Sarah “Platitudes” Palin

Did anyone keep track of how many questions went unanswered by Palin this evening? She ditched, dodged and distracted at every possible turn with a wink and nod. But don’t just take my word for it.

Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post

Exactly an hour into the debate, Joe Biden began an answer by saying, “Facts matter, Gwen.”

To him, maybe. To Sarah Palin, maybe not. The pattern, so far, has been one of Biden presenting facts and Palin countering with… saying stuff. Sometimes she throws in a fact, but mostly she seems to be offering a string of approximate policy positions, encomiums to the American spirit, disputed interpretations of Barack Obama’s record and anecdotes from Alaska.

Bob Schieffer of CBS

I must say, I found it a little disconcerting, time and again, Governor Palin would just choose not to answer the question and launch into some dissertation, sometimes talking points, and not really address what Gwen Ifill had asked her.

Andrew Sullivan of the Atlantic

Biden didn’t put the boot in; he didn’t come off as sexist; he didn’t make any obvious gaffes. Palin didn’t collapse and pushed through the debate with enough speed not to wobble. ut it felt as if she needed the speed in order not to wobble. Her inexperience showed; her tone worked best at first and then began to grate. I don’t think this debate changed the direction of this election campaign, and I think Palin’s performance will buck up base Republicans but actually unnerve some independents.

Even Conservatives over at RedState acknowledged it.

Any conservative who was white-knuckled going into this is relaxing by now. There were some points where she was a bit more platitudinous than one would ideally want, but overall–she’s cleaning up. Biden is sighing more as the night goes on, and I can see why.

And finally, Kathleen Parker was not amused

Well, darnit all, if that dadgum girl (wink, wink) didn’t beat the tarnation out of Joe Biden. Maverick Sarah Palin fersure surpassed expectations and said everything under the sun, also. And Biden smiled and smiled.

Palin is a populist pro. She hit all the notes that resonate with non-elite Americans: family (Hi Mom and Dad!), “Can I call ya Joe?” personal responsibility, Wall Street greed, children with special needs. Her most effective technique was speaking directly to the American people and letting Joe know that’s what she was gonna do, doggonit.

The lack of substance from Palin is noted in almost every commentary including the Conservatives praise of her performance.

And as for Joe? I don’t care what the polls say, and they all say he won, Joe went out there tonight and did his job. He let Palin speak in platitudes while he gave us the real straight talk.

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