The Palin-Biden debate and the poverty of low expectations
Posted October 3rd, 2008 by vpdebate
Well, I have just finished watching the vice-presidential debate - and I must admit I feel a bit cheated. I didn’t tune in because I was hoping for enlightenment. I wanted car-crash television: gaffes galore, the implosion of Sarah Palin, something weird from Joe Biden. But judged by those standards the debate was a huge disappointment. Palin was, of course, profoundly unimpressive. But she didn’t mess up - she even managed to say “Ahmadinejad”, without stumbling or hesitating. And Biden also avoided any of his trademark gaffes.
The fact that both candidates will be judged to have done OK is - I think - a sorry commentary on how low expectations have sunk. Because by any reasonable standard, it was a pretty sorry performance. Neither candidate even came close to answering the first question, on whether the House of Representatives had been right to reject the bail-out bill. At that point, I longed for the moderator to jump right in and do a Jeremy Paxman - and insist, preferably with a sneer, that they actually answer the question. But no such luck.