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Palin and Other Things That Annoyed Me About the Vice-Presidential Debate

New America Media, Commentary, Jasmyne A. Cannick Posted: Oct 03, 2008

LOS ANGELES -- Full disclosure: I am not in love with either candidate running for president, not even the one I am voting for on November 4, Democratic Senator Barack Obama. I sat down a bit too early to watch tonights vice-presidential debate I think. Because shortly after turning on a network that shall remain anonymous, I was immediately annoyed with their talking heads and their lame ass attempts at trying to forecast Americas reaction to the debate. So by the time the debate got underway, I was already in a bad mood. But like tonights debate moderator Gwen Ifill, I too can be objective and unbiased.

As far as the vice-presidential candidates go, when the debate started, they both were on even ground as far as I was concerned (please refer to my opening sentence). But it didnt take too long before I was shouting obscenities at the my television, leaving my neighbors to wonder what the hell was wrong with me.

There were three debates going on tonight. The one Gwen Ifill was moderating and the one both Senator Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin came to participate in.

I wish that for just once, when I take time out of my day, a day that is busy from the moment I wipe the crust out of my eyes to the minute I fall asleep at my desk and my snoring wakes me up, that when the candidates come together to debate each other and the moderator asks them a questionthey just answered it. I know, a novel idea.

For example:

IFILL: You both would like to be vice president.

Sen. Biden, how, as vice president, would you work to shrink this gap of polarization which has sprung up in Washington, which you both have spoken about here tonight?.

BIDEN: Yes, well, you know, until two weeks ago -- it was two Mondays ago John McCain said at 9 o'clock in the morning that the fundamentals of the economy were strong. Two weeks before that, he said George -- we've made great economic progress under George Bush's policies.

Nine o'clock, the economy was strong. Eleven o'clock that same day, two Mondays ago, John McCain said that we have an economic crisis.

That doesn't make John McCain a bad guy, but it does point out he's out of touch. Those folks on the sidelines knew that two months ago.

IFILL: Gov. Palin, you may respond.

PALIN: Now, Barack Obama, of course, he's pretty much only voted along his party lines. In fact, 96 percent of his votes have been solely along party line, not having that proof for the American people to know that his commitment, too, is, you know, put the partisanship, put the special interests aside, and get down to getting business done for the people of America

I think that's why we need to send the maverick from the Senate and put him in the White House, and I'm happy to join him there.

IFILL: Governor, Senator, neither of you really answered that last question about what you would do as vice president. I'm going to come back to that...

And all I said was, is that your final answer?

I also cant say I was feeling all of the hometown shout outs either being given by Governor Sarah Palin as she struggled to dance around the questions posed to her. At one point I yelled, would you just answer the fill-in-the-blank question! Palins new campaign slogan should bewhen in doubt give a hometown shout out.

All I have to say is that if Palin can give shout outs, then the Obamas can give dapend of story.

And for the record, before I forgetneither candidate correctly pronounced the word nuclear.

But moving on

Its also very clear and apparent from Palins performance tonight that she is unable to answer any questionneither the ones posed by Ifill or the ones that Palin posed to herself to answerwithout reminding all of us that Senator John McCain is a maverick and shes a maverick and together theyre both mavericks.

For example:

IFILL: Gov. Palin, you may respond.

PALIN: Now, what I've done as a governor and as a mayor is (inaudible) I've had that track record of reform. And I've joined this team that is a team of mavericks with John McCain

I think that's why we need to send the maverick from the Senate and put him in the White House, and I'm happy to join him there.

IFILL: Has this administration's policy been an abject failure, as the senator says, Governor?

PALIN: That's what John McCain has been known for in all these years. He has been the maverick

IFILL: Governor.

PALIN: As for disagreeing with John McCain and how our administration would work, what do you expect? A team of mavericks

I think my debate WTF moment was the following exchange:

IFILL: Everybody gets extra credit tonight. We're going to move on to the next question. Governor, you said in July that someone would have to explain to you exactly what it is the vice president does every day. You, senator, said, you would not be vice president under any circumstances. Now maybe this was just what was going on at the time. But tell us now, looking forward, what it is you think the vice presidency is worth now.

PALIN: In my comment there, it was a lame attempt at a joke and yours was a lame attempt at a joke, too, I guess, because nobody got it. Of course we know what a vice president does.

BIDEN: They didn't get yours or mine? Which one didn't they get?

YeahummmPalin, might want to slow her roll (thats folksy talk from my hood).

I think we can all agree that only time we got a straightforward answer from both candidates was regarding the gays. It doesnt get much clearer than this:

IFILL: Let's try to avoid nuance, Senator. Do you support gay marriage?

BIDEN: No. Barack Obama nor I support redefining from a civil side what constitutes marriage. We do not support that. That is basically the decision to be able to be able to be left to faiths and people who practice their faiths the determination what you call it.

The bottom line though is, and I'm glad to hear the governor, I take her at her word, obviously, that she think there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple. If that's the case, we really don't have a difference.

IFILL: Is that what you said?

PALIN: Your question to him was whether he supported gay marriage and my answer is the same as his and it is that I do not.

IFILL: Wonderful. You agree. On that note, let's move to foreign policy.

And like with Senator Hillary Clinton, I am sure the gay mafia -- whose sole focus in life seems to be gay marriage -- will go into spin mode around this to justify why theyre still supporting either candidate be it Biden or Palin. Now gay marriage is not my top issue, its not even in my top ten issues for the 08 Presidential Race, but for the folks in the gay mafia whose sole purpose it is in life is to make gay marriage legal, its kind of hard to justify their support of either candidate with answers like we heard tonight.

Unfortunately, I am not voting on folksiness of either candidate, so in the end, I gotta give it to Senator Joe Biden. While he wasnt that much better than Governor Sarah Palin in terms of answering a question straightforwardhes got the fact that he made better use of the English language, didnt tout his running mate more than himself (after all this was the VP debate), and quite frankly spoke like he knew what he was talking about. I mean even if he didnt, which I doubt given his experience, it was clear that Sarah When In Doubt Give A Hometown Shout Out Palin was like a fish out of wateror in her case, a hockey puck on a tennis court.

At 30, Jasmyne Cannick is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the worlds of pop culture, race, class, sexuality, and politics as it relates to the African-American community. A regular contributor to NPRs News and Notes, she was chosen as one Essence Magazines 25 Women Shaping the World. She can be reached at www.jasmynecannick.com or www.myspace.com/jasmynecannick.

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