Ambinder off Point

October 1, 2008

Some uncharacteristic missing of the point from Marc:

Gov. Sarah Palin may be a master of the non-answer, of the Bushian empathetic pose, but she has company. Sens. McCain and Obama certainly didn’t have an answer to the important question of how their goody bags will necessarily shrink because of the economic crisis….

Well, sure, of course McCain and Obama refused to answer those questions. This was a political debate. Not answering questions is what one does in a political debate. As painful as it is, I watch these things fairly religiously, and I’ve never seen a debate in which I wouldn’t have given at least 80% of the answers an F for failing to address the topic if they’d been submitted to me by a college student.

Palin is not remarkable for her refusal to answer questions, she is remarkable for being terrible at refusing to answer questions. She manages to make it unusually obvious that she isn’t addressing the question while simultaneously conveying with great clarity that ignorance the concealment of which is the purpose of her dodging questions in the first place.

Obama and McCain debated for an hour and a half without saying anything useful or interesting about the current economic crisis, and both of them looked more presidential doing so than any actual president has looked in recent memory. Sarah Palin is expected to be a disaster Thursday night because she cannot answer a simple question about her reading habits without babbling, lying, and generally humiliating herself. That, not her evasiveness, is what makes her so exceptional.

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