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My thoughts on the VP debate.

By Isabel Kallman

By Alice Bradey
I watched the debate last night, as so many did, with great interest, and the three-quarters-written other column I had prepared for this week promptly got thrown out the window. Because this morning there’s not much else I can think of.
First off, let me just say this: I want my audience to be able to express their opinions here, even if they differ from my own. I welcome dissent, as long as it’s civil. Any opinion I express is strictly my own, and just as I’d like to be respected, I intend to respect yours as well.
This is probably not the most original sentiment floating around on the Internet, but I share it, so I’ll repeat it: Sarah Palin is frightening. I looked into her eyes last night, and I saw the glint of someone who believes she can win. And that scared me.
Before last night I mostly felt sorry for her. I read the numerous calls, including the one from the National Review, calling for her to step down. Of course I saw the interview with Katie Couric, and the dramatic reenactment on SNL. It was obvious that she was completely out of her depth, and as she was unable to answer question after pointed question, I have to admit that I looked forward to the debate with increasing glee.
I should have known better. The thing about a debate is, the questions are sort of beside the point. You can get away with evasion and sticking to your talking points or just devastating the audience with your charm and good looks, and no one calls you on the fact that that you didn’t answer the question. The debate moderator isn’t going to press you again and again, as Couric did, for a single concrete example of the nonsense you’re spouting. You’re up there at the podium, she’s all the way down there, and you have the floor. The content is yours to direct.
So we all know that Sarah Palin was coached heavily in the days leading up to the debate. I half-expected her to lurch up to the podium shouting random numbers and facts. But as soon as she started talking, I realized the numbers and the facts (much less the depth of knowledge and wisdom that, in my opinion, Joe Biden embodies) don’t matter. What matters is that she smiled straight at the camera and charmed American with her plain talkin’ and gosh-darn common sense. So even though she didn’t say a single thing that would indicate that she really knows what she was talking about, her performance was declared a success.
Why is it a success because she didn’t embarrass herself or McCain? Why is this okay in the eyes of the pundits? Every time she beamed and winked at the camera, the experts should have been listening even more closely to the complete lack of substance behind her words, but instead they were charmed. She tossed out her favorite words hither and yon—maverick reform, reform maverick, oversight, MASSIVE OVERSIGHT—with little regard for their meaning or applicability to the subject at hand. As far as actual content, all I got out of anything she said was that global warming isn’t wholly man-made and that 20 million of us will lose our health insurance under a McCain presidency. But she smiled her pretty smile, so that’s a triumph?
I am truly appalled, and I think this entire exercise was an insult to feminism. Instead of trying to show the experience and knowledge that she claimed to have, Palin and her coaches clearly decided that the best thing for her to do is just flirt with America. Just flirt, and hope no one notices that she’s completely and utterly out of her league. It wasn’t just an insult to feminism–it was an insult to the intelligence of the American people. Her nomination was a cynical move, and this was the ultimate expression of that cynicism. John McCain showed his disdain for us all with his choice of vice president, and his team showed their disdain for us by having Sarah Palin bypass substance and head straight for empty-headed charm.
In the eyes of the pundits last night, this constitutes a success. I think it constitutes a potential nightmare in the making.
As always, I welcome your thoughts.


Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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  • Erin

    October 3, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I have a headache today, mainly from the wine I drank last night to get through the debate, but also from cringing each and every time she said “doggone it” or “you betcha” or winked (WINKED!) at the camera.
    She was charming in a folksy, saccharine way that will resonate with people who have already decided on McCain, who have already fallen in love with Palin, who think George W. has done a heckuva job these last eight years and that we need more.
    I only hope there aren’t enough of those people to make a difference come November.

  • Amy in StL

    October 3, 2008 at 11:30 am

    I actually looked forward to the debate as a chance to get to see her now that she’s had an opportunity to be brought up to speed on current affairs. I was horrified when she winked at the camera last night. Someone actually asked me if she’s running for VP or First Flirt? She is a disappointment to me, as a woman. I knew girls like her in school, and those girls weren’t competent or smart. They were pretty and street-smart and that’s how they got ahead. They plowed over everyone else and then someone came behind and cleaned up the mess the left. Last night, she reminded me so much of those girls it was scary.

  • Ariel

    October 3, 2008 at 11:42 am

    I’m sorry to say, but I agree with you WHOLEHEARTEDLY….

  • lmayes

    October 3, 2008 at 11:45 am

    I watched the debates last night in a very crowded pub (of mostly guys), and except for the debate playing on four TVs, you could have heard a pin drop. The majority were clearly for the Obama/Biden ticket, but it was interesting to watch them melt a bit as the debate went on.
    They were charmed. With whatever it is she is doing (and who the hell knows what she’s thinking). The same things that are making me visibly cringe (my intuition is on overdrive here, people) are melting them into third-grade boys. Fascinating. What is it w/ guys and women in power wearing librarian glasses? So cliche. And yet, it’s happening. In real life. Now.
    The plot line of all of this feels like something I’d pick up at Half Priced Books.
    I can’t believe this is all real. Where did all the grown ups go?

  • erica

    October 3, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Not surprising that the Republican strategy was to keep things general, on the offense, and to turn up the folksy charm. I sat in a room filled with ardent liberals, and they tore out their hair every time Biden made a tiny ‘mistake.’ By the end, they were doing shots, hoping to drown out their disappointment. I abstained for two reasons: 1) Palin didn’t ‘win’ the debate when it comes to content. 2) I’m pregnant.
    What I can see is an electoral vote map that is skewing increasingly Democrat. I never thought I’d live to see the day when Texas and West Virginia could be considered ‘weak Republican’ states this late in the season.
    I remain cautiously optimistic. Palin may have galvanized the conservative base that McCain was in danger of losing, but I no longer believe that her flirting plus a hoodwinked, melodramatic media (of course they need to make money somehow) will convince as many independent voters as needed to win this election.
    Palin frightens me, she’s an insult to the feminism that I grew up believing in, but at the end of the day, I think this country is experiencing a radical shift in perspective. Fear has no place in my child’s future.

  • SuburbanCorrespondent

    October 3, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Scariest thing I ever saw….I would have respected her if she had realized after the Couric interview that she was out of her depth and gracefully resigned for “family reasons.” Instead, she chose to blame the mainstream media for portraying her as a dimwit. And she preaches to us about taking personal responsibility! If Palin truly loved America, she would step down. But what she loves is herself and power. The GOP may have thought they were using her to draw female voters; but she will have the last laugh, because she is using the GOP on her climb to the top.
    But at least now I have a great idea for a truly frightening Halloween costume, if only I can find a pair of those Tina Fey glasses…
    (I’m an Independent voter who was seriously considering McCain until I heard this woman speak.)

  • SuburbanCorrespondent

    October 3, 2008 at 11:55 am

    I’m back. Sorry. Does anyone else see the incredible resemblance between this woman and George Bush? Her approach to foreign policy, energy, and domestic issues is almost identical to our current President’s (unlike McCain). Do we really want someone like that in charge of the country again?
    If McCain is elected, I will be praying nightly for his continued good health.

  • Issa

    October 3, 2008 at 12:07 pm

    She scares me. It scares me that she really has no idea about what is going on in the world, but it scares me more that she can BS extremely well. I had to stop watching last night, it was making me sick. Her giving her rehearsed answers and not answering the questions asked, was obvious to me. But to the US at large, I just am not sure that it was obvious. I hope so, god I really hope so. But I wonder. Like my aunt says, well she seems really nice. My aunt, could care less about the issues, I’m not sure she won’t vote simply because of a persons niceness on screen.
    It freaks me out, that her “niceness” could help their campaign in any way.

  • SZ

    October 3, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    I’ve got one word for you: nucular.

  • Cobwebs

    October 3, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I think the scariest part was the “what if the President dies in office” question. She smiled when she answered it, and then went on to say that she wanted the VP to have more power, a la Cheney. I’m beginning to think that she’s counting on McCain to die in office.
    (Also, did anybody notice that her Reagan quote wasn’t about freedom in general, but what he said would happen if Medicare was enacted?)
    I agree with you that her flirtation-over-substance approach set feminism back a few steps, but not that the debate was a victory for her. If anything, it reinforced her fluffy-headed know-nothing image, which is giving a lot of voters heartburn this time around. For once, things are dire enough that voters are actually paying attention to issues instead of just who has the best hair.

  • sheila

    October 3, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    I agree. The entire Sarah Palin issue is insulting and embarrassing to women and Americans in general. She is clearly out of her league, and now that she has started to speak, I’m more confused by her than ever. I have an incredibly difficult time following a single sentence. Nothing makes sense anymore!
    Also, what is up with the debates? What good is it to me that these people stand up there and mislead and misquote and give false facts? There are so many ‘what was said, what is actually true’ articles the day after…for both sides. I admit this is the first race I’ve followed closely, so I have nothing to compare it to. Maybe its a long standing tradition, but the debates are useless to me. Its like a 90 minutes commercial.

  • Torrie

    October 3, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Once again Alice, you have said what I wanted to say, but much more eloquently than I ever could.
    Thank you.

  • kms

    October 3, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Yes, her confidence in the belief that she’d actually be good at this job just boils my blood. Her lack of humility. Her clear desire for nothing but power. So what if she has a uterus! She is more like W than I ever thought imaginable. W is good in a debate. But he is crap in an interview and can’t take questions from the media because he just isn’t smart.
    And! She wants to expand the responsibility of the Vice President. That statement alone made it difficult for me to sleep last night.
    I just gave the Obama campaign some more money.

  • Superfantastic

    October 3, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    The frightening similarity I saw to George W. Bush was her refusal to answer any weakness and any issue on which she had changed her mind. In fact, she answered the question about whether she’d ever changed her mind about anything with comments about “not having to compromise”. So learning about an issue and realizing that you were wrong equates with compromise.
    There are Republican women who, while not making me any more likely to vote for McCain, could have made me proud to have a woman on the ticket for such a high office. As it is, I feel like it has been decided that I’m so dumb, I respond better to “goshdarnit” than to substantive responses.

  • Deirdre

    October 3, 2008 at 12:49 pm

    I’m a registered Republican (and boy, is that ever an unpopular thing to be these days) but I don’t know that I’ll be voting for the McCain/Palin ticket.
    I can’t say I was scared by last night’s debate, but I do find the media attention lavished on her completely baffling. I mean who can even concentrate on McCain and Obama, the people who are actually running for present with this Palin obsession? From the moment she was announced as the nominee for VP, she’s been handled differently by the media than I ever recall a presidential or vice-presidential candidate being handled. A different set of expectations. Talk, by reporters and pundits, about her attractiveness or charm, which frankly, are never appropriate topics really when talking about politics.
    I don’t know that she scares me. I mean I’m aware that she sounded like someone who was lobotomized in recent interviews, but I have a feeling she’s been kept on a short leash. She’s a governor. We have had presidents who were governors. Of course, her experience pales in comparison to Joe Biden. Is there on the job training? Sure. And it’s unlikely that she’s going to have to take over the job of president (after all, John McCain’s mother, who’s in her 90s, is still alive and moving around better than some people half her age), but everyone’s in a panic that she might need to take over on Day 1.
    Were there other, highly-qualified female politicans that McCain could have picked? Sure. I wish he had. But that’s only half the issue. The other half is the media’s obsession with Palin.

  • Amy

    October 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    I got the sense throughout that Joe Biden was stifling either laughter or the urge to leap across the stage and strangle Sarah Palin throughout the debate. I also noticed the heavy reliance on the “cute” factor, and it turned my stomach. My overall impression is that Sarah Palin is the female equivalent of George W. Bush.

  • uncouthheathen

    October 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    I’d like to also point out to SuburbanCorrespondent that she is also unable to correctly pronounce the word “nuclear,” much like a certain president.

  • caro

    October 3, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    And did you hear Geraldine Ferraro’s comment’s afterwards? Basically applauding her for showing “a woman” can “go toe to toe” with the likes of Joe Biden. Insulting.

  • Mom101

    October 3, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    You took the words right out of my mouth Alice. I give her a solid A- for reading index cards written by someone else. I give her a big FAIL for what she really needed to do in this debate, which is prove to the American people that she has the insight, experience, understanding and vision to lead us out of crisis.
    It was like watching a world leader debate the student council candidate and I’m furious that the GOP thinks that this is the best the American people deserve for leadership.
    As for the winking? Appalling. Just horrible in every way. If she thinks she can wink through a negotiation with Ahmadinejad she is sorely mistaken.

  • Sheila

    October 3, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    Every commentator I heard spoke of Palin’s “performance” during the debate, which sums it all up for me in one word. I do not want any performers in or near the White House.

  • Elise

    October 3, 2008 at 1:20 pm

    Brilliant summary. For me the scary thing isn’t Sarah Palin or the antics of the McCain campaign in trying to win this election. That’s politics as usual and one would expect nothing less. What I find frightening is that the American public prefers the flirting over knowledge and experience. There is something deeply wrong with this country and its citizens, who are so eager to be seduced by a pretty white female face so that they don’t have to vote for the smart educated black man.

  • Maggie

    October 3, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    Not only do I agree with what you said, but HELLO? Can SOMEONE tell the Republicans how to pronounce nuclear????
    And why did she insist on having that baby out for a photo opp at 11pm? That’s insane.

  • Sharon

    October 3, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    I watch PBS for these things because I think they give the most balanced coverage. I was shocked to see that even David Brooks is drinking the republican kool-aid. I was stunned that he had favorable things to say about Palin, many of the same comments about how she was warm and peppy and able to talk in complete sentences. Seriously? The only thing I can imagine is that republicans have nothing to lose and have decided to put all their energy into making up what they wish was true, that Palin was competent. In the meantime, McCain has pulled out of Michigan and plans to bring his campaign to Maine to fight for one electoral vote. It makes me mad that I will have to hear even more of his lying ads in my blue state.

  • Linda

    October 3, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I could not sit still during the debate. I watched but I had to be doing something, anything, to keep from giving into the fear that she was probably charming the pants off some folks. Unfortunately, she seems to have charmed alot of folks if you read the various media outlets. Biden was on point and in the game; giving us information and not just rah, rah, rah. I am terrified about our future.

  • Kimberly

    October 3, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    I love reading you, Alice, as I think you are smart and funny and often right on point.
    This time you have got it wrong, in my humble opinion. I think Palin is a refreshing change from the spin-meister who has had 30 years in the Senate to polish his method of throwing out random facts, some of which were just wrong, and making it seem like he knows what he is talking about.
    I think Palin does know what she is talking about, and I am not sure why anyone thinks that an interview with a news anchor, which can be edited and parsed to show anyone’s worst (or best) light, is a better reflection of what that interviewee is about than a debate.
    What the debate did show, is that Palin (like Biden and and unlike Obama) is able to think on her feet, for whatever that is worth. I will concede, however, that debates tell us very little about anyone’s ability to GOVERN. After all, one doesn’t govern on one’s feet after all, and with just 90 seconds to respond. All of our leaders have dozens, if not hundreds, of advisers on all of the issues.
    I would be happier with a Palin presidency than with a McCain one. But that is to be expected, as I fall pretty far to the right on the issues. I don’t expect those who fall to the left to like her, not one bit.

  • Eva

    October 3, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    What little she did say that made any kind of sense or had any substance was alternately scary (what, she wants to take over the Senate now?) or contradictory (so she wants states to be their own fiefdoms, but she also wants us to shop around, state by state, to get the insurance coverage we want? Do YOU want to drive to another state whenever you need a doctor. And it was just so unprofessional and rude to dismiss the questions. Basically, if she didn’t have a good little pat speech down for it, she just went to something that she did have something for. Ugh. My husband and I laughed all the way through. But apparently other people were somehow impressed with the vapidity? Just because what she says doesn’t make sense doesn’t make it smart, people.

  • Anonymous

    October 3, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    Except that Biden did the same thing. And so did both McCain and Obama in their debate. Except we expect a woman to be better than a man just to call herself his equal. Why? Because she’s a woman she has to represent the entire feminist movement? No wonder we haven’t had a female or black president yet, if they can’t compete as themselves, but instead are weighed down by a “movement”. And the advantage goes to the white male that can compete on a level playing field without generations of baggage dragging them down.

  • Brian

    October 3, 2008 at 2:06 pm

    The last leader we elected because we thought he was a regular guy, just like us, cost us thousands of young lives. I wonder what this one would do.

  • caramama

    October 3, 2008 at 2:07 pm

    I completely agree with your take on the debates. The saddest part to me is that it worked. So many people (I think mainly republicans) thought that she did a great job and really held her own. Nevermind that she avoided answer questions, couldn’t deviate from her script, and resorted to a vacant smile when she didn’t seem to understand.
    Very scary.

  • Kris

    October 3, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    She is incredibly frightening to me. I really agreed last night when Chris Matthews said something along the lines that she shows the same lack of interest in knowledge that George Bush does. As a woman, as a mother, there is nothing more insulting than this woman using everything but her brains to help them win.
    I am surprised that I haven’t heard a single pundit remark on her inability to pronounce nuclear. Would that be considered being too harsh on her?

  • jenalda

    October 3, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Speak it, sister. She terrifies me, and the response of many people to her terrifies me. I do see the similarities between her and good ol’ “W,” and though I think she’s out of her depth, I think she is shrewd in a way that W is. They both know that the folksy, so-called straight-talk, common sense persona is a winner, and Palin has damn sure figured out that combining that with her sex appeal makes her a compelling candidate for a lot of people even if she’s lacking in the experience and expertise that most political candidates have. Oy.

  • Anonymous

    October 3, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    I don’t think calling her out on using Charm is much of an argument–people loved JFK for his charm, and liken Obama to him for that same reason. He resonates with people. I don’t agree with his position on the role of government in my life, so will not vote for him, but I cannot deny that he’s charming and attractive–one of the reasons the media loves him so. It was a lack of charm and ability to talk to people that hurt both Gore and Kerry. While it might seem shocking that men would fall for such tactics, women have done it for years.

  • Robin

    October 3, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    I am in complete agreement with you Alice. I talked about this issue on my blog today as well because after watching the debates last night, I literally could not sleep. The idea that her flirty, winky, folksy ways are enough to sway a majority of voters to vote for the McCain/Palin ticket frightens me so badly that I find myself turning again and again to politics on my blog. I suppose getting so many Americans to think, and talk, and God-willing become informed about the issues is the one positive aspect she has brought to this race.

  • Grace

    October 3, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Sarah Palin as a leader? I don’t think so. I would love to have dinner with her, go hunting with her, even shadow her on a day as a person in an EXECUTIVE position of a large, sparsely populated state with abundant natural resources.
    It’s a joke to even bring feminism into this conversation. Completely laughable. She is using all the benefits that women were beaten to death for (ever see Iron Jawed Angels?) and taking a huge crap on it.
    She was plucked too soon, folks. I’ll give her another chance to reconsider that Jesus didn’t ride dinosaurs and that “Drill, Baby, Drill” isn’t actually an attempt to bring back those same dinosaurs in liquid form.
    No Palin, No Way

  • Grace

    October 3, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    And another thing.
    Folksy people don’t have a net worth of over 1 Million dollars.

  • Slim

    October 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    Could someone please let me know why Sarah Palin is worrying about paying for college. One kid in the service, one about to be a parent — it’s not that I think every kid needs to go straight from high school to four years of college, but higher education does not appear to be a Palin family priority, so how exactly is she relating to those of us for whom it is?
    I am similarly baffled by the claim that she knows what it’s like for those of us juggling parenthood and a career. Show of hands, please: How many of you are able to set up a crib in your offices? And how many of you have a job so lacking in responsibility that you could get anything done while watching an infant?
    Again, it’s not that I think her choices should be mine. But hers are so wildly different from mine that I don’t think she can relate to me at all, and I wish people would stop suggesting that she can.

  • Rene

    October 3, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    She was clearly well prepared by her team during her week at debate camp. She stuck to her republican rhetoric very well, even when it had nothing to do with the question.
    I heard Karl Rove say that the debate was a chance for her to get back what she had in Ohio and at the convention because she is very good at “just talking to people.” But I think that means she’s very good at just memorizing. Because how can standing on a stage behind a podium and reading from a script be more like “just talking to people” than sitting across a table from Katie Couric (a person).
    There were so many things about her performance at the debate last night that made me cringe, but one of the most ridiculous, I think, was the comment about how she liked talking to America at the debate much more than talking “through the filter of the main stream media.” SHE’S BEEN INTERVIEWED BY ONLY TWO (as Joe Biden would say) let me repeat that, TWO MEMBERS OF THE MAIN STREAM MEDIA (oh and Hannity, but I don’t think he counts)!
    The bottom line is that she won’t have a week to prepare in seclusion for each event in her (god forbid) vice presidency. So why should any of us be impressed by her performance last night.
    I just hope more people realize that her words were empty and her folksy charm was phony.

  • HeyJoe

    October 3, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    In truth I watched hoping she would try to distract us by removing her clothing.
    I was naturally disappointed to only receive a wink.

  • Anomymous

    October 3, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    I think she did okay. As a supporter of hers, I think she could’ve done a better job, but she and Biden both kept it civil. A civil debate is a boring debate, but at least both sides can stay likeable.
    I think this nonsense that she frightens you is ridiculous. What is it that frightens you exactly? If her performance as a governor are indicative of how well she does her job, then she is very capable. Look at her record, it speaks for itself. She has not pushed public policy based on her personal beliefs, even down to her stance on abortion (which seems to be what most feminists are so concerned about). So, please tell me what she has done as a governor that validates your fear? Other than she is a Republican and you are not and the obvious difference in beliefs that represents, I doubt there’s much.
    I can turn around and say that Obama scares me, but that would be because I am not a socialist and the thought of our great country being run by one bothers me.

  • abby

    October 3, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you, Alice. Very scary. I really hope that I am underestimating the ‘Joe six-pack’s’ out there and that they are a free-thinking body who will make the right decision for our country come November 4. I live in a (choke)red state in the heart of the bible belt, and I usually have a hard time finding people who support and agree with my politics. I’m proud that people, for the most part, are standing up and will, hopefully, choose a ticket that actually stands for change. Instead of just jumping on the change bandwagon because it’s been effective.

  • Nicole

    October 3, 2008 at 3:04 pm

    If I lived anywhere other than the Bible-Belt I would be considered conservative, but since I don’t most people I know consider me liberal. In actuality, I’m independent with tendencies to the right. In theory, I’m the voter that both McCain and Obama want.
    I was originally excited by both candidates, but in the end was leaning more towards McCain; that is until he picked Palin. It was not his smartest move to date. Everyone talks about how he was afraid of losing the party’s conservative base. But in reality that would never happen, the uber-conservatives, who Palin appeals to, would never dream of voting for a democrat even if they didn’t like McCain (I’ve had them tell me this). Instead, he should have chosen someone who appealed to the center/independents instead of someone who irritates them. Unfortunately, for McCain his choice of Palin makes me question his judgment as a whole.
    I was expecting to see Palin fall on her face during the debate, and was surprised that she didn’t. However, she only managed not to do so by not saying anything at all. I am not a fan.

  • Liz

    October 3, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Did anyone else notice that she said, “My kids is public school participants”? That kicked my in the head as bad as the “nucular” thing. (Transcripts I found this morning had it as “My kids as public school participants” — which leaves her sentence without a verb at all, so it isn’t any better.)
    Biden wasn’t everything I hoped for, but Palin was everything I’d feared.

  • Kathryn

    October 3, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    The first time she winked my husband and I looked at each other with dropped jaws and said “Did she just WINK at us?”
    It was like she was participating in a beauty pageant instead of a vice presidential debate.

  • Jamie

    October 3, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I don’t understand why the standard we judge her against has been lowered so far. Why shouldn’t everyone running for the same position be judged by the same criteria? What is it about her that makes it OK to lower the bar? Please do not tell me it’s because she’s a woman, because that makes me really sad.

  • Shannon

    October 3, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    Amen to absolutely everything you said, Alice. You said it better than I ever could and I agree 100%.

  • Hi Kooky

    October 3, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    I’m with all of you who would like to hear “nuclear” pronounced properly.
    I also agree with CM that it was a relief to watch a civil debate. I really believe that Biden showed himself to be a generous, gracious participant. He could have really put the squeeze on Palin (no pun intended), but he played it cool.
    I do think Palin pulled it together for the debate. Heaven knows she needed to. She showed poise, courage, and good sportsmanship (yikes – sorry – another unintended pun, but I can’t think of a better word). I still felt like I was hearing from a high school student council candidate, though. Eager, committed, but green.
    I’m an Independent so I don’t have heart ties to either party. I’m curiously observing at this point. I’d say Palin’s got a lot of fire and desire, and she seems to be a quick study. She’s got guts, and I think that’s what scares people – what if she goes gutting in the wrong direction?
    Biden’s been in it forever. He’s smart. He knows the players, the game, the process. He was kind to his opponent. Clearly, he’s passionate.
    I think both candidates did a good job of presenting themselves. I got what I wanted – a better picture of what each is about.

  • mfk

    October 3, 2008 at 3:44 pm

    Totally agree. One hundred percent. Since when is “not embarrassing oneself in a nationally televised debate” equivalent to success? Every time she winked at the camera I wanted to vomit. She is a beauty pageant queen co-opted by the Republicans to fool women into voting for them because “awww, she’s so CHARMING! She’s just like ME!!” um. That is what put Bush into office… a nation of voters who are intimidated by a smart candidate and who instead vote for the one that reminds them of themselves. The president SHOULD be smarter and more knowledgeable than most of us. This job DOES have higher qualifications than yours does, or mine, or pretty much anyone else’s in America. Don’t take it as a personal insult if you don’t understand all the issues they’re discussing — few people do. Don’t be fooled by the winking and the gosh darn it’s and the soccer mom prattle. Palin’s not like “the rest of us”… she’s rich by anyone’s standards, and has been essentially rocketed into a position of power not through her own hard work and achievements, but because she was a pretty, youngish woman, at a time when the Republicans needed one. John McCain didn’t pick her for her record. He picked her for her charm and her second X chromosome. Are we really stupid enough to fall for it? I hope not.

  • Anonymous

    October 3, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    My friends, I grieve that I lacked the opportunity to send each and every one of you to:, so that you too could have managed your distress during the debate by checking off phrases like “Hockey Mom” and “Maverick” as they came out of her mouth. I won, and I didn’t even cheat. More debates are coming!
    I think it only fair to tell Anonymous what exactly it is about Sarah Palin we find terrifying. Here’s my personal list:
    1) If John McCain should die in office, she would become president.
    2) If she became president, she would gain the power to block legislation, and appoint Supreme Court Justices. The latter power, and the extent of its influence, is not available to any governor, so her record as governor has little bearing on this. Roe vs. Wade will stand or fall on the next Supreme Court appointment, and this candidate’s beliefs indicate that she would, if given the chance, appoint SC Justices who would eliminate our daughters’ right to choose abortion. If you believe that women should not have that choice, not scary. If you believe that women should, very scary indeed.
    3) She does not believe climate change is “all man-made”. If the next president is not fully committed to doing everything politically possible, and some things that are not now thought to be politically possible, to reduce CO2 emissions dramatically, and as rapidly as possible, the trouble in the world our kids will live in will make the past two weeks on Wall Street look like a mere game of Twister. Ladies (and gents) we all need to get up to speed on this; both campaigns are too silent on this issue, and everything else — our economy, terrorism, everything — depends on what we choose to do about it.
    4) She does believe that the Bible is literally true; that the world is 5000 years old; that the world will end in our lifetime. Again, if you share these beliefs, not scary. If you don’t, quite terrifying. A person who believes the first two in that list is sufficiently immune to evidence, in my opinion, as to be simply incapable of governing intelligently. That she believes the last of those makes her an extremely dangerous person to potentially be in charge of deciding whether or not to deploy, for example, nuCLEAR weapons. (And yes, it matters whether she, and our current president, bother to learn to pronounce words correctly. If for no other reason than to be a good example to children.)Again, not a power she had as governor. (See also: the above about climate change. Why really work hard at fixing it if God is going to call the deserving home soon anyway?)
    5) That she resorts to expressions of sexuality (wink, hug) to dress up these very serious, and possibly very influential, aspects of who she is as a public figure poised to gain quite a lot of power over many lives, suggests either that she is utterly cynical and manipulative, or that, like a teenager who hasn’t yet learned other approaches, she relies on her physical attractiveness for power and influence. Neither of these indicates the judgment or character needed to run, or help run, this country. It is absolutely true that Obama’s charm and physical attractiveness are equally assets to him, but you have never, and will never, see him wink at a camera. He may secretly be utterly cynical and manipulative, he may be immature, but if that’s the case, he has the judgement not to display it.
    That’s what I find terrifying. What do you find worth supporting?

  • ie

    October 3, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    I’ve always considered myself a conservative liberal, kind of standing straight up rather than leaning left or right (bad for the posture!).
    I read all of the comments for a reason: I want to know what other people are thinking. I deliberatly did NOT watch the debate, and ‘gosh-darnit’ I sure am glad if all that winkin’ was goin’ on. 🙂
    I want what I have always wanted in those that will undertake the huge job of running our country, and I’ll pull it out again (tweaked just a teensy):
    “God grant that (wo)men of principle shall become our principal (wo)men.”
    I believe this quotation is attributed to Thomas Jefferson. Whoever said it, I agree with it and hope that it is possible.

  • Melissa

    October 3, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Why Sarah Palin’s record in Alaska frightens me:
    1) She hired and fired on the city and local level based on personal relationships. Unapologetically. Many of her hires were grossly unqualified. Cronyism taken beyond the political norm.
    2) As Governor, she’s refused to actively, personally participate in the act of governing. She lives away from the Capitol and rarely visits. Her Congress complains about lack of access.
    Will she live in AK if elected to Federal office? Her lifestyle should change–will it?
    3) She seems bright, but incurious. Much like Bush frightens me because he’s just so CERTAIN. Faith is fine, in church. I want my leaders to question their advisors, to read and watch and listen to a variety of sources.
    3) I don’t believe she’s put her values aside while making policy decisions. I believe charging for rape kits demonstrates a lack of respect and compassion. Asking a librarian questions about banning books demonstrates disrespect for free speech. Federal office offers many more chances to push her values into government. I believe she will take those chances.
    4) She doesn’t understand policy. She simply doesn’t have the basic knowledge to discourse on policy. Combined with #3, this is dangerous.
    5) She is hyper-focused on petroleum products as the be-all, end-all of energy production. Drilling may be necessary, but so is helping the US learn to reduce energy consumption overall AND find alternatives to petroleum.
    Finally, even if you think she’s done a fine job as “a mayor and a Governor”, Alaska is absolutely NOT a microcosm of the US. There’s a good bit of talk about not having a passport until a couple of years ago, but how often has she left Alaska?
    She’s not just a “Washington outsider”, she comes from a culture completely unlike the rest of America. How much time has she spent in Chicago, Green Bay, Portland (Oregon and/or Maine), San Francisco, etc?
    How much time has she spent around people from varied cultural backgrounds? AK is not terribly diverse. 75% White, 19% Alaska Native, 16% everyone else combined. (source, quick Wikipedia search of 2000 census results).
    Sarah Palin has lived in a big, beautiful, wealthy bubble. She has the skills to survive in Alaskan winters and navigate the Alaskan political system. With more travel and experience, she could grow into a national-level politician–and keep her “Washington outsider” status pure. As of October 3, 2008 she’s an outsider, but not in a good way.
    Normally, VP choices don’t get this much attention. But John McCain is the oldest man ever to run for President. There’s a real chance Sarah Palin could be called to step into office if McCain wins. That’s simply unacceptable.
    We cannot have a President to huddles over the dinner table with her husband to line item veto every part of the budget she doesn’t understand, then leaves the mess for her Legislature to figure out.
    Please don’t vote for John McCain.

  • nina-dsd

    October 3, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    This link below is why I am frightened.
    I know no books were actually banned. But to even think about it, even just on behalf of your constituents, goes so against the grain of how I view the way our country should be run that I shudder thinking of her only one step removed from the presidency.

  • Nora

    October 3, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    I had mixed feelings on the debate. Yes, Palin performed a lot better than lots of people were expecting. But at the same time, she really came across a little false, pandering and winking to the audience while at the same time flat out ignoring Biden’s genuine display of emotion.
    I know I’m biased — I was a Biden fan going in, and came out on the other side still a fan. But Palin’s likability has had me worried in the past, and after last night, I don’t feel like it showed through genuinely enough.

  • Frazier

    October 3, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    I don’t get it. Joe Biden is frightening to those of us who don’t agree with his policies. Ditto Obama. You would say the same things (or similar — perhaps Tim Pawlenty wouldn’t have winked)about any Republican on the ticket because you don’t agree with them. I like Sarah Palin because I know that in office she is more likely to push for policies that I agree with. Why waste your time being offended by her? Get over her already.

  • Corey

    October 3, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    What’s scary to me is that they think Americans are so stupid that winking at us and regurgitating back some debate-camp quotes are going to woo us.
    Well, apparently they are right because people are saying she did well (excuse me while I throw up a little).
    That said, did anyone else cringe when she went up at the beginning, leaned into Biden’s mic and ask if she could call him Joe?
    I hope this country has more sense than to elect those two!!!

  • Anonymous

    October 3, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I’m with the other handful of Republicans commenting who are confused as to why she’s frightening. The way we feel about our political leanings drastically influences the way we respond to these debates and while I was personally “frightened” by Joe Biden I would have felt the same way for ANYone up there espousing liberal doctrine. Same goes for Sarah Palin. Is she less experienced than Obama? The community organizer? No. The way she communicates is admittedly different than the other candidates but I personally find this refreshing. If she were a liberal I guarantee we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

  • Portrait

    October 3, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    Sarah Palin scary? How is it possible that Barack Obama’s ties to terrorists, racists, and radicals is not being talked about as “scary”? All of which is factual, documented and NOT disputed by him or said terrorists, racists and radicals. He has been schooled, mentored and educated by radical socialists.
    (You can read a series of well-researched articles at the web address here:
    Has anyone forgotten that a Governor from Arkansas was elected president who had no foreign policy experience (but a history of adultery that continued in the White House)? Does anyone recall the numerous terror attacks here and around the world at our interests and embassies during this particular governor’s time in office? And I can’t believe Palin is being criticized for being prepped for the debates. Name ONE presidential or vice presidential candidate who has not been prepped thoroughly before a debate. You can’t.
    We could possibly be electing a person who is the least qualified person to be president ever in our history. And one with disturbing ties to radicals. Not just ties….but one who has been mentored and educated by radicals. Why hasn’t the media exposed him? Why hasn’t the media talked more about his education in the school of Saul Alinsky and Jeremiah Wright? (I know the answer…this is a trick question….)
    I am quite frankly amazed at the lack of fear of a possible Obama presidency.
    This man is scary. This man is downright frightening. And yet, hundreds of thousands sit wide-eyed, swooning while watching him on TV. I can almost hear the repetitive chanting and the great collective gulp of kool-aid.
    Voting for Obama is a slap in the face to anyone who has ever fought for and sacrificed their lives for the freedom we have today.
    I suspect that most people who are voting for Obama are doing so out of their great, although misguided disgust for George Bush. That’s the wrong reason to vote for someone and it’s a grave error to allow that anger to prevent you from seeing Barack Obama for who he really is and the damage he would cause. Take the blinders off and put the kool aid down people!!

  • Slim

    October 3, 2008 at 9:12 pm

    Sarah Palin troubles me in ways other conservatives do not because she is so utterly without introspection or self-awareness. And it troubles me that John McCain bypassed a raft of experienced, well-informed possibilities who could have bolstered his conservative cred and instead went for the PR stunt.
    Do the conservatives who are posting here think Sarah Palin has more depth than Obama? Yes, I know you like her beliefs better. Yes, I know she’s in the number two slot. But you really think her total life experience is just what a national position calls for, or is at least closer than Obama’s?

  • Marnie

    October 3, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    I heard one woman on NPR saying that she was offended because McCain’s pick of Palin implied that she was the most qualified woman out there. So, I nt to Wiki (LOOOOOVE it) and searched through the current list of governors and senators to find out how many other qualified Republican women were out there.
    People, there were at least 6 that I could have gotten on board with. I was seriously willing to listen to and even vote for McCain, until he picked Palin. He could have picked any number of other conservative women out there, and I could have still backed him. But, what I found was this: when you look at the list of female governors and senators, alphabetical by state, Palin’s name is first. Which makes me think McCain’s folks planned to go down the list one-by-one until someone said “yes.” They were probably thrilled that it was the first one.
    The thing that bothers me the most: McCain’s pick of Palin simply demonstrates to me that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to cowtow to the religious right. Haven’t we had enough of that for the last 8 years?

  • Rae

    October 3, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    She is terrifying.
    She knows nothing about anything except that she wants to drill in National Wildlife Refuge areas.
    She thinks that Alaska is experiencing climate change more than anyone in America, which proves that she doesn’t know what climate change IS. How about the Gulf Coast, Governor Palin?
    She thinks that there are heaps of other countries out there who care about climate change less than America. I’m sorry, nope, there aren’t. Most nations “over there” are waiting with held breath to see what the outcome of this election is.
    She thinks she is in the middle class.
    She doesn’t know how to listen.
    She talks about the greed on Wall Street like it’s a revelation. Greed? on Wall Street? Who woulda thunk?
    It hurts to see someone so ignorant standing in a podium debating in what should be a serious and intelligent conversation, hoping to hoodwink the American people by acting. Bringing up being a “mom” as a reason that she should be elected. Everyone alive has a mom. Everyone’s mom is not equipped to be Vice President of the United States.
    And as someone, who could be labeled, if a label was required, as an “evangelical Christian” I’m insulted by the idea that I would vote for such a person (if I could vote, I’m not a citizen… yet) simply because she attends a church. We don’t want someone who has no credentials in power.
    And I’m sad that so many will fall for it.

  • Kristin

    October 4, 2008 at 12:34 am

    I don’t think there is anything to actually be added to this. You said it wonderfully.
    I was listening to one pundit who said he was afraid of her because apparently when she was asked who her favorite VP was, her reply was George H.W. Bush. When asked why, she said because he went on to become president.

  • Nancy

    October 4, 2008 at 12:41 am

    First of all, I hate debates. They are glorified, televised pissing contests. They tell you nothing more than what you already knew before the debate. The candidates spew their redundant talking points and try to one-up each other. They change no one’s mind. Everyone always says their candidate ‘won’. I am confused about the whining about the prepping. Are you really so naive as to think that they don’t all prep for debates? Biden has had many more years of practice, but believe me, he has a team that keeps him on his toes and preps him for debates. As a Libertarian, I don’t have a viable candidate in this race. I am forced to choose the lesser of two evils. The choice for me is McCain, because Obama scares the crap out of me. He has socialism written all over him, and to me that is the greater evil.

  • Emma

    October 4, 2008 at 9:06 am

    Personally, I was absolutely horrified when Palin leaned over to Biden, smiled and asked him if she could call him “Joe”. Not to mention all the times she practically flirted with the camera.
    Can you imagine her visiting Russia, and asking Putin if she could call him “Vlad”?

  • Louise

    October 4, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Alice said everything I am thinking, but much beter. SCARY is what I feel of even the thought of this woman being VP, much less President. I noticed as someone else said how excited she got about the power of the VP concerning legislation. According to the Constitution, she is clearly wrong on this thinking. The Congress is to be a check on balance on powers, not to give more power to the President and VP. She is so ignorant of world affairs. What she is good at is memory. She had studied and studied those index cards and you could tell as you looked at her performance, she was reaching into her brain to remember what she had on those cards. No knowledge whatsoever of foreign affairs. Biden sailed through it, he knows it, he has lived it for the past 26 years or so. This winking and flirting is a disgrace and shame to us as women. Katie Couric did a tremendous job by exposing this woman for who she is, and I think Katie deserves some type of recognition for this. The true Palin came out, and is continuing to show up. How can anyone, religious right, Republican, whatever, even consider this woman anything but an insult to us the American people. McCain has shown that he will stoop to anything to get his way, that too is scary.
    Great article, Alice. Keep them coming.

  • Liza

    October 4, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Well, but let’s be honest. All politicians flirt with the camera and with their consituents. Obama and Biden do it, too. Perhaps it is different and therefore more disarming to see a woman do it. I know for me it is particularly unsettling to see a woman with whom I could probably not disagree more on almost every issue do it successfully. But I don’t think the scary or annoying feature of Palin is her flirtatious affect. It’s her stand on the issues that scares the crap out of me.

  • hlcook

    October 4, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    Why does smiley, flirty, polished, cute, nice hair, smirky…. automatically mean that she’s hiding something. That secretly she’s dumb and unprepared? Because she showed that she wasn’t dumb, all of a sudden people are afraid. Now that she at least held her own there are people freaking out that she might win.
    There is nothing wrong with being yourself on and off camera. What’s wrong with her saying “Joe” they are just people after all.
    But I disregard arguments that belittle the candidates. I’d cut off my tongue before I made a comment about what a candidate LOOKED like, I could care less what they look like, sound like or if they smile too much. It’s what they DO.
    Then again, I’m Canadian. Our debates are much less spit and polish, much more spittle and arm-waving. (And kissing)

  • Bubble Girl

    October 4, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    My agreement is wholehearted! For people to believe being governor of fewer than 750,000 people for less than 700 days is adequate experience to become President of the United States is ludicrous, especially if you cannot demonstrate a breadth of knowledge of domestic and foreign affairs, let alone what periodicals you read regularly. It IS important to be able to think on your feet and not just from prepared, canned answers. This isn’t the PTA anymore.
    But there is an even larger issue here and that is the decision-making process that put her in this position. It is the same kind of political stunt John McCain pulled by suspending his campaign to deal with the financial implosion and is now pulling in Michigan. Desperate, grasping-at-straws stunts. These are grave indicators of the type of risk he is willing to take and we should all be very frightened.

  • Portrait

    October 4, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    If someone left a comment calling democrats and liberals stupid would you approve their comment and post it? I think that crosses the line with regards to respectful commentary and opinion. I hope you agree and if you do Jenn’s comment (and probably others)needs to be deleted.

  • Alice


    October 4, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Portrait, some of the comments were approved w/o me over the weekend. I agree–Jenn, your comment crossed the line. I don’t think calling Republicans stupid furthers the dialogue–nor do I think it’s accurate, for that matter.

  • Alice


    October 4, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Hlcook, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with flirting (within reason) per se, but in her case I truly believe there’s very little behind it. I never said it “automatically” signified anything. But the fact that her handlers (and I do believe she was very carefully handled in the days leading up to the election) (uh, that sounds dirtier than I meant it to) told her to up the charm quotient really seems like a cynical attempt to distract the public from the fact that there’s nothing behind her words.
    And yes, everyone who scoffed at my choice of the word “frightening.” Yes, I believe that someone who agrees with Dick Cheney’s definition of the role of Vice President, someone who believes that the earth was created 5,000 years ago, someone who believes that global warming isn’t wholly man-made–that person is truly frightening.

  • Anonymous

    October 4, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    Hmm, this is all very interesting.
    I am registered as independent but I would put myself squarely on the liberal side of things. That being said, I don’t think either side is perfect.
    People do use charm and attractiveness to their advantage, and I think that includes Obama and Palin and many other leaders worldwide. I know I use charm and smiling a big pretty smile A LOT to get what I want. Because it works, and it’s part of my personality, and part of why the people who like me like me. Plenty of men do it too, it’s certainly not limited to women, and it’s not necessarily an appeal to the sexual preferences of others either. (There is a limit though and for me the limit is the winking. I didn’t see the debate, but that would have totally made me cringe.)
    That being said charm has to be backed up by substance, like icing on a cake.
    Also, I think both sides of the debate can get pretty ridiculous. We all (liberals) found W. scary, esp. after his first term. Yes, it is true I do not want to see McCain or Palin in the white house, but I don’t think he’s going to die soon, nor do I think she will gain extended VP power, as McCain seems a bit more with it than W.
    I hope that McCain/Palin get no where near the whitehouse, but not because of a visceral fear of Palin, but rather because I just don’t agree with their politics.

  • Mrs. Kennedy

    October 4, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Melissa’s comment was terrific. What also bothers me about Palin is her Bushy way of just tearing up the rules when she doesn’t like the game. “I won’t answer your question, Gwen! (wink wink); my husband and nine other associates just don’t feel like testifying in Troopergate (you betcha!); I’m gonna fire that guy ’cause he was mean to my sister-in-law (frowny face).” Aren’t there any grownups around to make her do what she’s asked? Like others have said, I think she’s smart, but the lack of interest in much outside of her sheltered existence makes her unprepared for an office that requires not just breadth of knowledge but of a deeper — I don’t know what, humility perhaps? — than she appears to possess at this point in her life.

  • Melissa

    October 4, 2008 at 10:05 pm

    First–I did the math wrong in my comment about AK demographics. It’s 75% White, 19% Native Alaskan, 6% everyone else combined–NOT 16% everyone else combined. My point was it’s not a very diverse place.
    Secondly–I’d like to ask the conservatives on this comment thread if President Bush has served them. Do you think he was a good leader? Do you agree with his policies? Do you think he’s responsible for the current State of the Union?
    The reason I’m scared (I won’t speak for anyone else) is that I truly believe our country is in bad shape after 8 years of Republican rule. Bush and his advisors showed an incredible lack of compassion for Americans. They also showed ignorance, disrespect, and aggression towards most of the rest of the world.
    I’m really scared that these policies might continue. I truly believe that the basic underpinnings of our society will fall apart if we stick to the status quo–and McCain/Palin is more of the same, in many ways.
    If you can look around your neighborhood, your state, your country, and the world and tell me that you think everything is okay…well, that’s great for you. Can you explain why/how you think that/feel that way?
    If you don’t think things are okay, can you tell me why/how McCain/Palin will do things differently?

  • Kirsty

    October 4, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. You so eloquently spoke every *single* thought I have had on subject. I regard you as level headed and not, you know..spoiling for a fight. So that adds extra validation for me since I do tend to lean a bit toward the hysterical when it appears to me that the world has gone completely mad.
    Interesting that you use the term “nightmare” I used the same one when I blogged about it.
    Again, thank YOU.

  • Nancy

    October 4, 2008 at 10:13 pm

    I am surprised and saddened by all of the mocking ‘you betchas’, ‘doggone its’, ‘gosh darnits’, etc. All this serves to do is to offend residents of Alaska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and northern Michigan, to name a few. Try to focus on the issues that you agree or disagree with, and avoid the superficial and intolerant bashing of regional dialects and accents. Wouldn’t it be a great country if everyone spent more time discussing the important issues at hand rather than the speech patterns, hairstyles, clothing choices, skin color, and religious affiliations of the candidates?

  • Kirsty

    October 4, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Oh and can I give a big AMEN to Surburban correspondent. I am not American (although I have lived here for over 15 years and have an American husband and children), so what do I know about patriotism eh? But here’s my un-American take on it anyway: since I believe she is at least smart enough to know that she does NOT know enough to be VP, I feel like she is driven by pure ambition. That’s not patriotism. That’s the very opposite of patriotism. And, like you say, when she has had every opportunity (and valid) reason re: her family to step down gracefully…it seems downright unconscionable to me.

  • Zach

    October 5, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    Why I fear a Palin presidency?
    Very simple, based on the interviews, based on the debates, based on her existing record I think she makes and would make a horrible executive. Clearly there is a knock on Obama (and McCain and Biden) for lacking executive experience. But each, if I was interviewing them, would pass the bar of “this person seems competent, well versed in the issues of the job, and areas they are lacking seasoning they would be able to come up to speed quickly.” With Palin, I get a horrible, marketing muddle of crap. More regulation/get gov’t out of people’s lives. More drilling/more green. Less taxes/more benefits. It reminds me of when you are meeting a new VP of sales or marketing and you realize the guy doesn’t have a clue what the company does and is throwing off buzz words to cover. The flirting is just the same. Yeah, when an attractive women throws me the right glance I feel something. But if the presentation then reveals a lack of knowledge I count the flirting as a serious serious negative.
    Interview form returned with “not competent for the job.”
    Only who gives a sh*t about an extra VP at a company. Companies can fail. Governments can’t (hmmm… but when they do… it gets real ugly.) Yes to competence! Give me Kay Baily Hutchinson or Olympia Snow or

  • anon

    October 5, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    I’m a registered Democrat–I’ve only ever voted Democrat—but I’m seriously considering McCain for this election. Based solely on the fact that I feel that this country is facing many serious problems and needs someone at the helm who is prepared to set aside partisanship and seek out real solutions. Someone who is not afraid to piss off their own party if that’s what it takes to get things done. The only people on the ballot who have that kind of record are McCain and Palin.
    Many Republicans hate McCain—and many MANY Republicans hate Palin in Alaska. Because both of them have taken unpopular stances with their own parties in efforts to do their job well.
    Obama, on the other hand, has either voted with his party on every issue, or has simply not voted at all. He has zero record of reaching across the aisle to find solutions to real problems.
    His proposed socialistic agenda sounds not only highly unrealistic–but also dangerous for the future of our country.
    Palin doesn’t scare me. I disagree with her on pretty much every social issue, but as previously stated, there is nothing in her background that suggests that she allows her personal views to effect her executive decisions. I can sympathize with this. I’m against abortion personally, but I completely respect the right for a woman to choose what to do her with her own body. Also, Palin was technically correct about the role of VP–Biden was wrong. Since ’97 the role of VP has switched to much more of an executive one than legislative—this was another Biden gaffe.
    Also, she doesn’t think the world is 5000 years old. She believes in evolution–her father is a science teacher. And lastly, over 31,000 scientists would agree with Palin (and have signed a petition) that global-warming is not ‘wholly’ man-made.
    I do wish McCain had chosen someone with more experience,…but I’m voting for the top of the ticket, not the bottom.

  • Keri

    October 6, 2008 at 5:09 am

    Just out of curiosity, Anon, can you post a link or a source to the 31,000 number? (For global warming)

  • Kris

    October 6, 2008 at 9:31 am

    You nailed it completely. I’ve been sputtering about since reading the headlines Friday morning saying how great she did, thinking, did I watch the same debate as you people?

  • sezwhoo

    October 6, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    a long but must read for anyone even thinking about voting in november. his lies exposed…

  • anon

    October 6, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Keri, here’s one link:
    but there are many. The main reason is that although we humans like to imagine that the world began and will end with us (okay–we may actually completely destroy this planet) the reality is that as a species we’ve been around for a blink of eye. Yes, we are beating the crap out of our planet,…but there are also just natural cycles that this planet happens to go through.
    Throughout Earth’s history there have been dramatic and cyclic changes in climatic weather patterns in the form of glacial advance and retreat that occur on the scale of 100,000 years. These cycles include shorter duration *warming* and cooling trends that last from 20,000 to 40,000 years. Scientists estimate that approximately 10,000 years have elapsed since the end of the last ice age, and examination of physical and biological processes establishes that since the end of the last ice age there have been fluctuating periods of global warming and cooling. Therefore it is *possible* that we are in a warming cycle. There is no doubt whatsoever in ANYONE’s mind (including Palin’s) that man-made carbon emissions are contributing to the warming. There is simply a belief that the warming of our planet may not be “wholly” man-made.

  • Susan

    October 6, 2008 at 3:05 pm

    First of all, kudos to almost everyone who has posted here for being civil. I just read a political board that was so nasty I felt like I needed rubber gloves just to type on my keyboard.
    I am an Independent. Usually, I find myself voting for Republicans for national office and Democrats for local and state offices. I say that so you know that my statements are not based in party loyalty. In fact, I am still undecided regarding McCain or Obama.
    Yes, Sarah Palin has weaknesses. Sometimes she misspeakes. Sometimes she doesn’t know the answer. If we’re honest, we have to admit that the same has been true for all of the candidates at some time or another. During the debate, Joe Biden said we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon. (It’s not true- it has never been done, by the US or anyone.) He also misspoke- a much bigger blunder, in fact, than mispronouncing nuclear. It was a high-pressure debate- understandable!
    Sarah Palin is not scary. Neither is Senator Biden or Senator Obama scary. All four candidates are brilliant, highly successful people. (Look at any one of their records- including Sarah Palin.) They are all Americans who love their country, who have served her with distinction, and they all deserve our respect, even if we can’t agree with them. I find none of them “frightening” and I think it is silly to make such statements about a candidate simply because you disagree with their politics and beliefs. Saddam Hussein was frightening. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is frightening. Kim Jong-il is frightening. I can assure you that you have nothing to fear from Sarah Palin that a Democratic Congress can’t cure.
    But here’s my biggest beef. I HATE the way we women are treating Sarah Palin. I hate that we are criticizing every little thing about her- her winks, her wardrobe, her parenting choices, saying she “flirted” with the audience, etc. What the heck does that stuff have to do with being the VP? It’s so demeaning! Sen. Obama uses his charm and charisma every day to get elected- it’s one of the things that draws me (and everyone else) to him, and we women don’t mind one little bit. I hate that women I respect (such as Whoopi Goldberg and Barbara Walters) actually had the audacity to question Sarah Palin’s judgement because she agreed to accept the VP candidacy and she has young children. How dare they!? I am certain to my core that if we asked those questions of a Democratic candidate, the bellow of rage from the feminist movement would reach the Heavens. She’s not stupid, no matter how badly she did in one interview. And she did just fine in her debate, even when she was saying things that I didn’t agree with. I’ve well and truly gotten fed up with the “feminists” who, in my opinion, have become more partisan than the crustiest old relic in the Congress. Disagree with her- fine. Support the other ticket- fine. But make your statement of support for Obama stand on something besides your dislike of Sarah Palin. As a gender, we can do better than that.

  • anon

    October 6, 2008 at 5:52 pm

    Well stated Susan!
    I agree whole-heartedly. It is deeply troubling to see how partisanship has blurred people’s senses so deeply that they are unable to recognize the giant double-standard being applied.
    It seems that many feminists are not supportive of all women,…only women whose political views are aligned with their own.

  • keri

    October 6, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    “Feminism” is not a blanket statement for supporting anything that a woman does. You can be a woman and have very “un-feminist” ideals, i.e. Phyllis Schlafly. If you visit many feminist sites, such as, you will see that feminists are attacking Palin because of her beliefs about women and choice, rape kits, etc., and that they have actually called out people who are putting Palin down for how she looks, or using sexist language.
    By the way, maybe I’m wrong, but I’ve never seen Obama wink at the camera.

  • Melis

    October 7, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    I totally agree with you- and I sincerely hope that the voting public will see past the mid-west charm schtick that Palin is pushing.
    On the other end of the spectrum, I was very pleased with Biden’s presence throughout the debate.

  • nikki

    October 7, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    Anon- Yes, since Since ’97 the role of VP has switched to much more of an Executive one than Legislative, but Biden was not wrong,. Take a look at the Constitution that defines the role of the VP. The VP is not supposed to take on an Executive role. Changing the role has gone against what the Constitution defined the VP to do.

  • Maia

    October 7, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    As an Alaskan, I just feel I need to say:
    We don’t talk like that.
    Also: As for Sarah Palin’s “executive experience” and “energy expertise,” you might consult with some of her constituents on that one. Like the people of Adak, an Aleutian village that told its residents last month to leave because the town could no longer afford to run its generator. No electricity, no power, and hundreds of good, hardworking small-town Americans with no place to go.
    The governor’s office has issued no response to this situation.
    That’s the Sarah Palin I know. Her inability to lead has nothing to do with her gender and everything to do with her inability to pursue lasting solutions to real problems.

  • RD

    October 7, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    As a bleeding-heart Democrat who’s actually afraid to vote Democrat this coming November 4th, I would be truly and sincerely (100%) interested to know why you (other) Democrats are voting how you are without you mentioning (1) “maverick,” (2) “nucular,” (3) “gosh-darn,” and (4) negative things about Sarah Palin, but instead citing sincere positive things about Obama. Really; I am truly at a loss here and would very much love to know how you feel without any Palin(McCain)-bashing. PlsThx.

  • RD

    October 7, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    Wow! I just had time to read “anon”‘s comments, and I greatly appreciate them. Thanks; that’s what I needed.

  • Kate

    October 8, 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Obama stated in the debate last night that he believes health care is a right, not a responsibility.
    How’s that for a positive reference to an Obama position? To me, that’s a vote earned. Also that we negotiate before we invade, that invading Iraq was a mistake, and that our economic situation has not been helped by McCain-approved deregulation.
    I could go on. I won’t, because Alice’s post was about what she didn’t care for about Palin in the Biden/Palin debate. While I am more disgusted than scared by her, I agree with Alice’s fundamental critique.
    While we’re at it, I’d like to reply to the commenter who was concerned about the feelings of northern-midwestern Americans when people dig at Palin’s speech style.
    People from Minnesota know you can amp up the Prairie Home Companion Yah-Sure-You-Betcha for the benefit of an audience. “Gosh-Darn-It” as speech quirk? Fine. As distraction from the fact she’s not SAYING anything? Not okay. Yah, that’s how this Minnesota voter would put it.
    Now pass the green bean casserole and the Obama bumper sticker.

  • the Mater

    October 9, 2008 at 9:12 am

    I just found your thoughtful and well written critique. The moment of truth, for me, was the Achilles Heel question which she never even came close to addressing. Hubris? Ya think? Ya betcha! Wink, wink.
    “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” God help us all.