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Killing Him With Kindness

October 3, 2008

Jeremy Lott has a great article in the Guardian highlighting key points of epic win:

US vice-presidential debates tend to be more interesting than presidential back and fourths. Many people remember Bob Dole’s crack about “Democrat Wars” in 1976, as Gerald Ford’s running mate. Who can recall even one word from his three debates with Bill Clinton 20 years later? Lloyd Bentsen caught Dan Quayle like a deer in the headlights in 1988 by stating the obvious (that he wasn’t a Kennedy). Dick Cheney’s two debates were case studies in how to calmly cut your opponent’s, er, knees off.

Sarah Palin showed on Thursday night that she has her own way of winning: kill him with kindness. From her opening line to Joe Biden – “Hey, can I call you Joe?” – to her brazen refusal to “answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear” to her groan-worthy zinger “Say it ain’t so, Joe,” she sounded upbeat, lyrical, and kinda Minnesotan, dontcha know.

She also sounded like a winner, which was vexing to many debate watchers, especially uptight liberal ones. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson confessed an hour into the exchange “I don’t know what anybody is making of this. I don’t even know what I’m making of it. This is the strangest debate I’ve ever seen.”

But it wasn’t so strange, really, to people who have been observing Palin for any length of time. She has bucked the odds in the past to win bruising elections with meagre resources. She is good at delivering vicious attacks in a way that doesn’t seem at all vicious until you take a step back to look at them.

Last night, Palin used Biden to bludgeon Obama like so: “You opposed the move he made to try to cut off funding for the troops and I respect you for that. I don’t know how you can defend that position now but I know that you know especially with your son in the National Guard and I have great respect for your family also and the honor that you show our military. Barack Obama though, another story there. Anyone I think who can cut off funding for the troops after promising not to is another story.”

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