Huh. As I just now pounded out to Top!Secret G-woman, either Palin pulled off an epic five-week snow job for the ages, or Randy Scheunemann is a debate/presentation/life coach of miraculous abilities. I have not read any analyses yet because I am too sick to my stomach with the anticipation of the right-wing crowing her performance surely set off. Possibly accompanied by brass bands, fireworks, and free ice cream cones as well. She came off as completely capable. She spoke in comprehensible sentences. She was personable. She didn't seem particularly not intelligent or particularly not informed. If she had a presentation weakness, it was falling back on the "John McCain is a maverick" line too many times and saying "nucular" a lot. Beyond that, I got nothing.
Factually, she repeated the tax increase on $42,000 earners lie. She repeatedly credited the surge with gains in Iraqi security without mentioning the other two vital factors there--namely, the Iraq Awakening groups accepting US money to stop killing US troops, and al Sadr's cease-fire--and repeated that "surge principles" will succeed in Afghanistan despite the considerably different political and geographical situation there. She repeated the "Barack Obama voted to cut off funding to the troops" bullshit. She deflected questions on healthcare. Actually, she deflected a lot of questions or just declined to answer the question that was asked, preferring to flog taxes and energy, energy, energy maverick energy.
Biden was exactly as even-keeled as he needed to be, calling her on some of the more egregious mistruths as time allowed. I wish he had hit back on the details of the surge, but he defended Obama's tax and healthcare plans adequately. One point on McCain's $5000 healthcare tax credit I wish he had brought up is that regardless of how big any tax credit ends up being, people who have to buy their own coverage will still need to come up with the money up front, either in a lump or monthly, and if we have to cough up five grand even in monthly installments, well, we're not going to have coverage. Because we don't have an extra $417 a month, whether we get it back at tax time or not.
If you're going just on facts and expertise, Biden won. If you're going on not falling on your face when the world expects you to, Palin did worlds better than I ever would have expected, and a tiny win on principle is going to blow up into a blowout in the minds of people not inclined to think much past the familiar memes, talking points, and lies that have become as comfortable for McCainiacs as a favorite sweatshirt.
Both Biden and Palin oppose gay marriage. Both said they fully support equal civil rights for same sex couples, but both know that will never include key things like Social Security benefits or portability of rights until the federal government pulls same-sex couples under the umbrella of marriage. Most troubling to me was Biden's statement that both he and Obama oppose changing the civil definition of marriage because religious faiths define it as a man and a woman. Seriously, Joe? You're signing on to that conflation of civil law with religous dogma? He and Palin looked so pleased and relieved to agree on that one and be quickly scooted along to the next question that I had to tell them both to fuck off, and their running mates too. I'm too goddamn old and tired for this bullshit. Yes, hospital visitation is necessary. No, saying you're for that doesn't even come close to scratching the surface of showing you have the slightest fucking clue.
So after about an hour we pushed our Palin bingo cards aside and turned on the Cubs game for some relief, and the night promptly nosedived the rest of the way into the shitter. It was only 1-0, but the bases were loaded, and within a couple of batters they'd been cleared. Cubs are now down 6-0 after five. Early during the game last night, the TBS guys said that Wrigley was very quiet, almost as if the fans were nervously anticipating disaster. Kinda like we were about ten minutes into the debate tonight once it became apparent that what we thought was going to be a coast to victory was turning out to be something very different after all. At least the Cubs aren't flipping us off on their way down.
Shite. Shite, shite, shite.