Texas Liberal

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Biden-Palin Debate Summary—I Did Not Watch A Minute Of The Debate

Due to other obligations, I was not home for the debate last night between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin. I have it recorded, but I don’t think I’ll watch it. That would be 90 minutes of my life I’d be unable to get back.

I got home last night around midnight and saw some headlines online suggesting the debate had been pretty much a draw. Though some focus groups felt Senator Biden had done better. The two print newspapers I get each morning also said both candidates had done well enough and that no knock-out punch had been delivered.  

That tells me pretty much what I need to know. A great thing about live TV is that you can’t be sure one of the candidates won’t walk over the other and unload a kick in the shin. Once you realize that nothing like that took place, it all seems a bit less interesting.

I’ve written before that I make a point to spend only so much time following the Presidential campaign. It is not an edifying process. You’d be better off reading a good book of American political  history such as America’s Three Regimes–A New Political History by Morton Keller. Reading a book of political history provides more context about what is taking place now in politics than yet another tracking poll or debates over lipstick.

If the debate between Vice Presidential candidates has made you wonder about the history of the office and the people who have served as Vice President, the U.S. Senate has an excellent web home for the Vice Presidency. There is a history of the office and strong profiles of each of our Vice Presidents.

Above is Vice President Thomas Marshall of Indiana who served as Vice President under Woodrow Wilson between 1913 and 1921. Vice President Marshall was kept out of the loop after President Wilson had his stroke.

October 3, 2008 - Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, History, Political History, Politics | , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Your take on whether you need to relinquish 90 minutes of your life to watch the debate tape is the correct one. You do indeed, from the comments you’ve cited, know all you need to know on that one.

    Comment by Newton | October 3, 2008

  2. Very good. Thank you for you report.

    Comment by Neil Aquino | October 4, 2008

  3. I’m not much of a debate watcher but after reading the coverage, I got interested in the lack of really strong opinions. I ended up watching the whole thing on youtube. It was in some ways exactly what I expected,,, Palin had conquered her deer in the headlights problem and exceeded the very low expectations. But it was also interesting in how different I felt about it than the press coverage. It was a better debate than I expected, more real back and forth discussion. The most important difference though was that I thought Biden did great. He was much more real than the fakey slogans and winking emoticon facial expressions of Palin. And I thought he made some real, interesting and important points. Especially about what it means to be bipartisan. Biden got a couple of things wrong (the Executive Branch is article 2 of the Constitution not article 1) but overall I thought he was much more compelling and had much more persuasive, nuanced, complete and real answers. Despite being too heavily made up, I thought he came across as very smart, decent sense of humor, and fully human.

    Comment by kate | October 4, 2008

  4. I concur. Kate’s comments add an important perspective. I still don’t think, though, that you need to spend 90 minutes watching.

    Comment by Newton | October 4, 2008

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