I didn't think Sarah Palin was good at all in Charlie Gibson's ABC News interview. She sounded like a student who had crammed for an exam, not like someone confident and well-versed in foreign policy.
Body language didn't help. She was leaning forward -- seeming anxious and even urgent. She wasn't funny or charming. She seemed really tight.
Television, as Marshall McLuhan explained, is a "cool medium." Essentially, it means that you need to be entertaining on television.
In comparison to the other candidate, Barack Obama was much better on O'Reilly. In fact, I liked Obama -- in the personal sense, not the political sense. (Aside: If Obama keeps moving to the right, he's gonna be to the right of McCain in about a week. I'd actually consider voting for him, if it weren't for his abortion position.)
One thing I've been thinking about is how competitive these races get. And the problem with competitive games -- and realistically, these campaigns have come to consist of too much entertainment and games -- is that you end up trying to win, instead of thinking about what you'll do if you govern.
Indeed, a lot of my frustration in the past 10 years, ever since the Clinton impeachment, is that the left's attacks on the right, and to a lesser extent, the right's attacks on the left, has sort of forced people into an either/or thinking that people neither agree with nor want. Nor is there a true dichotomy between Democrats and Republicans.
Hmm ... struggling with this thought. Let me put it this way: The Republican Party is not only the party of Reagan, we are also the party of Nixon, Ford and the Bushes. The latter might be called "Democrat lite." The former, though, was revolutionary -- strong national security, fiscal conservatism, federalism, a variety of social beliefs that involve around protecting the dignity of human life and equality under the law but is far more diverse than the Democrats give credit for, common sense constitutional hermeneutics, and a strong principle of libertarianism. The problem was even in Reagan's era, many Republicans, particularly senior ones in Congress, didn't support Reagan and worked to undercut him.
Democrat lite is fine as far as it goes, but tends to go wobbly economically and fiscally and we've continually struggled whenever we've had these Republican presidents. Nixon is an unrecognizable as a conservative by any standard. Ditto Ford. Bush I was a caretaker president who skillfully managed the end of the Cold War, but apparently was never on board with Reaganism and never believed it. Bush II was more of a Reaganite, but lacked the willingness to maintain fiscal discipline and frankly, competence.
For the past eight years, we've had a president that's slow on his feet, who struggles to communicate, and who has been in over his head. Because of this, Bush has often had to be "handled," protected from the press, and still to carefully staged events. Dubya is supposedly very good at mixing with people off-camera, but simply can't do the television aspect of the job. One thing I insisted on is at least I wanted a president who could handle himself -- who could discuss things off-the-cuff without sounding like he's repeating talking points or trying to recall his coaching.