Thursday, October 2, 2008
Biden v. Palin: Who won?
Spent another fun evening watching the debate with Montana State students. A couple of points:
1. Students thought, overwhelmingly, that Biden did a better job and won.
2. Of the three undecided voters in the room, two thought Palin had won and one called the debate a tie.
3. I asked students to write tomorrow's headline and consensus was "Palin holds her own in the debate."
4. I then asked if this was the headline, didn't Palin win?
Tonight on MSNBC I see a story that says, "Analysis: Palin tops debate expectations".
Perceptions matter, and if Palin held her own and that's the story, then perhaps she "won" the debate--if not on points--then on general perceptions.
Nevertheless, the students felt--and I agree--that the debate was not a game changer. And given that Obama is moving ahead at this point, this hurts McCain.
One thing I didn't mention during our conversation was the whole exchange concerning Cheney's conception of the Vice Presidency--as an Article I office and not an Article II office. Essentially, Palin--while not directly answering the question--suggested that she wants the Vice Presidency to have even more power. Biden indicated that Cheney was the worst Vice President in history and Cheney's conception of the office as an Article I office is patently wrong.
I thought Palin's answer curious. Certainly, it spoke to the base. But I'm not too sure it was a good answer for independents or wavering Democrats.
I must admit, I'm not too excited listening to partisans on TV "analyzing" who won or lost the debate. We KNOW what they are going to say...(Chris Matthews to Bill Richardson, "Who do you think won the debate". Bill Richardson: "Joe Biden". DUH! Big surprise).
Again, I was very impressed with the care and thought the students put into analyzing and thinking about the debate. Bravo! You will all become social scientists yet!