Live from Bagdad!

KOIN has asked Tim and I to be the token Republican bloggers at a “nonpartisan” event in the middle of the Hawthorne District. Certainly a favorite within the Little Beirut clan.

To make this event a little more entertaining, Tim and I have come up with a few VP debate drinking sheets but if anyone has any further suggestions, please pass them along in the comments. But please be kind as this will dramatically effect my writing. (Not that it’s very great already.) And please … For everyone that’s participating in a drinking game please be responsible.

So … a little of what to expect from me. Don’t expect from me to read and answer the comments while I am blogging. This is going to be my first crack at live blogging so I am going to try and just give a running commentary of my thoughts. For those that are at home watching the debate and near a computer … please feel free to jump in. And please hold off on the grammar police until after I edit the post tonight. PLEASE BE KIND.

My live commentary will be on the jump.

First thoughts, thumbs down to KOIN. Poor planning. They’re trying to stick all the bloggers into the handicapped section of the theater. Which is completely disrespectful to the people attending this debate in wheelchairs. And they had just enough space for the bloggers … so I am pushed back against the wall with a laptop in my lap. Having already asked for my participation in future events … they’re not off to a great start now. Plus … no space for me beer! Tragic I know.

6:00 PM

And we’re off …

General feelings from the opening barb on DC and the economic crisis. I’d expect to see more of these … very DC insider answers. Palin “talk to the soccer moms.” And McCain is a leader on the issue.

More talk about bringing a change to Washington that is based on the record of Maverick accomplishment to shake up the institutional partisanship of DC. And I love that Joe blames the very deregulation that he in fact voted for as the Senator from the banking state. As Palin points out … McCain was speaking out on the crisis while Obama was silent. I am sure he was busy meeting with the Fannie Mae’s Johnson … err I mean his former VP committee chair.

More typical answers from Joe … blaming the changes within DC.

Palin jabs after the anti growth agenda of the Obama team. I like how she is speaking in themes that ordinary people will understand and appreciate. For most people this debate will be able who is answering the questions in ways that they identify with. The plainspoken … real life results rhetoric stands in stark contrast to the insider “he voted against bill X as it came out of committee.” It’s also very interesting that Biden voted against the very new energy technology that Obama and Smith voted for with the last energy bill.

I was getting a little worries about the tone of the debate. For the first 20 minutes, I would say that Biden was showing his experience as a recent debater and was a better attack dog. But Palin gets a few good digs in to the BO tax breaks in her retort. Biden’s retort is so telling. Sticking to an explanation of bills verse stand alone amendments. A detail that I would love to debate but is lost to he average viewer.

Palin is still sticking to the talking points … McCain is bipartisan … we need to work together … families need energy relief.

Ok … Bagdad is exactly as I figured. And I won’t be back. The audience isn’t respectful and it’s impossible to effectively blog and hear the broadcast over the chatter. And the lack of the lighting for my keyboard is totally obnoxious.

It is also an interesting strategy that I see … Sarah is pointing out the differences between Joe and Barack while Joe is content to not answer this and just attack McCain. Not saying its the wrong strategy … just that it’s pretty clear.

I was wondering what Biden would say when it came to foreign policy since he called Obama on the mat for his lack of foreign policy experience. And was much closer to McCain than Obama on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

“You were asked is he ready. You said ‘I think he can be ready, but right now I don’t believe he is. The presidency is not something that lends itself to on-the-job training.'” -Biden on This Week last year

“I Don’t Recall Hearing A Word From Barack About A Plan Or A Tactic.” (Jason Horowitz, “Biden Unbound: Lays Into Clinton, Obama, Edwards,” The New York Observer, 2/4/07)

Another classic example of Joe taking a different position that Obama when it comes to Presidential communications with hostile countries. In the primary, it was absolutely no way. Now it’s the Obama line. Before the debate I had a fun read on of the Biden Gaffs You can find some more fun quotes for your own blogs.

I think the debates between Obama and McCain will be more telling than this. I just find it difficult for Sarah … she need to debate two positions, Joe’s position and Barack’s position. They stand in stark contrast to the straight talk of McCain and Palin. Bagdad might not like the thematic answers of Sarah but I am betting that the average undecided is more likely to identify with that.

Clearly a new strategy has developed in the closing 30 minutes from Joe. Clearly has tried to make a stronger connection between McCain and Bush. Sarah clearly noticed that when she slapped back with the “say it ain’t so Joe” retort.

Sarah Palin is lay out a vision that her and John share to shake up Washington. To change Washington, it’s going to take a team of Mavericks who have a record of taking on the establishment. Clearly that concept is foreign to Joe. Joe is well prepared … and clearly his experience with the primary debates has helped him to be a little more aggressive. But his closing … trying to say that he is more bipartisan than John McCain. I don’t have voting records with me but Joe has a long history of being one of the most liberal members of the Senate.

We’re at the closing.

Sarah’s summary started off a little week but she closed with themes that should do well. And I’ve gotta admit … Joe’s strongest connection with main street America came with the closing arguments.

People will hash out the details of the debate for the next few days. Who won the expectations game? Who spoke to which audience? etc.

The debate was as I expected. Sarah held her own with Joe. And I would assume that most Americans (who hadn’t watched her gubernatorial debates before) are shock by her strong performance. And as I expected … general maverick themes from Team McCain … and attempts to attack McCain and/or link him to the current Bush agenda.

Addendum …

1. OK … I have a terrible headache from the Bagdad experience and need to not stare at a monitor for a while … so don’t expect edits and comments from me tonight.
2. A young lady (that identified herself as conservative) during the “we’d love your comments” section of the program spoke out against the lack of respect shown by the audience. Good for her! And then she was promptly heckled by the crowd … just proving her point. Oh well … I am not going back.