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Biden VS Palin

I work as a telemarketer for the University of Minnesota Foundation. I didn't work Thursday, but I got a text message from a co-worker that said they were let out early because of the debates. It's not that our boss just wanted us to watch them, it was just that the majority of people answering the phone were saying they weren't interested in talking because they were too busy watching the debates. I'm mentioning this because I worked during the first Obama-McCain debate, and I only had a few people on the phone who mentioned they were busy watching. We did not get to go home early that night, nor or we expected to get to go home early tomorrow night. Obviously, people were excited for this one more than they were the others, and while that might seems a tad upsetting, it's not everyday politics gets a character (and I use that word purposely) like Sarah Palin.

The New York Times had a wrap up of the debates immediately after, choosing to highlight the different mannerisms that each used to convey their messages. Palins "aw shucks" demeanor seemed to get the most attention over her content (as I said, she's a character, not a politician) and as disappointing as it is to say, it worked pretty well. I've never hid my discomfort with Palin, but I could not help but chuckling at some of the goofy stunts she pulled. The "Say it ain't so Joe" forced a quick grin out of me, and even the winking didn't upset me as much as it should have. Is it possible to dislike a woman who stands against most things I believe in while also secretly finding her earnestly amusing? I become afraid to think that if these quirks are even seeping into my perception of her, what are they doing to the undecided voters that the media insists are everywhere? That's kind of what this article from the NY Times addresses...Biden schooled Palin where it counted. No one on the message board is saying the debates made them decided on McCain, but more than a few said they knew 100 percent they were voting Obama. She survived, better than expected, but she didn't really excel either. And maybe any secret joy I get from Palin just has to do with Tina Fey. I'm beginning to scare myself.

I, like so many mid-westerners, like to complain about L.A. being shallow and vapid, so I checked out the LA Times to see if their coverage skewed at all towards celebrity journalism. Instead I found a pretty interesting article that attacked the news networks for the coverage of the debates. It mentions how most pundits set the bar so low for Sarah Palin, that it was insulting to the public watching. What I mean by this is how when the smoke cleared, the media acted as if Palin had won merely because she survived. Biden was still the one who actually stayed on the subjects that were asked of them. Palin strayed and avoided topics. It was clear to see. But because she was the star attraction and because we had all expected so little, it was almost like she had pulled off a win simply because she didn't pull anything near Katie Couric levels of catastrophe. Personally, I kept flipping around to channels hoping to find someone who wasn't pissing me off, but all anyone could talk about was how well Palin did "all things considered." As the article says, "In the end, perhaps the most memorable aspect of the debate was the look of confusion on the face of the network commentators after the debate they had spent days rattling on about failed to materialize." They were clearly disappointed she didn't embarrass herself, but at the same time, they still gave her to much credit. Maybe I'm naive thinking Palin wouldn't want to be handled with kid gloves because she's a woman, but geez, I wish it was that easy for me to appease my professors and parents.

Finally, I went for an international perspective at BBC. I don't exactly view the UK as impartial when it comes to reporting any type of world news like some claim they are, but I have to admit it was nice to read an article that recapped the debates in a way that was nearly free of editorializing or one that didn't spend 90 percent of the words focused on how all eyes were all Palin. This is what I would have liked to read had I not actually seen the debate myself. Quotes are clear, facts are checked, and issues are mentioned in depth. It may not be that much fun, but it's calm and collected, which no one seems to be able to be anymore now that the election resembles a three ring circus more than it does "politics as usual." I'm kind of sad there isn't another VP debate, one that could be more focused on what actually happened rather than on how everyone was holding their breath. Still I liked it better than in 2004 when I was shocked to see that Edward's charm could somehow be defeated by evil incarnate.