My thoughts on the debate:

The only place Palin loses points here is early on when Biden keeps blaming the current bailout crisis on deregulation. I don’t know why Palin and McCain refuse to mention the expansion of the community reinvestment act in 1995. It is sad that Palin is willing to give the democrats a free pass on this one, and essentially join Biden and Obama in decrying Wall Street greed.

My answer would be something like this.

“Banks are a private institution that historically provide a great service to Americans and people throughout the world. They take all of our spare money and invest it in businesses small and large. Sometimes those investments pay off and the banks reward depositors with interest. Banking experts have developed great tools to help them determine to whom they should loan money. When banks are left alone they tend to make wise decisions about who should get a loan, and depositors do well, too. However, when government starts dictating and encouraging banks to give loans to people who cannot afford it, and when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac provide a government guaranteed secondary market for these risky loans, banks will be coerced and cajoled into bending the rules. The size and scope of Fannie and Freddie is the root cause of this housing bubble and in a JohnnyB administration we would address this issue head on.”

Anyway my basic impression was that Palin was savvy and interesting and Biden was BORING. Yawnzers. Palin is right to deflect all Bush derived criticism away as “Looking back and pointing fingers” where she is looking ahead.

I got so tired of hearing Joe Biden beat up on Exxon Mobil. Exxon Mobil provides cheap energy to the world. Are they worse than Goldman Sachs or Countrywide? They provide good high paying union jobs in this country. When was the last time your government asked you to bail out an oil company? See, there’s another great line.

Palin’s approach to energy, and the private sector in general, is correct. The private sector is not to be demonized, but is a party with which government negotiates. Palin broke a pipeline monopoly (ok it is really an oligopoly) in Alaska by negotiating with Transcanada to build a (clean, green) natural gas pipeline. She wouldn’t let her citizens be exploited, but she gives them credit when due.

Gwen Ifill did a good job. Talking heads made too much noise about her book. Really, complaining about media bias is the sports equivalent to visiting Alabama and complaining about the refs. Nobody likes whiners and crybabies. Lehrer and Ifill are the two best moderators out there, a good moderator shouldn’t draw too much attention to themselves and that is exactly what Chris Matthews and the network guys do all the time.

The histrionics around Palin’s performance with Katie Couric was too much to bear. Palin picked a fight with the media, and then McCain sends her in to interview with them almost immediately. Clearly not thought through. The conservative media then lowers expectations, which I’ve been told is a soft form of racism, and she has clearly exceeded them.

Biden needed to look smarter than Palin, like Cheney did in 2000 when he offered to put Lieberman in the private sector. Biden did not do that. Biden’s fake choking up about his sons looked fake. I truly feel for the man, it was a real tragedy, but he tried to cover up his real concern with a phoney choking up concern for the cameras. Frankly I’m sick of tearing up in front of the camera by any politician, period.

On foreign policy, the lines have already been drawn. Biden didn’t look like he was smarter than Palin on any policies. Biden said he wants to be more aggressive in Sudan, and I guess Palin agrees with him. (Does anyone have a problem with this? Just asking). McCain was right about the surge, just as he was right about Fannie and Freddie in 2005, just as McCain and Palin are right about drilling for more oil and natural gas.

When Palin answers questions, I actually listened. Sometimes I cringed (especially when she kept harping on Wall Street greed; I mean geez if you really feel that way don’t support a bailout), but I cringe at all debates. With Joe Biden, it was a struggle not to turn it off or fall asleep.

These debates are really battles of attrition, and it seems like McCain is kind of winning, but wants to do it with the softest kid gloves imaginable.

Palin looks like a good sympathizer in chief. She could out “I-feel-your-pain” Bill Clinton.

By the way did anyone notice that the GOP raised $60 million this last month? I wonder if Kathleen Parker still wants Palin off the ticket? For David Brooks and others, sometimes when you have too many cocktails and/or triple lattes with colleagues at the NY Times and the New Republic, the more you want to impress them….

Palin is charming, Biden is boring

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