a stomach full of it with Bush. Not low-IQ or utterly ignorant exactly, but perhaps unable to think in terms of specifics. Locked into a generalities-only schema. Functional stupidity is a sort of banality of fuzzy thinking that also swirled around the German leaders of WWII—they stuck to generalities and were able to get away with all manner of atrocities. Generalities are so big, so uncreative, so brain-warped, that they can be an excuse for anything. (Deprive women of the right to choose? You betcha! Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran? Golly gee willickers, why not? Something must be done about too much government. And what about those tax-and-spend Liberals, huh?).

I see Palin as a throw-back to a time when there was plenty of unspoiled environment to desecrate at will, to a mythical land where humans and dinosaurs and Creationists all lived in nice little caves together, and homosexuals were simply people who were confused.

Frankly, I could not be more afraid of a Palin presidency, since McCain has unrevealed medical ailments and is the oldest presidential candidate in history, the idea is not that far fetched. I am also afraid of those voters who actually support Palin, as though it's a good thing to be Medieval, uninformed, and damned proud of it. How did we get to this point of honoring functional stupidity?

On Joe Biden
Diametrically opposite the Gidget-goes-to-Washington act, Joe Biden proved, as expected, to be a formidable and substantial vice presidential pick. Although he had to work up a head of steam—his first 10 minutes or so were slow going emotionally, as he forgot to look into the camera (night-and-day different from Palin, who worked the camera like a Marilyn Monroe wannabe), and didn't pack a righteous punch—at first. Gradually Biden must have taken inspiration from the banal generalities and outright untruths Palin would have gotten by with—until he called them out. Again and again, Biden laid in with analytical punches, working in emotional ones too as he caught his stride. Mid-way though the debate, Biden grabbed all power and clenched it until the last word.

Biden made me cry when he choked up, in defense of Palin's implication that she deserved special credit just for being a mom, as though that gave her utter right to represent the average American, unlike Biden. Here's how it went down:
After Biden choked up, Palin could have shown a touch of humanity by expressing a little sympathy, but instead, she launched immediately back into her talking points, as though on cue.

Biden was powerful, authoritative, presidential and showed a razor-sharp grasp of every issue. He stuck to specifics, where Palin bloviated generalities. (Way to take my advice, Joe—did your handlers read my blog post?) He answered the questions rather than falling back on talking points. Dare I say it? I think I may like Joe Biden more than Barack Obama now, but in any event, they are a powerful team, whose stance on the issues I agree with (except on gay marriage, clean coal, and nuclear (that's NEW-KLEE-ER, Palin, not NUKE-YOU-LER) energy. Biden rocked the night and he didn't have to act like a wind-up doll to do it.

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