Low expectations

Do I watch the debate tonight or not??  Usually I don’t watch and catch up the next day instead, getting what information I need from the newspaper and NPR.  But I might not be able to drag myself away from this Palin/Biden debate tonight, although I’m afraid at the same time it will make me furious and leave me feeling slightly ill.  This whole election has left me feeling slightly ill … I’m desperately afraid Sarah Palin is going to “win” the debate because she will show she’s not a complete idiot.  What a way to win a debate … the magic of low expectations.  It reminds me of those horrible debates between George Bush and Al Gore where Gore was clearly so much smarter and more capable than Bush, but he still couldn’t manage to win the debate because all Bush had to do was not be an idiot (barely) and people seemed to love it.

Anyway, I’ve got low expectations working in my favor when it comes to reading.  I’m in the middle of John Darnton’s Black and White and Dead All Over, which is the latest pick for my mystery book club, and before picking it up I’d heard from a couple book club members that … well, that it’s not so good.  I was dreading reading it.  I’d heard that it’s got a lot of characters that are hard to keep track of, something I’m not particularly good at, and that it’s badly-written with lots of stupid insider jokes.

Now that I’ve read almost 150 pages of the book, I can see that all the criticisms are true, but I expected it to be so horribly awful that I’m pleasant surprised I’m not absolutely hating it.  I’m not hating it at all, actually; I’m just not taking it very seriously and not trying very hard to keep all those characters straight, and it’s going along fine.  If I’d had high hopes for the book, I’d be badly disappointed, but as it is, I’m just grateful it’s not God-awful.

But I do hope people don’t take that attitude toward Palin tonight … even if she’s not God-awful at the debate that still doesn’t mean she should be Vice President.

11 Comments

Filed under Books, Fiction, Life

11 responses to “Low expectations

  1. I actually have very high expectations for the debate. I hope to see Palin definitively exposed as the airhead that she is. Anything less will be a great disappointment!

  2. I’m waiting to hear how the debate went – perhaps I should go hunt around the internet for some comment. There was a feature on Sarah Palin on the BBC Radio 4 morning programme and she did indeed sound in the tradition of Bush in the clips I heard…

  3. verbivore

    Luckily the debate ran at 3 am my time so I had a very good excuse not to watch it. I will watch it sometime this weekend though. It helps a bit to see the commentary before the debate and the factcheck analysis.

    Yes, it is so sad that people will say she did well simply because she knew like one thing. (Although I read this morning that she couldn’t come up with a single Supreme court case she didn’t agree with besides Roe v Wade…ie. she couldn’t come up with a single other court case….frightening!)

    I just feel so sorry for all the truly dedicated and intelligent female Republican politicans out there that are getting the shaft right now. They must be furious.

  4. Lokesh

    It was ‘interesting’ to read these two very different accounts of the debate (well, to be honest, it was somewhat bizarre and depressing):

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/opinion/03fri1.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/opinion/03brooks.html

  5. Did you watch the debate? I was hoping for a disaster from the Palin side, but both did pretty well though I feel like Palin had everything memorized and was only reciting. I thought Biden did better overall, but then I’m also biased :)

  6. Jenny

    Did you watch the debate, in the end? I did. What a mess. And yes, people did seem to think she did “well” because she didn’t completely embarrass herself (if it wasn’t embarrassing herself not to answer any of the questions.) But I will say this, to comfort you: they had a lot of focus groups out there, and any time Palin started to talk about mavericks or Alaska or soccer moms, her ratings went right down. Yes indeed. Enjoy…

  7. I hope you didn’t watch after all. I did, and that’s a couple hours of my life I’ll never get back.

    I’m frustrated that we have a woman running for national office who’s so effing unprepared, when there are really capable women who are prepared, and who could do the job (in both parties).

  8. Biden was to Palin what Gore was to Bush. ‘Nuff said on that.

    I just picked up a copy of Black and White and Dead All Over at the library and am hoping to get at least some of it read with some opinions posted before your meeting. Thank you so much for giving me low expectations. That will help as I try to speed-read through it, I’m sure.

  9. Sylvia — well, she wasn’t exactly exposed as an airhead, but I’d say she was exposed as robotic reciter of memorized lines, someone who can’t veer off-script without getting into trouble. Okay, maybe an airhead :)

    Litlove — oh, it was annoying! If she said “you betcha” one more time I was going to scream …

    Verbivore — that’s right, there are so many well-qualified women that it’s frustrating to see such an incompetent be the chosen one. It sounds like lots of people did like her, as expected, but maybe not as many independents or undecided people as she and McCain would have liked, so that’s good.

    Stefanie — I thought Biden was great. I was relieved to see that he didn’t lose it or condescend to her or do anything foolish. Yeah, she stuck to her script all right.

    Jenny — I heard about the audience reaction — very interesting! I think those who liked her in the debate were largely those who would have voted for her anyway, so doing decently well might not have helped her a whole lot.

    Bardiac — I lost those hours too. You’re so right about there being so many capable women … how frustrating.

    Emily — do you mean you don’t think Biden did a good job? I thought he was pretty impressive, much better than the stumbling, sighing Gore was. Anyway, speed-reading is good, and maybe you’ll enjoy it more that way.

  10. Oh no. I mean that he came off as being really intelligent, and she came off as desperately trying to be “with you” and folksy, because she has nothing substantial or intelligent to offer.

  11. What was that comment about extra credit for that third grade class all about anyway? She may not have made a fool of herself, but I still wasn’t exactly impressed. Do you really think she is as folksy as she comes off being? I wonder….

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