Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Veep Debate – Part 1

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Like many people, I am really looking forward to this debate. Because I wish to concentrate and not be distracted by the potential screams and jeers of others, it will be just me and the one I love. My detail plan includes pizza for the both of us, and a dessert of giant dog bone for her. As you can see from the picture, Olivia won’t need to be convinced, she’s committed.

We need to frame this debate, not in terms of the pundits and their expectations, but in terms of what we really need to hear.

Now, we all know Joe Biden, as do the world leaders who met with Sarah Palin last week. We’ve seen him debate before. We know he has a great command of issues, and usually, words. Here is a great clip from just after the first Presidential debate. About 7 minutes in is his response to how he intends to approach his upcoming debate.

We do NOT know Sarah Palin. She gave a kick-ass speech in Minnesota, and then imploded under brief questioning from Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric. The McCain campaign does not seem willing to let her out, and therefore, this debate may be the only time we all get to see and hear her, potentially off-script.

Therefore, will Gwen Ifill use questions to define not only domestic and foreign policy, but Sarah herself? The

Under the plan agreed to Saturday, Palin and Biden will have less time than McCain and Obama to reply to moderators' questions and discuss each other's answers. And there will be no guidelines
given to Gwen Ifill of PBS, moderator of the vice presidential debate, as to subject matter, allowing her to mix in questions about foreign and domestic matters, the sources said.

In the negotiations, Republicans wanted to limit the amount of time available for their candidate, Palin, to be questioned on a single topic.

Both sides got what they wanted. Palin and Biden will each have 90 seconds to respond to questions, with a two-minute period for discussion between the candidates to follow.

We’ve all seen debates, and know that the moderators sometimes ask candidate-specific questions. While I’m as interested as everyone else in hearing Sarah Palin on the bailout, abortion, birth control, school vouchers, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc., I also hope some of the following questions will be asked, and that you’ll use the comments to list the questions you would like to see.

1. Governor Palin, you have railed against money from special interests. How do you reconcile that with the more than $25,000 you and your husband have taken in graft gifts over the last 20 months?

2. You claimed you had not met with any heads of state prior to last week’s meetings in New York. Did you forget about Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson?

3. According to the NY Times,
[W]hen Senator Joseph Biden, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee, drafted the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, he included provisions to make states ineligible for federal grant money if they charged rape victims for exams and the kits containing the medical supplies needed to conduct them. (John McCain, [your running mate], voted against Mr. Biden’s initiative, and his name has not been among the long list of co-sponsors each time the act has been renewed.)
Why then were rape victims billed for their rape kits in Wasilla?

4. Why did you agree to cooperate with the Troopergate investigation, saying on 24 July 2008,
"I'm happy to comply, to cooperate. I have absolutely nothing to hide. No problem with an independent investigation"
but now are refusing to cooperate?