Last night’s debate was unique for several reasons not least of which was Sarah Palin’s stage demeanor and performance. I didn’t realize that winking was a method of communicating valid answers to direct questions, but apparently Palin thought it was a great way of getting comfy with the viewers and avoiding direct answers. Mind you, the audience probably was not privy to the winks unless they were picked up on large TV screens.

But to TV viewers the winks were, of course, very obvious. I thought at first it was a twitch – it happened so quickly. With the cameras focused on Palin’s head and upper torso, she combined a snappy, tart response style dripping with -isms of all kinds. Then, quick as a wink – pardon the pun – she threw in a wink.

“Say it ain’t so, Joe”, “You betcha”, “Darn Tootin”, “Joe Six-Pack”, and “Doggone it” among other colloquialisms peppered her non-answers. The first time she threw one of her cutesy phrases into the mix, I was startled and thought “what the heck?” After all, this was to be a debate between two candidates for the office of vice-president not a rootin’, tootin’ rodeo competition.

And that was another one of her annoying habits – she kept dropping the “g’s” in a continued attempt to keep that folksy tone to her speech. After all, you can only wink so many times and come up with snappy little sayings so often.

Biden, on the other hand, did not have to resort to theatrics. He had a great command of the facts, and he stayed on task. And his task was to make sure that the viewers understood who John McCain really was rather than the persona McCain likes to think he is.

Biden called into question McCain’s constant droning on about his “maverick” status by highlighting McCain’s lack of divergence from the Bush administration and his lack of acting on behalf of the folks “sitting around the kitchen table.”

And, in response to Palin’s comments about how worrisome it was to be the mother of a special needs child and a son about to leave for Iraq, Biden succinctly and emotionally talked about his parenting of his two injured sons after his wife and infant daughter were killed in an accident. Parenting is for fathers as well as mothers, which Biden effectively conveyed to the audience.

On topic after topic, Biden answered in a serious vein aiming at McCain and his policies while Palin answered with scripted blurbs interspersed with folksy comments. After all, Palin herself said she had only been doing this for “five weeks now.”

I have to hand it to her though, she did not make any gaffes as anticipated. She held her own even if there was little substance to her scripted answers and she kept incessantly parroting the stolen Obama theme of “change.” Biden as well did not make any gaffes. There were those who thought he might ramble or talk down to Palin, but he was focused, informed, and articulate.

The debate is now over, and the Republicans can breathe a sigh of relief that Palin managed to get through the 90-minute debate without any serious missteps. But that sigh of relief has to be turning into a gasp for air, especially with the polls showing Biden handily won the debate and Obama is now approaching a double-digit lead over McCain.


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Democrats, Elections, Politics, Republican Party, U.S. Presidency and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. mark says:

    No. Palin didn’t make any gaffs. She doesn’t have much use for one and making one would be pretty strange activity during a debate. I don’t know or care if Biden uses gaffs- not that there is anything wrong with it if he does. He did make up a few things during the debate, but I’m sure he didn’t make any gaffs while on stage.

    Palin didn’t make any gaffes either, for which I am thankful. Sorry her command of the language doesn’t live up to your high standards. Her failure certainly invites ridicule from the more learned.

    If it’s not too personal, what is your interest in gaffs?

  2. Mark:

    Her speech has nothing to do with my standards. I think her folksy act is a little fake. It may play in Alaska, but to many – even average viewers – she simply looks like she is playing to a crowd.

    I don’t believe for one minute that she doesn’t have a command of the language. She and the McCain camp early after her selection noticed that her “down home” manner of talking seemed to charm the base.

    As to gaffs, I misspelled the word, it should have been “gaffes”, so that should clear up that question. The meaning I was referring to is that of “a noticeable mistake.”

    Both camps were concerned that their candidates might make some kind of serious mistake.

    They both made things up. The scrutiny has been unending, and the morning shows went through a list of items that each side misrepresented.

  3. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    First, I am working on my reply to your reply to my comments. So it is coming and I am not dodging you. Of course you know that much about me!

    Had you searched out television news clips on her prior to being named VP you would have seen that is the same way she talks all the time.

  4. Steve says:

    As a neutral (but very pro-american) observer from the other side of the pond I watched the VP debate with jaw-dropping fascination. But surely both candidates demonstrated great strengths and serious flaws. Joe Biden made several errors of fact with regard to foreign affairs – an area where he is supposed to be an expert, and Sarah Palin was as you say, clearly delivering slogans and sound bites and trying to be homespun charmin’. (Against my better judgement this tactic worked on me but fortunately I dont get a vote.)

  5. Palin is the same in South Whitley as she is in San Fransico. I love how Americans shout for change, many dont want a polished politician. Again, please see the list of accomplishments of the very wise and polished politicians of the last two decades. Obama and his bitter clinger comment, Kerry and his “can I get me a huntin licence here?” comment, Clinton “I aint no ways tired’.

    You just are not used to someone who looks and talks like you up on the big stage. Its ok. It doesnt mean she cant make big decisions as she has in Alaska.

  6. Andy says:

    Clint –

    If you are so enamored by Sarah Palin’s dumbing-down of the English language, and feel this kind of catty, cutsie behavior is what gains respect not only in America, but throughout the rest of the world, then I have a few more suggestions of role models for you:

    Gomer Pyle:

    Fictional TV character from the Andy Griffith Show. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, but talks in a low-level style which features many one and two syllable words which are easy for someone who has a very low level of intelligence to understand.

    Homer Simpson:

    Another fictional character, this time though a cartoon character. Fumbles through life, partakes in drinking more than a few “brewskies”, and when sober, is somewhat easy to understand and feel a connection to.

    Larry The Cable Guy:

    Maybe a fictional persona, but hard to tell. You’ll really love this one – makes a ton of fart jokes and frequently repeats the phrase, “Get Er Done !”

  7. Andy, it is nice to know you have never used these words. I knew a very, very wise man who once told me, if you are confident in your knowledge and experience you do not have to use big words to intimidate your audience or separate yourself from them. I have been to many lectures and have given many. It is always so clear who is confident in their presentation and education by the level they speak to their audience. Sahah will impress with her likeability, and common sence. She could stand up there and throw out words like derivitives and mark to market. But this would not help.
    And again with how America is seen around the world. This is not a popularity contest. America is the best, most caring nation in the world. Im sorry you dont feel this way. You probably agree with Obama that America is down right mean in the year 2008.

    Here is an example of a person using a big word that didnt need to be used “colloquialisms”. Why use this word? Ask yourself this question.

    Thats the problem with America today. Our presidents used to be like us. Now they are elitist, who dont have too much experience with the real America.

    Andy, you keep looking down your nose on others. I know you are much smarter than Palin, and myself. You are also much braver than McCain. Obama walks on water across 57 states for you.

    PS, never have like or watched Cable guy. Simpsons and Griffith are the best ever! And can you imagine Andy Griffin running for VP today. No education, lax on laws, single father. You would look way down your nose at him. He used words like aint, betcha, and all those other “colloquialisms”.

  8. J.Q.

    I have listened to her talk, and I know that this is the way she talks. I am sorry, but we have listened to 8 years of a president who can barely string two sentences together and who looks like he is stumped for words – even when the speeches are written for him.

    I would like to think we will be electing candidates who have some communication skills.

    Folksy is cute, but it will wear off fast if she and McCain are elected.

  9. Clint:

    Americans may not want a “polished” politician – but I am not sure what you mean by that. Just my opinion, but I would say they do want someone who speaks well.

    As I noted to J.Q., folksy is cute for now, but if she and McCain are elected, it will wear off fast – especially so if she tries it in high-level meetings, with foreign dignitaries, or any other officials with whom she might meet. As I said, we have come through 8 years of a president who can barely string two sentences together – even when they are written for him.

    Hmm – which raise an interesting question. When Palin met with Karzai, Uribe, and Kissinger recently, I wonder if she threw out some of her down-home phrases or dropped her g’s?

    If she didn’t, then apparently, she is using the folksy way of talking to fool the public. I can’t imagine she said something like “How’s it going Hamid” or “Darn tootin’, we’ve got to get rid of those Taliban/Al Quaeda” or “You betcha we’re standing behind ya.”

    So, would the real Sarah Palin please stand up?

  10. Clint:

    Your statement:

    “Here is an example of a person using a big word that didnt need to be used “colloquialisms”. Why use this word? Ask yourself this question.”

    I assume you are referring to my use of the word. My question back would be, “Why not use it?” It fits the situation perfectly. That is what Palin is using, isn’t it?

    We teach students every day that preparing a properly written resume is critical. We stress the importance of being prepared for a job interview with the ability to answer questions using proper grammar and English.

    Let me ask you this, how many employers would hire someone who winked, quipped, and used folksy phrases, etc. in an interview?

    Is it fair? Maybe not – that person may work out to be a great employee. McCain and Palin are asking to be “hired” by the American people. They should have to perform to the level that we ask of any potential employee. If you would hire the winking, quipping, folksy interviewee, then perhaps I have misunderstood the hiring process.

    What more important elected jobs in this country than that of the President and the Vice-President?

  11. Judith says:

    Americans distain for education is one factor in our falling image in the world. Why wouldn’t we want the most educated person in our highest office? Why would we choose “one of us” who refers to Joe Six-Pack as a person who would agree with ideas?

    One of the first things our founding fathers did was to establish an education system, because our type of government can succeed only if the people are educated. This continued with the land grant colleges, such as our own Purdue, to be sure that all citizens would have the opportunity to participate in the decision making process.

    I’ll choose a Columbia University graduate who went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Harvard as a leader worthy of our support. Someone who seeks divergent ideas and finds common ground for action: Someone who inspires us to be better citizens: Someone who will bring us respect again from the leaders of other nations.

    Senator Obama will be the best president for our times.

  12. Again, with what others think. I believe hitler was a great speaker. Really got the people going. Education is important. Common sence is better. Obama makes fun of America in foriegn countries, says the best we can do is say merci in french. How many languages does he speak.

    Ps America has no distain for education, we have govt schools.
    Chamberlain really got the respect from Germany didnt he.

    colloquialisms, Ill be sure to use this on my next lecture on soil carbon release and the effects on sociaty

  13. mark says:

    CNN is reporting that Palin spoke at a 10th grade level during the debate. Biden spoke at an eighth grade level.

  14. Mark:

    Here’s what else they said:

    “The analysis by the Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor said Palin, governor of Alaska and the GOP vice presidential nominee, used the passive voice in 8 percent of her sentences, far more than the 5 percent used by the Democratic senator from Delaware.

    The analysis noted that the “passive voice can be used to deflect responsibility; Biden used active voice when referring to [Vice President Dick] Cheney and [President] Bush; Palin countered with passive deflections.”

    “It obscures the doer of the action,” said Language Monitor President Paul Payack, an independent with no political affiliation.”

    Looks like she is learning quickly to deflect responsibility.

  15. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    Judith regarding you 11:33 AM post

    You wrote –
    “Americans distain for education is one factor in our falling image in the world. Why wouldn’t we want the most educated person in our highest office? Why would we choose “one of us” who refers to Joe Six-Pack as a person who would agree with ideas?”

    The first sentence is something I have never heard in my “apparently sheltered” long life. Maybe it is your feelings that Americans go around saying, “Let us dumb down some more!”

    Your second sentence is interesting and almost funny, if you had not been serious. “The most educated person….” give me a break. You consider some person with a law degree the “most educated!” I think if you did a survey of the most educated Americans they would not rate being a lawyer, as the “most educated!”

    You wrote –
    “Why would we not choose one of us?”

    Because we lack common sense over someone like Charlotte that has the world figured out and the rest of us should just tag along because we are stupid? Our ideas and beliefs are useless because we do not share extremes from either end of the political spectrum!

    Your second paragraph you wrote-

    “One of the first things our founding fathers did was to establish an education system, because our type of government can succeed only if the people are educated. This continued with the land grant colleges, such as our own Purdue, to be sure that all citizens would have the opportunity to participate in the decision making process.”

    Say what? Purdue was a land grant college but the main mission of the school was in the agriculture and mechanical engineering arena. Purdue was founded in 1869…. Just a few years after our founding fathers had passed away. I think you should research this one just a tad more. Then come back and tell me about your last part of your last sentence.

    Your third paragraph;

    “I’ll choose a Columbia University graduate who went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Harvard as a leader worthy of our support. Someone who seeks divergent ideas and finds common ground for action: Someone who inspires us to be better citizens: Someone who will bring us respect again from the leaders of other nations.”

    You said divergent ideas, now I would like some offerings of proof to that statement. This sounds like a quote from some campaign material.

    By your standards, let us look at people who lack a college education and/or are not known as great speakers.

    Warren Buffet – College graduate – Billionaire – Uses many Nebraska area phrases in his talks. Not a great speaker, uses down home speak with plain and simple words. Obama advisor.

    Bill Gates – College Dropout – Billionaire – Computer Software – Not known to be of inspiring speaker.

    Larry Ellison – College Dropout – Billionaire – Computer Software – Oracle Company

    Michael Dell – College Dropout – Billionaire – Computers – Dell Computers

    Paul Allen – College Dropout – Billionaire – Owns Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trailblazers

    Sergey Brin – College graduate – Billionaire – Computer Software – Limited public speaking

    Larry Page – College graduate – Billionaire – Computer Software – Respected speaker in the area of computers

    Jack Taylor – College Dropout – Billionaire – Rent-a-Car

    Steve Jobs – College Dropout – Billionaire – Computer Industry – Hot and cold speaker

    Ralph Lauren – College Dropout – Billionaire – Fashion business

    Mark Zuckerberg – College Dropout – Billionaire – Computer Software

    David Geffen – College Dropout – Billionaire – Owner LA Times

    Donald Newhouse – College Dropout – Billionaire – Owns The New Yorker & Vanity Fair

    Ray Kroc – College Dropout – Billionaire – Founder McDonalds

    Richard Branson – College Dropout – Billionaire – Founder of Virginia Records, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and Virgin Mobile.

    Daniel Snyder – College Dropout – Billionaire – Owner of Washington Redskins

    Henry Ford – College Dropout – Millionaire – Started Ford Motor Company – Set five day, 40 hour work week.

  16. J.Q.

    Again, thank you for the ad hominem attack. You are getting desperate, just like the McCain/Palin camp which is now going back to muck-raking to try to salvage what is left of its failing efforts.

    I remember not too long ago – apparently when I wasn’t on your bad side – that you thought I was reasonable and would make a good plan commission member.

    I guess if people don’t agree with you, they become subject to your attacks – like I said desperate just like McCain and Palin.

  17. J.Q.

    By the way, I notice in your lengthy list of successes, you didn’t list any women. Couldn’t find any?

  18. J. Q. Taxpayer says:

    First, I did think you would have but not any longer because you can’t find the middle of the road. You act like you can, but you can’t. I would like to hear what you think about Harrison Square?

    Oh, the old Democrat reverse game. Toss out bombs and when they come back it is called attacks. Get real…

    Second, that is interesting point about no women being on the list. To be honest, which I doubt you will believe, I did not come across one. The list was composed from searching the Internet under “Dropout Billionaires!” The list is all the people who made the money on their own. The list could have been longer but it served no purpose.

    That is an interesting point you make but I would have included such, if I would have found such. It was not the point of being male or female.

  19. J.Q.

    And you can find the middle of the road, J.Q.? I certainly don’t see it in your posts.

    I believe, as I said earlier, you have become so obsessed at the thought of Obama becoming president that you have lost all sense of reality and sanity.

  20. clint jenkins says:

    Again with the “didnt list any women” I am going to point out everytime you bring race or gender up so you recognize it.

  21. Clint:

    You certainly are free to do that. I will try to accommodate you by doing it even more frequently.

  22. Clint:

    Whoops – just wanted to add – do you really think I do it without realizing it? Good Lord, I am a woman, and I know what our history of being left out has been.

  23. Judith says:


    First of all I’ll comment on “America’s distain for education.” I’ll start with today’s students. The majority do not have the priority of achieving as much knowledge as possible. Too many other goals interfere with taking the hardest courses and getting the highest grades. This is evident in comparing their abilities in math, science, etc. with those of stucents in other countries. My grandchildren lived in England for oune year. Great emphasis was placed by schools and parents for achievement. This is even more evident in other parts of the world.

    Then even adults often do not investigate and weigh options before making decisions. More later…

    Purdue—if you’ll reread my paragraph you’ll note the words “This continued” by which I meant that the need for education was recognized over the history of our country. Yes, Purdue was established primarily for farming and engineering courses, but other information was offered.

    As for my comments being lifted from campaign materials, I haven’t seen any other place using the punctuation and sentence structure I chose, but the truths I expressed can be found in mumerous printed and broadcast media.

    Thomas Jefferson said that if we expect a nation to be ignorant and free, we expect a nation that never was and never will be. The more knowledge one has, the more one can draw from that, as well as from personal experience, to make a decision.

    Your ridicule of lawyers is offensive–another example of distain for education. However, Barack Obama’s work at Harvard included extensive study of our Constitution. He then taught a course on the Constitution to college students in Illinois. Obama will know the power of and limits of our Constitution. This seems like a good thing to me.

    Common Sense? Common sense is not limited to those with college degrees. However, the more background knowledge one has can certainly be relevant to the decision one makes. Those who have succeeded, as you listed, have not been elevated without knowledge. Instead they have directed their pursuit of knowledge in areas where they have then succeeded. And in most cases they have chosen others for assistance along the way.

    One reason that I support Obama is his ability to take knowledge and suggestions from many before deciding on a course of action. This is very evident in teh recent financial crisis.

  24. clint jenkins says:

    Judith, students are students whether now or 100 years ago. Some excell some dont. This getting worse as result of parents not giving a sh…., next you have piss poor govt schools, then you have too many distractions.

    How in the heck do you think obama did good in this finacial crisis? Was it going to washington after McCain, was it his inability to controll the dems votes the first time around? Here is a quote from the great uniter. “I don’t think me calling House Republican members would have been that helpful, I tend not to be that persuasive on that side of the aisle,” he said.

    Why would ridiculing lawyers be offensive? And it doesnt show distain for education as you endlessly keep saying. It show distain for scumbags. I apologize in advance to all of the scumbags out there.

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