Palin’s Other Big Blunder

To be honest, I didn’t think about it this way until I popped over to C&L, but now that I’ve had another opportunity to go back and look at what many are calling the moment of the night from a slightly different perspective, I think that could end up also being one of Palin’s big blunders.

The moment of course was when Biden recalled the fateful car accident so many years ago when he lost his first wife and his daughter.  He got choked up, and here at comments we all kind of had to stop a moment to digest it in our liveblogging.  It was a powerful moment, and I have to admit to not paying much attention to Palin’s response directly after that.  For this moment, I have to turn it over to Silent Patriot over at C&L:

Biden’s most powerful, personal moment was quickly followed by what Palin did best all night: repeat mindless, boilerplate talking points, never deviating from the script prepared for her.

Markos puts it perfectly:

It was a poignant moment, made all the much more so by Palin’s callous response. As GreenSooner wrote in the comments:

She didn’t have a prepared reaction

…so she was trying to figure out which talking point was the easiest pivot from “opponent shows deep emotion over family tragedy.”

She pulled the string, and out came an answer about McCain being a maverick. Classless, and completely out of place in what was a somber movement. She could’ve shown some empathy, maybe even talked about the difficulties of raising her own family. Instead, she resorted to talking points.


At C&L, their clip of the moment includes the opening seconds of Palin’s response, and they’re one hundred percent right; Palin doesn’t even acknowledge that Biden just went through a very personal and very moving moment.  Instead she just turns on the high beams and runs straight into one of six mentions of the word “maverick.” 

I don’t know how this played with the voters, but as I see this up close and in context, it strikes me as incredibly callous or even shallow–Palin couldn’t have been worse if she prefaced her response with, “Yeah, whatever.”

Which reminds me of the 2004 Vice Presidential debate.  John Edwards had made some remarks about how the vice president and his wife loved their homosexual daughter no more or less than any parent would.  It was a touching moment, and perhaps in the only real human expression I’ve ever seen from Dick Cheney, he responded quietly, “I want to thank you for the kind words you said about me and my family.”

Cheney didn’t even take a crack at the question.

I’ve watched a lot of debates, and that right there struck me as perhaps one of the most important moments in any of them, and this from a man I consider to be as close to true evil as can be.

Palin couldn’t even show that much humanity.

3 Responses to “Palin’s Other Big Blunder”

  1. Kathy says:

    …I think that could end up also being one of Palin’s big blunders.

    It should be, because it speaks to her character, just as Biden’s unscripted emotion speaks to his.

  2. Craig says:

    I don’t doubt Joe’s real emotion during that answer, but I have to wonder just how many “progressive” websites would have snarked about any similar personal moment that Palin might have exhibited as a callous political ploy and some calculated crocodile tears.

    So while people are assuming the state of the heart of Palin with their analysis, how about considering this: She and Joe had a lengthy conversation on stage after the debate, with their families around them. It is entirely possible that she expressed her sympathies to him at that time, on a more personal level than on a political one.

    To me, if I could talk about actual content for a moment, I saw the debate as Palin moving the republican momentum close to the convention speech level, with one exception. I think it re-energized the base regarding their feelings about her value to the ticket, but the undecideds and independants may now be less inclined to be curious or interested in her, since they were probably looking to see if she had advanced in her ability to show command of issues. She still seems to rely on very broad rhetoric, rather than Biden’s more specific rhetoric (if I can categorize it that way). That was most glaringly obvious during the foreign policy section (which Biden should be best in anyway, although he made some errors). That lack of slick rhetoric talk that Washington politicians have in speaking on topics on a national/global level will hurt her with that group, when its time to assess who can talk the right talk to reassure the public that they have the assumed competence to make things work on a national level.

  3. Kathy says:


    Also consider the possibility that independents and other Americans are turned off by Palin’s support for a U.S. military policy in Iraq that is exactly the opposite of what overwhelming percentages of Americans want. Americans don’t want to hear Palin say that the U.S. is going to stay in Iraq indefinitely with no timeline for withdrawal.

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