A Slice of Life
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commentary on issues in politics, culture, environment and technology
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04 Oct 08 Who won the debate?

lipstick on a pigSeveral commentators have stated that Sarah Palin won the vice presidential debate simply because she exceeded expectations. While Palin may not have committed anything like the excruciating gaffes she made in the interview with CBS’s Katie Couric, her performance was anything but convincing. Others have said Palin won by being more ‘likeable’. While her folksy language and mannerisms might endear her to some, anyone who can muster a few thoughts would surely dismiss her posturings as nothing more than cheap populism.

Palin managed to avoid making more monumental bluders with a novel strategy; she simply avoided the issues, and the questions in favour of well rehearsed campaign rhetoric. Joe Biden came across as approachable, human and credible. His detailed answers on foreign, domestic and economic policy gave a firm impression of an experienced statesman who knows what he is talking about and knows what he is doing.

Biden has a right to feel aggrieved by analysis which awards a win in the debate to Palin just because she made few mistakes. His was a solid and credible performance. Palin’s performance did little to change the perception that she has recently established: she is a political airhead.

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16 Sep 08 Palin: a very ordinary person

lipstick on a pig Apparently Sarah Palin has attracted a great deal of support because people identify with her; because she appears to be an ordinary person, “just like you and me”. The truth is, successful politicians are not ordinary people. They have highly specialised skills, knowledge and experience. Such qualities are kind of necessary when managing a national economy or facing a potential global crisis. Anyone who disagrees with this should consider running for office.

In response to questions on Palin’s foreign policy credentials, supporters have said that she must have a good grasp of foreign policy as Alaska is close to Russia. Perhaps she also has a strong grasp of space policy; Mount McKinley is in Alaska and quite close to space.

The New York Times called her “a tyrannical woman who pursues vendettas and fires people who cross her.” She made an ex schoolmate director of the State Division of Agriculture after citing her childhood love of cows as a qualification for the job. She has also had her office ring to berrate bloggers who posted material that offended her. Perhaps I’d better be careful as to what I say about her. No matter what your opinion of Palin’s ‘pro choice’ pro NRA evangelism might be you’d have to admit her leadership credentials are a bit shaky.

The U.S. and the world now faces an economic crisis, possibly of the dimensions of the great depression. A McCain/Palin adminstration would only continue the distastrous economic policies put in place by George Bush. Ill advised tax cuts, a highly expensive war and mounting levels of private and national debt have brought about the current crisis. China is one of America’s largest creditors and seems set to become the new global super power.

Now is surely not the time to elect an ‘ordinary person’ with little economic or foreign policy experience. Only an extraordinary leader has any chance of dealing with the challenges which loom on the horizon.

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