Your VP Debate Thread

No, I didn’t watch the debate: I was busy talking with Toby Buckell in front of a bunch of people in Columbus. But if the post-debate analysis consensus is to be believed, neither candidate embarrassed themself, and Biden came out on top, because he apparently knows things, as opposed to knowing talking points helpfully provided on index cards. This outcome, if accurate, does not surprise me much. And this is all I know of the debate at this moment.

However, I would not deny any of you the joy of discussing the debate here, if such would be your wont. So here you go: Add your thoughts, analysis, commentary and so on. Play nice with the other children; do not make me come and take away your toys.

121 thoughts on “Your VP Debate Thread

  1. I was also watching John and Toby last night, but I watched the last little bit of the debate. When Biden started talking about nearly losing his family, and she basically ignored it and went on with her talking points, all I could think was “Bitch”.
    Also, her discourse about the VP office actually being part of the legislative branch, and expanding on Cheney’s power grabs….well, I found it to be disturbing. Disquieting.

  2. Biden looked like Sam the Eagle.

    Palin looked like Tina Fey doing an impersonation of Palin.

    I was hoping for a spectacular meltdown on either side, with Biden stepping into it majorly, or Palin just losing her shit in front of the entire country, but I was disappointed. Overall, Biden came out better, but Palin held her own by not looking like a *complete* ignoramus, which is about as much as the Republicans could hope to achieve.

  3. I think that Palin showed herself to be smarter, but wronger, than I’d thought. But how can someone manage “Achmedinijad” but still say “nukular”?

  4. I think both candidates did well, but Sen. Biden was the clear winner. Gov. Palin needs more time in the national spotlight, but I imagine she appealed to her base. They still sound basically the same to me though:
    NATIONAL socialism or national SOCIALISM.

  5. I can definetly see why Palin has such mass appeal on the right she is very charming and personable. With her folksy attitude and malapropisms (anyone else catch the “o’biden?” heeee) and reigonal pride she reminded me a lot of George Bush. I noticed she used identical lines of reasoning and lines of attack that McCain used. There were portions of the debate that played out almost identically to the previous debate. Seing as how they only had one debate and missed out on talking in depth about education I wish we didn’t have to have a round two of sematics about preparation vs preconditions and who voted for funding for Iraq bills with/without time tables. I think that is where it showed how much she had been coached. Her delivery was good but it felt at times like she hadn’t even watched McCain and Obama’s debate last week.

    I was glad that Biden presented such intelligent attacks on the McCain/Palin policies on health care. I’ve read several articles commenting that with his skin cancer history McCain might have a hard time getting coverage on his own plan if he was a regular joe. I was so glad he tried to argue about McCain being such a maverick only when it suited his image.

  6. *Delurk*
    I think Palin gained ground in part because the bar was so low for her. She is given far to much credit that her performance was not the unrelenting farcical cock up that was the Couric interview managing to string together loosely coherent sentences and she is being described as articulate? Please. This and the Gibson interview seem to be her high water mark. She does all right sticking to canned talking points and vague generalities, when forced to extemporize she vomits stream of narcissistic ramble.

  7. Wow, we made it all the way to reply number seven before Godwin’s law kicked in. Amazing, John should be so proud.

    Bigkat39@2, the thing is, you know, it’s true. The VP as President of the Senate does have a role outside of casting tie votes, and that role is ‘Preside over the Senate while it’s in session’. Now sure, by tradition she only does that when it’s going to be a close vote, and otherwise the President pro Tempore or his designated replacement does, but the VP could, in fact, sit over every single session, call the votes, apportion time for debate, etc. Isn’t it kind of shocking that after three decades in the Senate, and law school where Biden theoretically took constitutional law, that he doesn’t know this?

    Oh, and Joelfinkle@6, perhaps it’s because that’s an accepted metathetic pronunciation of the word nuclear, just like we metathetise the pronunciation of words like Wednesday, comfortable, and hundreds of other English words. I’m not sure what part of the country you come from, but whatever part it is, I’m sure you do the same thing to certain words that other parts of the country don’t.

  8. @ 8 Jess, “I’ve read several articles commenting that with his skin cancer history McCain might have a hard time getting coverage on his own plan if he was a regular joe.”

    Of course he wouldn’t be able to qualify. But then he would be on medicare, anyway, because of his age. And anyone who owns 8 homes and a dozen cars wouldn’t need insurance, anyway. He simply doesn’t get what it’s like to have trouble paying the rent, buying gas & food, AND keeping your kids insured. Heaven forbid if you have an unexpected medical expense or car repair.

    With W’s approval rating at 22%, I was happy to see Biden link McCain with the current administration every chance he got.

    Palin’s “folksiness” my appeal to people who only vote for someone the “like” instead of voting on the issues, but she showed yet again that she can’t answer all of the actual questions even when she’s been tutored for weeks about this debate.

    McCain is 72 and has survived 4 bouts with cancer. People have to face the fact that he has a huge likelihood of him not living for four more years, even without the stress of a presidential campaign and being president.

    A vote for McCain for president is a vote for Palin for President and she is in no way ready for that. She even said last night in an answer to a question that she had”only been doing this 5 weeks.” That was her answer instead of providing specifics.

  9. Isn’t it kind of shocking that after three decades in the Senate, and law school where Biden theoretically took constitutional law, that he doesn’t know this?

    I think what Joe Biden knows, as do all sane people (this, of course eliminates Cheney), is that the Vice President is established in the Constitution under the _Executive Branch_ and that Cheney’s argument otherwise was a simple attempt to avoid having to reveal records.

    accepted metathetic pronunciation of the word nuclear

    Sarah Palin: linguistic pioneer. Who knew?

  10. I can’t speak coherently about this. I’m just infuriated that she’s not being raked over the coals for a terrible performance, notecards and all. The only thing I fear more than McCain leading the country is Palin leading the country.
    I wish I lived in a swing state, so I could volunteer more. As it is you’ll find me in Indiana for a couple of days over the next 30 or so, helping to Obama campaign. To me this is more important than just my vote, I’ve got to go help others make a informed decision, not just based on who they “like”.

  11. Palin did well for her, but still not ready for the big show, so I ignored her.

    I flipped the debate off after Biden brought up George Bush again and again. I wanted to see a debate and hear what he and Obama stood for; I didn’t want to see him say we are NOT for this. We are NOT for that. I didn’t hear him say what he was for. Since the big issues like the economy, military and energy issues are not polar issues. Saying your not for what McCain is for does not tell me what you are for. I was looking for specifics, not we’re not McCain, we’re not Bush. But that’s why I’m sick of politics, there’s no transparency. It’s now become defining yourself by what you are not, rather than what you are. What other job in this nation would promote someone for not being something?

    I will not vote for McCain, and I keep waiting for Obama or Biden to sway me to their side. Neither have so far. Looks like it’s a write in for John Scalvi.

  12. This all boils down to “My choice did a great job, the other one showed a complete lack of competence.” Did anyone who actually watched the “debate” watch with an open mind to see what they said, or did everyone just watch to cheer for the choice they had already made?

    I did neither. I didn’t watch.

  13. noookuulaaaaar!

    seriously. do we need another human in office too stupid to know how to pronounce this? seems important.

    all I have to say is that she came off like a talking robot.

  14. I agree with JSS @17. I did watch it, but probably not with an open mind…

    I have to say, on the Palin “Folksyness” that it really really annoys me. I don’t WANT a president or VP who I would want to drink beers with. All of my friends would make HORRIBLE presidents. I want someone SMARTER than my friends and me. I don’t understand people who want “Just plain folks” to be president…

    Remember, there’s a damn good reason why we’re a republic and not a democracy. The people are idiots.

  15. Golly gee that Sarah is spunky! OK, two initial observations: 1.) The campaign staff obviously told her that people liked her down-home personality, so DO IT MORE! It came off like she was someone making fun of Sarah Palin. (What the hell can Tina Fey do now? Palin did the best Palin parody I’ve ever seen!) I flipped over to CNN at points to watch the live response-graph from undecided voters, and whenever she started in winking at the camera and talking about how she’s “Joe six-pack” her approval plummeted. 2.) Refusing to answer certain questions after fumbling with your notes, and saying you’re going to talk about what “the people” want to hear is a pretty transparent attempt to cover for the fact that you have no idea about that subject. Palin got 84% in a CNN poll regarding “exceeding expectations” but, honestly, how could she have not exceeded what was expected of her. All in all I think it changed nothing about the election, which is bad for McCain.

  16. Regarding McCain and health insurance — he got a little testy during an interview with the Des Moines Register when they pointed out that he has pretty much had government paid health care his entire life. From his childhood when his Dad was in the Navy, to his own career in the Navy, to his life on Capitol Hill, John McCain has received quality health care on the taxpayers’ dime.

    Of course, part of his response to this was to say there was a five year period where the health care he received was pretty lousy. Yeah, John, we get it — you were a POW…

  17. I read this on another site:

    “Joe won his debate, totally eviscerating President Bush. Unfortunately, Bush wasn’t actually at the debate, so it was kind of an empty victory…”

    Plus, anyone concerned that Joe don’t know his Constitution? Article I has to do with your current job, Joe, not the Presidency.

  18. Biden was good and tried to be substantive, though he made some substantive errors. Palin was the better debater and, unlike some here, I thought she was at least equally substantive though on different issues. For example, I think she was the clear winner of the energy debate and knew more than Biden on that issue (which makes sense).

    I hate to break it to some folks, but Palin’s performance will translate into a positive for John McCain in the polls. She more than held her own and stopped the slow bleed. Of course McCain has a lot of ground to make up and he is more than capable of blowing it all by himself.

  19. Somebody needs to do a video using those old-school morphing tools showing what Bill Clinton and George Bush looked like before and after their first terms as president. They both seemed to age 12 years in 4 – and that being the case, what will the stresses of the presidency do to a 72-year-old man?

  20. From the CBS post-debate poll:

    “Forty-six percent of these uncommitted viewers said Biden won the debate Thursday night, while 21 percent said Palin won. Thirty-three percent thought it was a tie.

    Even a quarter of Republican uncommitted voters thought Biden won the debate.”

  21. To be clear about “nucular”: much as I hate it, it’s become an accepted pronunciation. And if you need further convincing, Jimmy Carter was a nuclear engineer and he pronounced it that way. We need to get past that point.

  22. I thought Palin did pretty well, certainly compared to her last outings.
    She does ramble and proper sentence structure may be beyond her but apparently that’s not a deal breaker when it comes to electing presidents. And I don’t think anyone was confused by her answers.
    Biden was the better speaker, forceful and relaxed, but most people don’t really care about that.
    I think people look for two things: Do they like or not like the message, and do they like or not like the candidate.

  23. Michael Totten, who is pretty trustworthy as an expert on Lebanon, raises the point that Biden’s comments about the French kicking Hezbollah out of Lebanon are wrong. Like, that never happened, wrong.

    Since neither the moderator nor Palin either knew or cared enough to call him on it, I award all of them no points, and I’m glad I didn’t watch.

  24. I watched with low expectations. I did catch the O’Biden gaff. You have to wonder if that’s what they call the ticket behind the scenes and she slipped.

    I that Joe Biden was very good. You could tell that he was speaking from internalized knowledge and experience on a wide range of issues most of the time.

    I’m a little shocked that the woman who wants to preside over the Senate has never met the chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations. Somehow that surprised me and reinforced her inexperience.

  25. Note cards?! Do you get note cards when you’re President? Or do you just get to brush off the current crisis since no one prepared you for it?

    If Palin ends up as prez, she’s going to be a puppet (or at least be treated as such). That’s pretty horrible for the country, for her, and particularly for the status of women in this country.

  26. It really annoyed me that Palin wouldn’t answer the questions asked and talked about whatever she wanted(or was told to).

    I wish the moderator would have called her on that. Once it was obvious that she didn’t even understand the question. This was the one about when the use of nuclear weapons was appropriate and you could see her thinking “Haven’t we already covered this?” before she went on to talk about Iran and North Korea and nuclear weapons again.

    This debate didn’t change my opinion of her at all. That she could be one heartbeat away from the presidency scares me to death.

  27. Some Other Eric @16: Perhaps if you hadn’t turned the debate off, you would have heard Biden’s specifics: he spoke in detail about Obama’s tax plan, about his plan for ending the Iraq war, even soem clarification about the energy statements. I’m not sure how much more detail he could have gone into given the time limitations as well as the fact that he had to spend half of his allotted time correcting Palin on her inaccuracies and obfuscation (“Um, McCain ALSO voted against that, btw.”).

    Palin, on the other hand, repeated “I’m from an energy-rich state,” “maverick” and “also” so many times that if I was playing a drinking game, I’d STILL be hammered. Oh, and she started every other answer with “darn right” or “doggone it.” Yes, we get it, Alaska has oil. Guess what? Alaska still has oil if the other guys win. She didn’t do terribly, but even her “soccer mom” card got trumped by Biden’s single father response, which was moving to the extreme.

  28. Biden said some absolutely amazing things:

    “When we kicked — along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, “Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know — if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.”

    Really? In what world did we do that? And when did Obama advocate sending NATO troops in?

    This doesn’t even make sense if you assume he meant that Lebanon kicked Syria out. And doesn’t he know that Hezbollah controls southern Lebanon?

    He also said that Hamas won the election in the West Bank. It wasn’t; it was in Gaza.

    This is the same foreign policy expert who suggested sending Iran $200 million after 9/11 to show that we’re friends with Arabs.

    Now, understand that this is the man Barack Obama chose as his foreign policy expert. What does this say about his judgment?

  29. the debate was predictable, Biden regined it in, namecheking as many small neigborhoods from his past as he could and Palin spoke in full sentences and talking points in that small town accent of hers.

    Given their past performances, they both won, just by playing it safe.

    Meanwhile over on reddit, someone had reposted your baco-feline amalgam and it is a firm number two in comments. We all know what’s really important.

  30. I think the ‘nukular’ thing may have been premeditated, as part of the “Sarah’s one of us average Joe’s” campaign. After all, the Republican strategists successfully sold the son of a former president, prep school Ivy-leaguer as a Texas good ole’ boy. At least with Palin, they don’t have to stretch as far.

    I believe Americans tend to buy presidental archetypes. The Democrats have been trying to sell a Jeffersonian intellectual with Gore and Kerry, whereas the Republicans succeeded with their Andrew Jackson/Teddy Roosevelt image of Bush. It seems Obama is being sold as a Lincoln and they were trying to sell McCain as a kind of war hero maverick, a sort of TR/Kennedy and it wasn’t marketing well, so they got Palin to shore up the ‘cowboy’ factor.

  31. David@13,

    Actually I think it’s an open question what Joe Biden knows, as last night in the debate he said that the Vice Presidency was established under Article I, which is, as any high school senior taking civics knows, the Legislative article. But aside from that gaffe, that’s not actually what he said. Here’s what he said:

    “And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.”

    And yes, the Constitution is explicit, and Biden is explicitly wrong here, and it truly is surprising to me that he gets it wrong. There is no restriction to presiding over the Senate only during a tie vote. The constitution is clear, the Vice President always presides over the Senate when present, and the President pro Tempore of the Senate (or designated replacement under the Senate rules) only when he’s not present.

    None of that has to do with Cheney’s bizarre claim of privilege, btw. If the papers had actually to do with Cheney’s role in presiding over the Senate, then it would, in fact, have applied.

  32. Well, not what I hoped for (a Palin implosion), but not unexpected. Palin veered between being obviously quite nervous as she attempted to recall the talking points she’s been coached on for weeks, to sometimes folksy and “charming” (if you like the sort of “charming” where one is being snarky with a smile on their face). And speaking of malapropisms, did y’all catch where she mentioned “the toxic conditions on Main St. effecting Wall St.” ? (when she clearly meant the opposite ;) Also, as Cynthia said in #31, she had a habit of not answering the actual question the moderator posed at times.

    Biden easily won on, you know… the issues. He was able to speak coherently on his positions, know his facts, and have one sentence clearly follow the next. However, Biden can be verbose, as sometimes demonstrated last night.

    But heck, I 100% agree with Brian in #19 above. Give me smart and competent anytime over “just plain folks.” This woman wasn’t even a capable mayor of a small town. There’s no way in hell that she’s qualified to be VP of the U.S.

  33. Since when did Palin get the Minnesotan accent living in Alaska? ;) Doncha know. Everytime she uses that accent and trys to appear folksy and uses words like Joe six pack it makes me want to vommit. It’s a very transparent ploy to make herself appear to be an “every person” which she is not.

  34. I’m a little surprised everyone’s so down on the moderator for her performance. She did several times quickly try to get each of the VP candidates to answer the question put to them when they spent their time espousing a prepared answer, but she had her hands tied with that format. The times when Palin looked most unprepared was each of those instances, while those were often the times that Biden looked most comfortable, as if he was truly ready to give a solid answer on each.

    My other thought is that Palin and McCain debate exactly the same way, and Biden and Obama debate quite similarly. The McCain/Palin tactic is to take the basic topic on the table (though in Palin’s case, she often switched to another topic if the one asked wasn’t something she had a prepared statement for) and give a carefully prepared attack answer, usually involving an outright misrepresentation of the truth. For example, both did a very careful attack on ‘Obama’s plan is to raise your taxes’.

    Now, Obama and Biden strike me as better candidates simply because in the face of such constant attack, they seemed very comfortable simply refuting the statement and offering the correct information. They had that information ready, and I don’t think it was a prepared statement – both of them had the demeanor and ease that suggests this is information that is commonly known to them, and that they can pull it out at any time. They ALSO had ready information on rebuttal, and used it without going into the sort of attack that is designed to get a sound bite.

    Not that both didn’t have sound bite attacks at other points during the debate, but for the most part, I thought their rebuttals were just that – rebutting an incorrect statement – as opposed to an aggressive assault and an attempt to paint their opponent as evil, which is what McCain/Palin seem to be going for.

    Obama and Biden have been taking some heat for not being aggressive enough, but I have to say I infinitely prefer calm rebuttal and assurance in one’s policies over an hour and a half of scripted and unfounded attacks. I think that while McCain and Palin’s debate techniques may occasionally play well with their base, Obama and Biden’s demeanor shows they would be infinitely better leaders.

    Especially in that area of diplomacy, which McCain and Palin both seem so contemptible of. Hardly surprising, when you consider how their debating techniques indicate they’d be likely to perform poorly in diplomatic conversations as opposed to out-and-out war.

  35. My impression of the debate is that the Republicans lost the war by focusing on the battle.

    It dawned on me when I saw Biden repeatedly attack McCain. He didn’t touch Palin at all. And why should he? She’s a non-issue, something McCain brings out at rallies to energize the base. After the debate, she’s going into the Cheney bunker and not doing another debate.

    But although the format of the debate was meant to favor Palin’s heavily-scripted approach, it allowed Biden to constantly hit arguments in the park without retort. And trust me, if McCain had been in front of him intead, he would have fought back.

    Just watch the evolution of the reactions to the debate: immediately after, people are all focusing on Palin… Then people start remembering how experienced and savvy Biden looked, and how he dismantled the “Maverick” gimmick.

    I firmly think that for undecided voters, when they will look at Obama and Biden, they will remember Biden from the debate outside of the context of Palin. And then they’ll know who to vote for.

    For the Republicans, last night’s debate was about a deep morale issue with their VP pick. She did good, and they’re rejoicing.

    For the Democrats… this was very much about the end goal, and that means McCain and dismantling his campaign. And I think the next days will illustrate that THIS was terribly effective.

  36. As much as people were afraid Biden would look like a big meanie beating up on dumb Sarah, the truth is: SHE MADE HIM CRY, and then he came right back and demolished one of the central myths of the McCain campaign in the next round.

  37. My favorite part of the debate was toward the end, when Palin let go a Freudian slip while speaking of McCain,
    “[Naming a number of prominent Republicans] all believe that this is the right man to leave…lead…”

    The wife and I both looked at each other and laughed.

  38. Regarding the “VP presides over the Senate” thing – the last VP to actually do that was (if I recall correctly) John Adams – AKA “the first VP.”

  39. Skip @37:

    Give the whole quote, Skip, not just the parts you want to use to prove your point. What Biden said was:

    “Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history. The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch. He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.

    And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought, and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.

    The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress. The idea he’s part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.”

    He was explicitly talking about Cheney’s claim. As is clear from the second paragraph, he sort of merged together “presiding” and “voting” and then went back and corrected himself. The Article thing he screwed up plain and simple. If you want that to be the basis of your criticism (“Joe Biden, off by one Article of the Constitution”) be my guest.

    (Nice little verbal ploy there, by the way: “any high school senior taking civics knows.” Cute.)

  40. Here’s the quote from the transcript of that slip:

    Also, John McCain’s maverick position that he’s in, that’s really prompt up to and indicated by the supporters that he has. Look at Lieberman, and Giuliani, and Romney, and Lingle, and all of us who come from such a diverse background of — of policy and of partisanship, all coming together at this time, recognizing he is the man that we need to leave — lead in these next four years, because these are tumultuous times.

  41. The debate would have been much better if there had been more giant mecha involved. With those cool missiles that leave the smoke trails!

  42. Award for best, one-sentence summary of the debate goes to CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider:

    “Palin’s answers do not lack confidence, they lack coherence.”

  43. He also said that Hamas won the election in the West Bank. It wasn’t; it was in Gaza.

    Actually, the election was in both the West Bank and in Gaza, and as a result of the election in both areas Hamas took over control of the PA’s legislature/parliament/whatever from Fatah. Of course, it’s true that their support was far stronger in Gaza than in the West Bank, and it’s also true that when the government fractured Hamas kept Gaza while Fatah stayed in control in the West Bank. The election, though, definitely covered both, and I’d guess that Biden’s mistake is more one of using “the West Bank” as a shorthand for “the Palestinian Territories” than a misunderstanding of the distinction between the West Bank and Gaza.

    The Hezbollah stuff didn’t make a lot of sense, though, to be sure.

  44. I completely agree with Brian @19. Who are these people who, first off, are perfectly satisfied to be referred to as “Joe six packs” and then are thrilled to put another Joe six pack into a head of state role? Although it is true that my husband’s drinking buddies might be able to run the country better than it has been run in the last decade that SHOULDN’T be true! I want our leader to be someone that I and my children can look up to. After all, that’s what a true “leader” is–someone who inspires us to be and do our best.

    Ugh.

    As a couple others have I also disagree with the criticism of the moderator. The debate structure is the real problem. I think many of us would love to see old-fashioned debate where the questions are posed by the candidates themselves to each other, and they have to provide detailed fact-based responses and state their sources of information so those facts can be checked.

  45. I am still waiting for the debate when after each answer we pause and let the bloggers fact check each statement. Both debaters had a number of gaffes in which they claimed one of the presidential candidates voted for such and such law when in actuality they did not. Biden in particular kept incorrectly claiming exact instances of McCain voting along the same lines as Obama. My two cents from the parts I did watch – neither VP candidate is someone I want running the country although I’d rather have a beer with Biden. This is about the same for the presidential candidates as well. I can’t take anything McCain says seriously as he’ll flop whichever way it takes to win the election and Obama for all his talk of reaching across party lines to govern has yet to show me he can get along with anyone who disagrees with him. Both of the man’s books are several hundred page essays on why he is correct in everything and why most other people are wrong. I keep waiting for one of the parties to inspire me but all the current election process does is highlight each candidates negatives for the voters.

  46. David H. @42:

    That flowchart link was priceless David. Best laugh in a while. Thanks :)

    You know, I was just thinking how Biden reminds me of the expert TV repairman from my boyhood. He’d drop by our house, open the mind-bogglingly complex thing up, and sit us down while he pointed out exactly what was wrong. A true expert.

    Palin, OTOH seems like a disinterested teenager of today. She’s trapped in a foreign call center and forced to read dodgy scripts while adding robotic comments like, “Hi my name’s Joe. Howya doin today?”

  47. C’mon, people :). I have never taken US civics – not being a US citizen – but it doesn’t seem hard here:

    Article I., Section 1: All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

    Section 3: The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote.

    So far, so good: we’ve defined who gets to be part of the legislative branch, and the VP ain’t there.

    Later in Section 3:
    The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

    So, the VP has this role, but is clearly defined as *not* part of the Senate – i.e. presides over but is not part of. Hence not legislative. Why is this an issue?

    {{I know, I know, it *isn’t*, it’s merely a febrile dopamine-driven product of a few sadly-apoptotic neurons in the lateral prefrontal cortex of one Richard Cheney. on the other hand, anything the promotes folks actually reading the Constitution cannot be that bad, right?}}

    Incidentally, article II notes that executive power [derives from a mandate from the masses, not some farcical aquatic ceremony] – err, resides in the President only. So I’d argue that a VP cannot claim executive privilege; but that’s far more worthy of argument :-).

  48. I missed the debate (it was on at 2 a.m. BST). It’s already been touched on, but there is a burning question that is important to us Brits.

    It has already been confirmed that Sarah Palin is incapable of pronouncing the word “nuclear” correctly. (Sorry, but over here that makes you sound like a 3 year old).

    What we want to know is this: Does she share with Bush a desire to represent wearers of pubic wigs? (“The merkin people”)

    (I’m afraid the way your president speaks really is a source of amusement and ridicule over here).

  49. David@47,

    Which part of the whole quote changes what I wrote? Biden was, in fact, wrong. Wrong about the duties of the VP in the Senate, and as a Senator he should have known better. Since you think the whole quote changes things, let’s look at the whole thing:

    ““Vice President Cheney has been the most dangerous vice president we’ve had probably in American history.”

    A value judgement, and one I won’t dispute much because he’s certainly shot more people while in office than any recent VP. Aaron Burr, however, probably wins this one.

    “The idea he doesn’t realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that’s the Executive Branch.”

    As you noted, it’s article II that enumerates the executive branch. However, the Vice President is listed in article I, the legislative branch article, as having duties. Specifically it says:

    “The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.”

    The president of a forum not having a vote unless tied is pretty much a standard item. Check Robert’s Rules of Order if you don’t believe me.

    “He works in the Executive Branch. He should understand that. Everyone should understand that.”

    This is actually a fairly recent change, and not one contemplated by, you know, the actual Constitution. From 1789 to 1952 the Vice President officed in the Capitol, his budget came from the legislative branch’s, he regularly presided over the senate proceedings, and he wasn’t typically invited to cabinet meetings. This changed in 1953 when Nixon was VP. Chris@46 this should answer your question as well, Adams was only the first of many to do this.

    “And the primary role of the vice president of the United States of America is to support the president of the United States of America, give that president his or her best judgment when sought”

    That’s certainly a role, but not one enumerated by the constitution. In fact, the VP has not a single Article II responsibility. The only responsibility listed is, in fact, an Article I one.

    “and as vice president, to preside over the Senate, only in a time when in fact there’s a tie vote. The Constitution is explicit.”

    Yes, the Constitution (and the Senate rules) are explicit, and yes, the Senator is explicitly wrong on something he should have known better.

    “The only authority the vice president has from the legislative standpoint is the vote, only when there is a tie vote. He has no authority relative to the Congress.”

    Incorrect as to the constitution, law, and senate rules. He has the authority to preside ove the Senate proceedings any time he wishes.

    “The idea he’s part of the Legislative Branch is a bizarre notion invented by Cheney to aggrandize the power of a unitary executive and look where it has gotten us. It has been very dangerous.”

    Part of the legislative branch? No. Having a legislative role? Absolutely. Ranting about ‘unitary executive’? Panders to the moonbat left, but there’s really not much there.

  50. I keep waiting for Obama to slam a “bi-partisan” line from McPalin when they talk about Joe Lieberman. Just a simple “If you’re reaching across the aisle for Joe Lieberman, you’re sure not reaching very far” would do it.

  51. Words that are now officially boring:

    Any derivative of “moonbat”.

    Any derivative of “reich winger” or “wingnut”.

    (When used in political discourse, of course, of course).

    I’m doubtful the veep debate pursuaded many from the views they already held. It’s likely that those who are already entrenched have dug-in a bit more. I don’t care for being winked at over the tube, though, that’s for sure.

  52. I think the Constitution is clear (See Ewan @ 55). The VP is NOT part of the Senate. He merely presides over it and only votes when there is a tie.

    Article II, Section 1 clearly states that the President and Vice President are elected together — as amended by Amendment XII. Hence the VP is part of the Executive Branch ONLY.

  53. stevemon @22

    Biden was good and tried to be substantive, though he made some substantive errors.

    Some deeply substantive errors (e.g. no one has ever kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon) for a man who’s forte’ is supposedly Foreign Policy.

    But you won’t hear a thing about it in the Institutional Media. Instead you’ll hear “He won!”

    But how can he have “won” when he got fundamental facts wrong in his area of expertise?

    Because substance doesn’t matter.

    Policy wonks and partisans will say their guy (or gal) won. Everyone else is looking to see who can do the job.

    My guess is that both seemed reasonably equipped to be Vice President because most people do not keep track of things so closely as to notice all the mistakes Biden made.

    So no one got hurt, Palin has bee restored (and pounded yet another nail in the coffin of the Institutional Media) and it’s back to being a neck and neck race where it is up to the candidates to sell themselves.

  54. @59 Kelson, I don’t like the kiss-blowing, either. I was watching on CSPA & I don’t know if the other outlets showed that when Palin walked out.

    Worse than her wink, IMHO.

  55. I watched the debate from Sarah’s homestate. To those who question the veracity of her accent…it’s real. She spoke that way since she learned to speak. It’s the standard rural Alaskan non-aboriginal accent. If you grew up in rural Alaska, that’s what you’d sound like…including the “You Betcha’s”. And it is pronounced nookular….so there. ;)

    Actually I thought it was a pretty good show. No meltdowns on either side, and neither Palin nor Biden seemed robotic. Biden made his points using his heavy, Ivy League serious East Coast mannerisms, while Palin made her’s in her laid back, rural, flyover country mannerisms.

    Warning to Dems…Don’t underestimate the power of visual impressions, personability and likeability. It’s what got JFK into the White House, and what I’d venture to say it’s what got Bush into the White House twice.

  56. Did anybody notice the relative size of their flag pins? Biden had a relatively normal one… but Palin’s was HUGE. I wonder if that was intentional. Perhaps we’ll see a Republican campaign ad in the future; “Palin’s more American than Biden… just look at the size of her flag pin!”

  57. Skip @ 57 – My recollection of history (I do have a degree in the subject) doesn’t support the idea of the VP being actively involved in the Senate, but if this changed in 1953, it’s a bit of a stretch to expect a guy elected in 1970 to remember it.

    Frank @ 61 – I do distinctly remember a proposal to put NATO in South Lebanon after last year’s war.

  58. Basil,

    Joe Biden has degrees from the University of Delaware and Syracuse University. As far as I am aware, neither of them is in the Ivy League. Nice try at pushing that particular anti-elitist button, though.

  59. Some other Eric @ 16

    I flipped the debate off after Biden brought up George Bush again and again.

    I will not vote for McCain, and I keep waiting for Obama or Biden to sway me to their side. Neither have so far.

    how can they if you won’t listen? biden did an extremely solid job of not only linking mccain and bush, but also giving very specific policy differences and explaining what obama would do. obama does it in every speech. if you’re missing it, it’s b/c you keep turning off the tv, not b/c they aren’t saying it.

  60. kcarlile @30 – Nope, as President or VP, you don’t get notecards, you get teleprompters.

  61. #25 et al.: Jimmy Carter pronounced it “nu-kee-ar.” And no, saying “nucular” isn’t equivalent to squeezing “Wednesday” into two syllables – it’s inserting a vowel between the “k” and “l” sounds that doesn’t belong there. It’s like Minnesotans in the 1980s who used to pronounce the name of then-Sen. Rudy Boschwitz “Boswitch” – an incorrect transposition.

    (After the RNC, I saw it reported in several places that the speech prepared for Palin’s big debut had it spelled “new-clear” with hyphen, hence she pronounced it correctly there.)

    As for Palin last night: Near the end, did she not understand the meaning of “Achilles’ heel,” or was she deliberately avoiding the question of what she considered to be a weakness in herself? (Her answer was a beaut – see transcript at http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/10/02/debate.transcript).

  62. nicole @ 69 – First, thanks for assuming I haven’t listened to any of them. I have listened. I listened to the presidential debate, and personally, I think Obama won. I’m a conservative, NOT a Republican. Even with my own personal bias, Obama won that debate.

    Second, during the V.P. debate, I watched almost an hour of negatives. For either sides’ talk of politics of change, I watched politics of the same. All I saw Biden do was so Obama wasn’t McCain, and Obama wasn’t Bush. I gave him the opportunity to define himself, and he didn’t while I watched. I wasn’t enjoying what I watched or learning anything, so I turned the T.V. off and opened my copy of Ghost Brigades. I don’t watch movies or T.V. shows that suck just because the ending might be different from what I’ve seen before.

    But, again, thanks for the assuming I won’t listen.

  63. Crunchbird@68 – My Ivy-League reference wasn’t pushing a button intentionally, I was just trying to state the regional differences between their styles. For example, Bush is an Ivy-Leaguer but appears more like a Texas cowboy, and therefore appeals to that sector more. I’m not into rhetoric if it can be avoided, it only serves to convolute the point

    I would venture that Biden’s highest following will be among the northereasterners and most of the west-coast. While more midwestern and north central folks will find Palin to be one of their own.

    A higher percentage of those Northeasterners are going to find Palin naive country bumpkin with simplistic ideas, while Palin’s supporters will find Biden to be a stuffed shirt know it all. I’m not taking sides or making accusations in this post, just pointing out regional preferences.

    That’s all….

  64. I thought the Achilles’ heel question was a gotcha question that she wisely did not answer.

    No sense in providing cannon fodder to the media for the next 30-odd days, or perhaps the next 4 years.

  65. Frank @ 61 and others

    I believe the quote that you are referring to is:
    “When we kicked — along with France, we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon, I said and Barack said, ‘Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum, because if you don’t know — if you don’t, Hezbollah will control it.’ Now what’s happened? Hezbollah is a legitimate part of the government in the country immediately to the north of Israel.”

    While we will likely continue to hear about this as a mistake my question is this: Do you think that Sen Biden believes that we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon and then allowed them to come right back (a literal reading) or do you think he miss-spoke and meant to say “When we kicked Syria out of Lebanon”?

    If this kind of miss-statement is newsworthy then Gov. Palin’s statement that, “It is a crisis. It’s a toxic mess, really, on Main Street that’s affecting Wall Street,” should be reported on also don’t you think?

  66. If someone interviewing for a job at my company used Palin’s rhetorical duck-the-question tactics, I would flush them immediately from the schedule to avoid wasting the time of my coworkers.

  67. Biden looked and sounded like he could be President.
    Palin looked and sounded like she could be PTA President.

    He had facts, she had talking points.
    He could talk on anything, she could talk from her notes.

    His expectations: don’t kill her and don’t sound condescending. Check.
    Her expectations: don’t trip on your shoes or sound like the last two Katie Couric interviews. Check.

  68. Jerry Critter @60: I do not see how the fact that Article II says that the Vice President is elected together with the President makes him part of the executive branch. As others have pointed out, Article II says that the executive power resides in the President (only). To be sure, the VP has a connection with the executive branch, since he will in some circumstances succeed to the headship of it. He also has a connection with the legislative branch, since he presides in Senate. I don’t think this, in itself, makes him part of either.

    Biden clearly seems wrong to say that the article dealing with the executive (its number doesn’t really matter, I think) defines the role of the VP. It only states how he is elected.

    This is not in any way to support the weird spin that Cheney has put on this. As I understand it, he claims the VP, because he is not part of the executive, is not subject to the kind of scrutiny to which the executive is normally subject. But as far as I can see, since his only constitutional power is to preside in Senate, when he does anything else he is performing functions assigned him by the President, and so is acting as part of the executive branch, whatever the Constitution says, and is subject to scrutiny in the same way as anyone else.

  69. A confession:

    I hate politics. Throughout my life I’ve done my best to ignore it, because I thought to myself, it just doesn’t matter who’s the leader, because they’re all the same.

    That is an idiotic position. That is the position of a person who has a seriously bad case of learned helplessness and a lazy acceptance of “they’re all the same.” They’re only the same if you don’t bother to listen to them, and if you don’t know about the issues (which I ignored largely because they were boring and “didn’t affect me”) then you can’t tell the difference.

    At least I couldn’t. Perhaps I’m just extra dumb.

    But in the end, I couldn’t ignore politics anymore. Like it or not, the goobs up on Capital Hill *did* make a difference. And like it or not, when you look at individual senators and representatives, they are *not* all the same. They only looked the same to me when I wanted to be lazy and cynical about the world. And the idea of “if something bad happens, it’s definitely not because I was inactive, it’s because no matter who it is, the same things would happen” faded away.

    Replaced, granted, with the knowledge that I was a fucking idiot, but there you go.

    And now to me it’s important to know what’s going on, so, along with finally reading up on politics and issues for the first time in my life, I watched the debates for the first time in my life. And yes. Joe put me to sleep in the first half hour—but then he really poured on the fire. Yes, Sarah Palin managed to put in a good folksy appearance, but that grated more and more through the debate. And I mean grate.

    In the end, life isn’t a movie. We can’t just shut off part of it because it’s turned grisly when Wall Street melted. We can’t just tune out a presidency that’s running itself into the ground. That is an ignorant position that only ignoramuses would be proud of espousing as an “insight”.

    And for many years, I was an ignoramus.

    I hope not to be anymore—although I know some will point out to me that I’m hopeless at this because I *am* an idiot and no amount of studying’s going to change that, but you know, never know ’till you try.

  70. On ‘nucular’ you might look at this.

    http://people.ischool.berkeley.edu/~nunberg/nucular.html

    Nunberg quotes a weapons specialist as saying ‘We only say nucular when referring to nukes’ – in talking about ‘the nuclear family’ or whatever they would pronounce it as spelt.

    It’s clear that not everyone who says ‘nucular’ does so because they can’t say ‘nuclear'; some people say it that way because they think it is right. If enough people think like this, then there comes a point when, in their dialect, is is right. Certainly it was an error to start with, and a rather odd one. But many features of standard English began as errors; this is just something we have to live with.

    Having now, in one thread, criticised Biden and defended Palin, I begin to fear for my sanity.

  71. Tina Fey won. She got enough material from the debate to mine from now until Election Day, which is good ’cause I think this is the last time Governor Palin will appear before a non-Fox News moderator.

  72. @Jon S #66

    Palin’s flag pin has been that huge one since about a week after her nomination. I’ve been waiting for the ads about how much more patriotic she is than everyone else to start for weeks now.

    re: the Constitution
    If I were extemporaneously explaining the Constitution and the vice president, it’d probably be article 1 that I mentioned first too, since that’s the only place he’s given any role besides succeeding to the presidency. Also, the way I was taught back in the day was that the VP’s tie-breaking vote was considered one of the checks&balances of the executive over the legislative branch.

    Overall, I just got sick of the repetitiveness of Palin’s answers. Maverick this, maverick that, shut up.

  73. @79 – Jericho. If you look at their base premise there’s really little difference between the two candidates. I do believe that these two candidates (Obama and McCain) will govern differently and will have different talking points, but at their base level they have very similar concepts about an individual citizen’s role in participation with the US government. Both men are calling on the citizens of this country to give more of themselves than they already do. Now, this is the prevailing moral premise of our society at the moment (that it is far better to give, and give, and give, because only the morally corrupt are motivated by self-interest and it is their actions that have led to every crisis we face today), so I don’t expect anyone to disagree with them.

    Culturally, the west now sees altruism and selflessness as the highest moral state of being. Self sacrifice for your fellow man is the greatest calling. How often has service to country or community been exonerated in this contest? From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need. This, at its very base is the calling of each candidate.

    So forgive me for sounding lazy and idiotic, but I really don’t see much difference between these two candidates. And I’ve looked, very closely.

  74. Cassie@74: I agree she was just being evasive at great length, even though some bloggers are taking the opposite view that she didn’t know the term Achilles’ heel. Nonetheless I think she’s a dangerous loon, and even if she weren’t, it was incredibly foolhardy for McCain to have selected her while she’s under suspicion in an abuse-of-power scandal (i.e., the “troopergate” investigation, instigated months ago by a bipartisan committee of the state legislature, which McCain has tried to quash.)

  75. Another Andrew @ 78
    “I do not see how the fact that Article II says that the Vice President is elected together with the President makes him part of the executive branch.”

    That is precisely why Article II makes the vice president part of the executive branch. Article II is all about the executive branch, just like Article I is all about the legislative branch and explains how its members are elected.

  76. #57 (Skip): Panders to the moonbat left, but there’s really not much there.

    In the future, please move sentences like this to the beginning of your posts, so we can better assess whether the rest is worth wading through. Other tip-offs, like all caps or multiple exclamation points, are also appreciated.

    #74 (Cassie): I thought the Achilles’ heel question was a gotcha question that she wisely did not answer.

    That’s not a gotcha. “What’s your biggest weakness” is a staple in job interviews. A savvy candidate can reply with something like, “People say I work too hard” or the like. And if knowing the meaning of “Achilles’ heel” is a gotcha, then we’ve reached the point where asking the candidate to state their full name is a gotcha, too.

  77. Thoase who see a resemblence in the debating styles of various republican officeholders are not confused. Newt Gingritch has run the JV league of the republican party for quite a while and GOPAC teaches a strange mutation of “debate”.

    Repeat the question, babble nonsubstantive rhetoric while shifting the underlying framework of the answer to the closest talking point, state talking point forcefully and behave as though the question was really answered.

    Please note also that the original format of the debate was changed to a version much friendlier to Palin at the insistance of the McCain campaign.

  78. Biden is probably the most gifted natural liar since Bill Clinton. Sure he sounds really sure of himself and he has all of those really cool facts; the problem is that he is making most of them up out of whole cloth. The best part was when he invited us all to katie’s diner, the one that closed twenty years ago. Not to mention his claim that Obama didn’t say he would meet with ahmed-in-a-dinner-jacket, even though Biden pointed it out after the debate and it is still on Barry’s web site; or his claim that every republican but McCain voted for the arms control treaty, except for the 49 who didn’t; or his long discredited claims of spending in Iraq compared to Afgahnistan which is only off by 2000%, or his claim that pakistani missles can reach Isreal ( unless he is divulging classified information and he might have been, current accepted range for their rockets is about 1,000 miles which would be about 1,000 miles short); or his memories of McCain voting with Obama when he didn’t. Add on the gaffes already discussed in this post and this is a seriously long list ( 24 by some counts). These aren’t just casual slips of the tongue. This is a clear pattern of someone who will say anything to avoid breaking the flow of his argument. How can anyone possibly praise this guy’s grasp of “issues” and “facts” with a straight face?

    Honestly, after he got caught stealing Neil Kinnock’s life story and claiming it as his own he should have been drummed out of public office for ever. The fact that you all are supporting him for VPOTUS is simply stunning.

    Obama might make a decent president, but picking Biden should have been a disqualifying event.

    Aren’t there even minimum standards anymore?

  79. Palin and McCain don’t differentiate themselves from their competition.

    We never hear, “We don’t think that the Federal government should be involved in education; that power isn’t among those enumerated in the Constitution,” or “it isn’t fair to take half of someone’s money just because he makes more than some arbitrary amount,” or “we want rich people to invest and spend their money, because that’s how businesses get built and people get hired.” They’re trying to take Reagan’s mantle without talking or acting like Reagan.

    As a result, both tickets sound the same: some smoother than others, each providing slight advantages to one group of citizens vs another, both distorting the truth to make minor differences sound like major ones.

    Maybe someday a major party will put forth conservative candidates. Until then, I’m going to have to write in somebody.

  80. I think my favorite part of the debate was when I was watching commentary afterward on MSNBC, and someone in the crowd behind Chris Matthews had a “Tiny Fey 08″ sign.

    The folksy crap is so condescending. I love Biden. I have loved Biden since the primaries though. With that bias, I will say that he seemed far more professional. I am really tired of people voting for “joe six pack.” Like someone else said, I want someone SMARTER THAN ME for President. Not some yahoo.

  81. JPR@75,
    You ask if Joe Biden meant to say, “when we kicked Syria out of Lebanon”, and not Hezbollah. How can it make more sense if you substitute Syria? France and the U.S. never kicked Syria out of Lebanon. The rest of his quote about NATO only makes sense in the context of the Israel/Hezbollah conflict, no one was calling for NATO to step in when the Lebanese government asked Syria to back off. For that matter, Joe Biden and Barack Obama were not calling for NATO to step in and patrol the Israeli/Lebanese border, and it would have been stunning news if they had been.
    Biden was clearly making stuff up, but because he sounds “senatorial” no one called him on it.

  82. Drew: “Biden is probably the most gifted natural liar since Bill Clinton. ”

    …You’re saying this after the way the McCain campaign’s been behaving?? Or do you just mean that Biden is better at lying that McCain and Palin?

  83. JPR @75

    Do you think that Sen Biden believes that we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon and then allowed them to come right back (a literal reading) or do you think he miss-spoke and meant to say “When we kicked Syria out of Lebanon”?

    We didn’t do that either.

    Sure he sounds really sure of himself and he has all of those really cool facts; the problem is that he is making most of them up out of whole cloth.

    Well, there’s that. But again it doesn’t really matter except to those of us know he’s making it up.

    Most people assess these people as competent or not. Worthy of trust ot not. And they use filters other than facts because most just don’t know whether or not the claims are true and are not inclined to do the research. Most people just assume that whatever is said is a mixture of truth and “resume’ padding”. So that’s just a given.

  84. Jacob @92 and
    Frank @94

    Admittedly the phrase “kicking out” is misleading since it sounds violent, but the U.S. and France did sponsor U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 which called upon all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon. Syria withdrew the last of its troops from Lebanon in 2005, ending 29 years of operations in Lebanon. During the implementation of the resolution Israel was calling for a NATO peace keeping force to be deployed.

    Certainly, I don’t know if Obama or Biden were quoted anywhere calling for NATO forces and I don’t care enough to research it.

  85. Palin reminds me of a ventriloquist’s dummy with that hewn jawline of hers, but I think she was talking by herself last night. She was better at forming complete sentences than I’ve learned to expect, but her positions on most things still suck. About the only thing I agreed with her on is the need to get rid of greed and corruption in Washington. Let’s start with her running mate! Oh, and did I mishear, or did she boast about American “exceptionalism”? If so, another Freudian slip. Guess I’ll have to check the transcript.

    Biden was also better than I expected. I’d never heard him speak before and was pleasantly surprised.

  86. @Shawn #84:

    I do believe that these two candidates (Obama and McCain) will govern differently and will have different talking points

    And that’s the difference I care about. I do not really care about politicians copping moral values or proposing altruism blah blah. I care about what they will do. Words are wind (and yes, I’ve been reading too much George R.R. Martin lately). Action is what counts.

    On the other hand, I’ve been told I’m pretty amoral and even immoral, so there you go.

  87. When I watched the McCain/Obama debate, I was impressed with both candidates, though I side with Obama for his policies. But this debate was different. Biden outclassed Palin. Palin wasn’t answering the questions; she was evading and returning to memorized talking points and platitudes. McCain seems reasonably bright and knowledgeable, even if he is in my opinion wrongheaded on policy, but Palin is frightening in her incompetence. She strikes me as having no intellectual curiosity–no tendency to wonder about things or mull them over–she’s just got her memorized crap and she spits it out. I sent the Obama campaign a donation after she was nominated, and now I might just have to send them some more.

  88. JPR @95

    but the U.S. and France did sponsor U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559 which called upon all foreign forces to withdraw from Lebanon. Syria withdrew the last of its troops from Lebanon in 2005

    Yes, well we did sponsor 1559, that is true. It is also true that Syria promptly ignored it. As it ignored Security Council Resolutions 425 (1978) and 426 (1978), resolution 520 (1982), and resolution 1553 (2004).

    The Lebanese forced Syria out not the UN. Recall the Cedar Revolution (or Google it if it has slipped your mind).

    But Hezbollah never left. In fact, Resolution 1559 required Hezbollah to disarm or be disarmed (as did other Security Council Resolutions) and neither happened: Hezbollah continued to be armed, and in fact “armed-up” to an extent that surprised many during the Israeli-Hezbollah war. And where do you think they got these arms from?

  89. To those in horror by the wink and blown kiss — How did Obama’s crotch-stretching pose for the photographers grab you? Get real, they all play to the camera.

  90. Frank @ 99

    I am not really interested in debating the effectiveness of US policy in the middle east. I agree that the Lebanese forced the Syrians out, I believe that the political pressure being applied by the US and France (and Russia) helped. I agree that we never kicked Hezbollah out (or disarmed them). Recall we started conversing because I suggested that Biden likely meant to say “we kicked Syria out” instead of “we kicked Hezbollah out”.
    We disagree on whether the resolution had any effect, but we are getting far a field of the point. You said Biden was wrong/lying, I offered a plausible explanation of what he may have meant.

  91. JPR

    I am not really interested in debating the effectiveness of US policy in the middle east.

    I agree. The point was that Joe Biden, supposed Foreign Policy expert who made at least 4 factual errors regarding the Middle East in less than two minutes and pretty much hasn’t got called on it. This was just one of those instances.

    Had Sarah Palin, who is recognized by all as no foreign policy expert made just one of these errors, life would have been made very difficult, if not impossible, for her.

    And that’s just a fact.

    You said Biden was wrong/lying, I offered a plausible explanation of what he may have meant.

    He definitely was wrong, but I doubt he was lying. Lying would posit that he knew the facts and misrepresented them. I do not believe he knew the accurate facts.

    Your plausible explanation isn’t.

  92. There’s a difference between professional, polite speech and conversational speaking.

    If you are interviewing for a job (which is basically what a debate and a campaign are, in the end), you should not sound like an idiot. This means making sure you aren’t abusing the English language. And it means using professional standards. I’m fairly sure that if I were stumbling over phrases, fumbling with note cards, ignoring direct questions, and winking/giggling at a prospective interview, I wouldn’t get hired.

    I, personally, would like to know that the people representing me and making decisions that will impact my life have at least as much education as I do, and hopefully more. And that they are willing to use it.

    Since when did ‘elite’ not mean better than average? Why wouldn’t someone want the person running their country (or in a position to help run it and step in if there is a death/crisis) to be better than average, to be one of the elite.

    Elite

    1. A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status: “In addition to notions of social equality there was much emphasis on the role of elites and of heroes within them” (Times Literary Supplement).

    2. The best or most skilled members of a group: the football team’s elite.

    Would we send a non-elite athlete to represent us in the Olympics?

    I remain baffled by humans. I want the best of the best to help run my country.

  93. Frank : So no one got hurt, Palin has bee restored (and pounded yet another nail in the coffin of the Institutional Media) and it’s back to being a neck and neck race where it is up to the candidates to sell themselves.

    Are there some non “institutional media” sources that you’re using to get that data? I see a jump in all battleground states for Obama after the debate. I have no idea that “neck and neck” means to you, this looks like a potential landslide to me.

  94. Frank,
    It seems that we will be unable to agree. Feel free to mention the other three errors that you mentioned in your last post, maybe someone will want to discuss them with you.

    Had Sarah Palin, who is recognized by all as no foreign policy expert made just one of these errors, life would have been made very difficult, if not impossible, for her.
    Maybe, maybe not. She misspoke as well; as I pointed out in my first post she said (for example) that problems on “Main Street” are affecting Wall Street. I am not going to claim that this is evidence that she has only a cursory understanding of the financial crisis. What slips of the tongue have made “life… impossible” for her?

    Your plausible explanation isn’t.
    Bald assertions are fun. Let me try one: You’re wrong. Stating your opinion as fact doesn’t add anything to this conversation. Neither of us can know what Biden “knows”.

    He definitely was wrong, but I doubt he was lying. Lying would posit that he knew the facts and misrepresented them. I do not believe he knew the accurate facts.
    We have been discussing the statement that (to paraphrase) Biden called for NATO troops to be deployed to Lebanon after Hezbollah was kicked out by the US and France. I have posited that he meant to say Syria instead of Hezbollah. If he had said “Hezbollah will just return stronger” or that “NATO troops are needed to keep Hezbollah from returning”, I would agree that he didn’t know what he was talking about. Instead he talked of a power vacuum and the potential for Hezbollah to control “it.” It makes no sense to me to suggest that he was thinking of two different groups, especially when he had the French/US involvement, expulsion of a negative influence, and increase in power of Hezbollah correct.

    I suspect that you would find the statement, ‘Biden called for NATO troops to be deployed to Lebanon after Syria was kicked out by the US and France,” to be wrong. If this is the case we are unlikely to make any progress.

    Thanks for chatting with me on this issue, it was fun.

  95. Having started primary school in Fairbanks and now residing in Delaware, this election has some piquant interest to me.

    Joe stepped in it several times. Joe does that. A lot.

    His aides are always on “gaffe watch”.

    He’s nearly the poorest man in either chamber of Congress, from a working class background.

    He teaches Constitutional law. I helped a buddy format a paper [bright guy but can't format footnotes to save his life], for Biden’s Constitutional Law class at Weidner. My buddy earned an A even though he tore apart Biden’s own domestic violence statute, VAWA. This speaks to Biden’s fairness.

    I can’t remember if the last time I was with Joe was at a supermarket or having my picture taken with him onstage at a firehall.

    His brother Frank dated my cousin Nancy way back around 1980. Delaware — the “One Degree of Separation” State.

    Both sides in the debate demonstrated that to err is human.

    All that I saw [from excerpts] is that Joe continues to speak of himself in the third person and Palin’s a quick study who effectively positioned herself as a Beltway outsider, which will appeal to a large cross-section of the public.

    JJB

  96. @Jericho #98:

    On the other hand, I’ve been told I’m pretty amoral and even immoral, so there you go. Based on what goes for morality in this country today, I’d count that as a good thing.

  97. #90 Drew:Obama might make a decent president, but picking Biden should have been a disqualifying event.

    Aren’t there even minimum standards anymore?
    ———————————

    Guess not. Republicans really stooped under minimun standards.

  98. Obermann finally said tonight what I’ve been saying from the start; Palin is just George Bush in a dress.

  99. kcarlile @31 No, if you lose your note cards as president, you just do what Rummy or Cheney tells you. She’d do fine, just like Dubya…

    Arachne Jericho @80 Look at the bright side. You’re only about a week behind Sarah Palin on the learning curve. If she can bullshit her way through the election, so can you. Odds are you’ll continue to find the posturing of political campaigns irritating as hell, and you’ll find platform positions in all parties that strike you as plain crazy. But even if you’re completely cynical and think they’re all crooks, there is still value in voting those currently in power out of power, so that all the crooks get a fair share of the loot. Also, voting the other party into power is a good way to finally find out what the hell the first party was up to while they were in control. If there was anything bad going on, the opposition always has a good motivation to expose it. And then 8 years or so from now, the shoe will be on the other foot and it’s time to vote the second batch of clowns out of office.
    Bob @88: “What’s you’re biggest weakness?” is a staple of BAD job interviews. And saying something like “People say I work too hard.” is exactly what Palin was doing. She didn’t evade the question in the best possible way, but she was adequate. Unfortunately for her, she isn’t the only candidate available for the job.

  100. I think the most telling answer was when they were asked if they’d ever changed their opinions on policy. Biden said yes, and gave a good example.

    Palin missed the point entirely, and ranted about some stupid shit which she followed up with a comment about how SHE NEVER COMPROMISES NOT EVER NO, demonstrating she doesn’t know what a compromise is. When you “always seemed to find a way to work together” with people who all have different goals and affiliations, that’s generally a compromise situation. By my definition, anyway.

    I was also fairly moved by Biden effectively telling Palin to just shut the hell up about her family crap, by just mentioning his own stuggles in raising his family and not making a huge deal out of it. Youbetcha.

    This was a lot less angryish, but then WordPress swallowed my previous draft, so here it is, with Extra Irritation!

  101. “even though Biden pointed it out after the debate and it is still on Barry’s web site…”
    That’s a really strange tick I’ve noticed with some Republicans who dislike Obama–the fact that they insist on referring to him with a nickname he doesn’t use. Not “Senator Obama” or “Barack Obama” or just “Obama”–Barry. Drew, no one refers to him as “Barry”–no one has in decades–and you certainly don’t see liberal critics of Sen. McCain call him “Johnny Boy” or “Johnnie.”

    Sometimes I wonder about that tick, and whether it’s tied into a desire to deny Senator Obama the respect he’s entitled to, as the nominee of a major political party. I wonder what that disrespect might have its roots in. Drew, care to elaborate?

  102. All I ‘ve seen in your “institutional media”, Frank @ 62, is big pictures of Palin spashed across the front pages and permutations of “She didn’t screw up!” as a headline.

  103. @101: Sorry, I must’ve missed that. I went to Google to get the low-down, but unfortunately, the only return I received was:

    “Your search – Obama’s crotch-stretching pose for the photographers – did not match any documents.”

    I don’t doubt that every personality who stands to gain from televised notoriety fails to play up to the camera in some fashion. I would expect to not need one of these to keep track of the number of instances of said play in the course of ninety minutes, however.

  104. Greg @113: Probably from the same place that makes people call George Bush “Chimpy McHitler” or Mike Huckabee “Huckleberry”.

    While I don’t care for either “Barry” or “Huckleberry” — the last thing we need is a further decline in our discourse — the constant accusations of racism annoy the hell out of me. Especially when they’re made by people who have the same political beliefs as, say, Ted Rall and Jeff Danziger.

  105. Jake, if you were hoping for a lack of decline in our discourse, failing GOP ticket is probably not going to produce it. GOP attack ads are revving up, Palin is trying to create an Obama=Terrorist image, and Corsi’s book is coming out.

    Expect Swift Boat v.20. Apparently, McCain is only intolerant of whisper campaigns when they’re directed at him by fellow Republicans.

  106. JPR @106

    It seems that we will be unable to agree. Feel free to mention the other three errors that you

    mentioned in your last post, maybe someone will want to discuss them with you.

    Well, Biden said that after we kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon (in his alternate universe) he claimed he and Obama told everyone to “‘Move NATO forces in there. Fill the vacuum”. Now when I heard this I assumed he was thinking about the war between Israel and Hezbollah in the Summer of 2006 (which Israel did not win and did not result in kicking Hezbollah out of Israel). And the discussion at the time centered around beefing up UNIFIL to monitor the cease-fire, and fill the “security gap”, NATO has never been on the table for peace-keeping missions in Lebanon. And it is for sure that neither Biden nor Obama suggested such a thing.

    Then there was the statement that Pakistan had missiles with enough range to reach Israel. He said

    “Pakistan already has nuclear weapons. Pakistan already has deployed nuclear weapons.

    Pakistan’s weapons can already hit Israel and the Mediterranean.”

    The distance from Pakistan to Israel is about 3500 kilometers. The longest range strategic nuclear-capable missile that Pakistan has has a range of 1000 km. Even if you consider their longest range missile that is not nuclear-capable it still falls short at 3000 km.

    And finally, Biden the foreign policy expert confused Gaza and the West Bank

    Here’s what the president said when we said no. He insisted on elections on the West Bank, when I said, and others said, and Barack Obama said, “Big mistake. Hamas will win. You’ll legitimize them.” What happened? Hamas won.

    Now there’s two things about this: First, of course, it was Gaza that held elections in which Hamas won not the West Bank and second; neither Biden nor Obama opposed these elections as Biden claimed.

    Stating your opinion as fact doesn’t add anything to this conversation. Neither of us can know what Biden “knows”.

    My point is that none of your attempts to cover for Biden are plausible. Sure none of us know what Biden knows, but saying that the US and France kicked Hezbollah out of Lebanon is an enormous error. Nothing even remotely like it has occurred. So I have no idea what he was thinking.

    I suspect that you would find the statement, ‘Biden called for NATO troops to be deployed to Lebanon after Syria was kicked out by the US and France,” to be wrong.

    Again, neither Biden nor Obama ever called for NATO to take up a peacekeeping position in Lebanon. I could be wrong, but you would have to provide some evidence that they did because I can’t find any.

    And he seems to have forgotten that UNIFIL is the UN authorized peacekeeping force in Lebanon, as ineffective as they are.

  107. I think Biden clearly won the issues in the debate. He was polished, professional, knowledgeable and showed his experience with the issues. He did a great job of representing Obama’s perspective and talking points, and of linking McCain and Bush.

    However, from my point of view Palin clearly won the “slamfest” most VP debates turn into. She did a great job of hitting back anytime Biden made a point she did not agree with, or that she had been prepped for. It showed that she was less prepared to discuss voting records, etc., but that she was cocked and locked for policy differences between Joe Biden presidential candidate and Joe Biden VP nominee. Especially where Biden clashed with Obama so publicly just a few months ago.

    The end result (IMHO) is that Palin did a good job of preserving her options on the national stage, and may even have helped McCain because expectations for her were so low. Biden on the other hand delivered what was expected. It’s sort of like Manny Riviera scoring a save against a triple A team – it ought to be a foregone conclusion that he would win. As a result I’d be surprised if Obama got a bounce out of the debate.

  108. @ Bozo the Clone #111
    Look at the bright side. You’re only about a week behind Sarah Palin on the learning curve. If she can bullshit her way through the election, so can you.

    … that was rather insulting.

  109. the GOP wouldn’t dare schedule any more unscripted air time for Palin, this would give people more time to realize that she’s totally clueless… the prospect of her becoming the Commander in Chief is frightening

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