A friend of mine in grad school had a secret. Our professors often praised her wonderful insights and her well read back ground. Everyone liked her, as she was a very genuine person and thought of her as a bit of a "star" in our department. I asked her once how she did it. She giggled and responded, "Low expectations, Claire. In my interviews I did not want to overly impress people, that way when I got here, no matter how well I did, it would be okay."
I think that this was a bit tongue in cheek as the girl was brilliant and downplayed her intelligence because she did not like drawing attention to herself. However, it was a comment that stuck with me. In 2000 I watched as W. "exceeded expectations" and got elected. You can decide for yourself how well that has worked out.
Last night Governor Palin went into her debates with Senator Biden with decidedly low expectations. Everyone said that as long as she did not say something phenomenally stupid, then she would win the debate. Wow. What does that say about the state of our politics when we are willing to live with just "doing okay," and mediocrity?
Now, I also had low expectations for the Senator. He has a tendency to run on (and on and on) and leaving me with the feeling, "Say, wha . . ?" However, this potential double sided train wreck was not enough to keep me awake last night. I watched the re-run on CNN this morning.
I have my own secret to confess. Are you ready? I was captain of the debate team in high school. Shocking, isn't it? I often watch these debates with a fake ballot in my head and try to judge them.
Yes, Governor Palin did not suck. On the other hand, she was a master dodger of questions, something that is normally a big no-no in debate. She had clearly learned some talking points and, dear God and Biden be damned, she was sticking to them. Biden was also on a chain. In the end I think this was good for both their tickets. Although I felt so-so about both, I would most definitely feel better with Biden as vice-president. In my opinion he had a better grasp of knowledge and ideas. I felt like Palin was trying to sell herself a bit too hard. The German actually turned to me and asked, "Why does she keep smiling like that? It's creeping me out."
As a bookend to the debate, the German and I rented the movie "Idiocracy" last night. Jen and Sparky recommended it. In the movie, a "regular Joe" wakes up 500 years in the future to find that the human race has not evolved, but rather devolved and the nation has become, for lack of a better word, idiots. In the movie, the most popular TV show of the day is "Ow! My Balls" and the Oscar winning movie is "Ass."
The German laughed hysterically during most of the film. I was very quiet. Why? Because some of it did not look the the future, but sadly like politics today. It reminded me of a comment that I read about Palin. "She is just like me or my sister! Isn't it cool that some one like your sister could be president?"
HELL NO! Trust me people, you do not want my sister running the country. I want my public leaders to enunciate. I want them to have "book learnin'" and "edumication." I want the very best of the best in office. However, in today's media driven politics, the "smart" guy is labeled "elitist" and the "dumb" guy is "folksy." Do I want a president that I can have a beer with, or a president that can thoughtfully negotiate a treaty with world leaders? It is your decision, really, but I know where I come down on this issue.
Joe Biden really surprised me. Because of his reputation and some of the dumb stuff he has said over the past few weeks, I was sad about my low expectations. However, I think they were unfounded. He came across as a thoughtful, intelligent and personable. He even made me cry.
Now if I could just get the German to stop saying, "Ow! My Balls!"