You know how before a tidal wave, all the water goes out to sea? It’s bizarre and frightening and tells you that something really, really bad is about to happen. That’s how this morning feels to me. There’s _nothing_ happening. I don’t mean to be flip as, of course, the entire world’s financial markets are in major crisis. But politically, there’s nothing happening. Yes, polls came out yesterday showing Obama up in swing states. Yes, McCain is playing dirty. Yes, Palin’s doodles are out. But this morning, there’s nada afoot. And why is that? Because the debate is on tonight. Or quasi debate. The town hall, the side by side press conference, the Presidential play date (to quote Brian Williams’ wife) is on tonight. Here are the details:
When: October 7, 2008 (that would be today) 9 pm Eastern
Where: Belmont University, Nashville, TN
Moderator: Tom Brokaw
Format: Town Meeting
- Questions have been submitted in advance. Audience members may not vary from the approved questions. Neither audience members nor moderator may ask follow up questions.
The moderator in this one seems like a ceremonial post to me. What are your thoughts? Will it get ugly? Will McCain find a way to bring up Ayers? Will Obama bring up Keating?
Courtesy of The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber, we have some of Sarah Palin’s doodles. These were done in 1996 on the back of an old Wasilla city budget.
The question, of course, is what this says about Gov. Palin. Everyone seems to have their own opinion. Here’s the breakdown from TNR:
… on the back of which Palin doodled and brainstormed her potential mayoral campaign themes (“time for a change,” “you would be my boss!”) and qualifications (“life-long alaskan,” “NRA supporter,” “taxpayer!”). Read the fine print on this 1996 document; it’s a fascinating glimpse into how she thought she could best present herself to the Wasilla electorate.
BAGnewsNotes draws an interesting line between these doodles and the VP debate:
If you notice, the passage not only relates to City Hall business, but specifically to the budget. I’d be willing to bet — if a transcript could be found from that City Council meeting — that Palin spoke these three complete sentences out loud to the council after writing them down for herself. Supporting the assumption, notice how Palin actually encloses the sentences in quotation marks; adds guidelines for emphasis with underlines and exclamation marks; adopts a rhetorical confrontational tone; and also ends with emphatic punch.
Now, compare the strategy suggested by this twelve-year-old sample with how Palin dealt with the Biden debate.
Given how Palin was eagerly writing almost every moment she wasn’t speaking; and given that she and Biden were allowed pen and paper but weren’t allowed to bring pre-written notes; and given that most of her responses also ended with an emphatic punch (or a “zinger,” as she called it); and also given that throughout the transcript of the V.P. debate, you can see instances where Palin sounds more coherent for a sentence or two before descending back into disjointed fragments or sentences without clear beginnings, middles or ends, it seems reasonable to assume that Palin — having some kind of confidence problem, perhaps — approaches most extemporaneous speaking by either a.) avoiding it altogether, b.) having everything written out in advance, or c.) relying on rote memory, and scripting as much as possible on-the-spot.
What’s your opinion?