Thursday, October 02, 2008

A Preview of Sarah Palin's Debate Game Plan

From the hints that I have picked up on from the McCain camp, here is a glimpse of what I believe the Palin (Republican) VP debate strategy might be (nothing too unexpected).

  • She will likely be feisty

  • She will tout her exec. experience (lol)

  • She will appeal to those who respond to style over substance. She knows that she might struggle when it comes to command of the issues, so she will likely opt to compensate with distractions, and will gloss over facts & specifics with generalizations. The American public is just as clueless as Palin on many foreign policy viewers may not recognize all of her mistakes. The Republicans understand this... so they will opt for style.

  • She will hijack Obama's change message & co-opt it as if it was her own all along.

  • She may attempt to cast Biden as an old timer; a Washington insider who is part of the problem in government. This was one of the main problems that I had with Obama's decision to pick Biden. In many ways, it undermines his change mantra, as well as the perceived distance (ideologically) from Washington D.C. that he enjoyed. Republicans will attempt to exploit this contradiction, just as I suggested.

  • She may mention the low approval rating of Congress and will attempt to tie that negative perception to Joe Biden (and perhaps even Barack Obama).

  • Just as McCain has done, Palin will recreate herself in front of a national and international audience. She will cast herself as a Maverick who took on corruption and mismanagement in her own State (barely half true). She will repeat lies that have already been told and debunked....with the hope that Americans won't be paying attention - which unfortunately will probably be the case. The strategy of McCain/Palin seems to be to repeat lies & misinformation over and over again, with the hope that with repetition, voters will begin to believe the lie, even when the lie has been debunked. (the Debunkers never have the same size platform as the liar, so the facts won't reach everyone). This strategy will be at work as she lies about issues THAT HER CAMPAIGN KNOWS are untrue and THAT THEY KNOW have been debunked.

  • Don't be surprised if Palin is condescending she seems to be at her best when she is patronizing & condescending, just as she was at the Republican Convention.

  • She may try to bait Biden into a trap by being condescending. Republicans may try to illicit an angry response from Biden or a response that they can later frame as sexist or patronizing. This will help to paint Biden as a Bully.

  • She will attempt to cast herself as a fresh face, and as a regular everyday American who is looking out for the average Blue collar Middle Class American. Biden will be framed as an elitist New England Democrat. (This is how they will label him because he is well traveled, knows foreign leaders, etc).

  • Palin may make comments directed at women... as an appeal to women. Don't be surprised if she mentions Hillary Clinton and the glass ceiling.

  • Be prepared for an attack on Biden... regarding some item from his past that no one is expecting. There is no certainty that this would happen, but it should be seen as a possibility. Any politician with 35 years of experience probably has at least a small graveyard in his/her closet. Obama will also be fair game for Palin. And just about anything goes. McCain/Palin will do anything to win.

  • _______________________

    In addition to the above strategy, Palin will also be tasked with remembering her lines. She will feel more pressure at this debate than she felt at the Republican Convention or in any of her previous debates when running for Governor. We know that under the added pressure of the national spotlight and when forced to talk about specifics, she can be rattled. If she gets rattled by the cameras, the crowd, the national spotlight, and the questioning... then all bets are off. This might cause her to forget her lines and lose her footing.

    Another pitfall for Palin could be the strict format. The McCain camp put all sorts of restrictions of the debate process, including limits on response times, thinking that this would be helpful to Palin. But it might end up being more harmful. The time limitations will only add to the strain that Palin will be under. She will have less time to formulate her thoughts... this could end up making her shaky.

    There will be no lifelines for Palin tonight... all of her lifelines have been used up.

    Biden? Biden must maintain poise, must be a gentleman at all times, must avoid patronizing Palin, and must not fall into any of the traps that I mentioned.

    The Post Debate Strategy

    Spin, Spin, Spin, Spin, and more Spin.

    The Republicans are already prepping for this. They have been lowering expectations all week. They have lowered expectations so much that even if Palin does a poor job it won't be so bad afterall. They are also attempting to invalidate the importance of the debate itself. One argument they may use is that Gwen Ifill is Pro-Democrat/Pro-Obama and therefore the debate is invalid (these seem to be the talking points).

    Republicans may also attempt to label Biden as sexist and arrogant. There will be no shortage of excuses for Palin, if she gives a poor or mediocre performance.


    NPR Discussion About Past Debates...and Pitfalls that Biden May Face

    1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    You pretty much nailed it with the pre-debate Palin strategy.