AFTER THE DEBATE – Biden’s strong when outside of constraints
In all fairness, I was quite surprised by both vice presidential candidates during the one and only veep debate Thursday night.
Expectations were low for both Joe ‘gaffe a minute’ Biden and Sarah ‘I can see Russia from my house’ Palin.
Palin’s Katie Couric interviews have been less than inspiring, and Biden’s 1929 television blunder is just one in a long line of mistakes he’s made during recent speeches. However, that just meant the debate was going to be interesting, and that’s at least a step up from the first presidential debate, which was a tad bit boring.
Interesting, it was. Both candidates did exactly what they had been coached to do. Palin knew her job was to defend herself as a somewhat credible public official, attack Barack Obama at every turn and inflate the campaign of John McCain. Biden’s goals were equal: He had to restrain himself from going off-topic, attack John McCain frequently and inflate the campaign of Barack Obama. They both did their jobs and did them better than I could have hoped.
Biden, however, walked a very fine line between being a strong debater and coming across as a bully to little ol’ Palin. He was firm, he never attacked Palin herself and he kept to the subject on hand. He slowed down a few times, probably to remind himself of his objective, and that perhaps lost some voters’ interest. Palin, however, toed the line of being a bully and stepped over it more than once. I don’t respond to snarky sarcasm, and I feel like most of my fellow Americans don’t either.
Palin and Biden finished strong after shaky starts. According to pundits, Palin’s strength lies in her ‘folksy’ attitude. I will say, Palin seems likable. I’m glad she mentioned, once, twice and maybe even three times, that she has dear friends who disagree with her, but they’re still dear friends. It goes to show that she’s tolerant, right? Biden’s strength came when he allowed himself to step a little outside the constraints his handlers and trainers put him in. When the question was posed about the veep’s legislative power, with a firm hand, Biden was clear and concise about the problem this administration has had with a dangerous vice president. Despite Palin’s attempt to sway him from looking backward, Biden absolutely had it right when he said, ‘Past is prologue.’ Say it is so, Joe.
Overall, both candidates did well, but neither hit a home run. It was frustrating to see how often either one, or both, refused to answer moderator Gwen Ifill’s questions. At least Biden didn’t admit to not answering questions, as Palin did, with a mean girl (a la Lindsay Lohan) attitude.
Neither of the debates have been ‘game changers,’ but the next two presidential debates, especially following on the heels of such a spirited exchange as this one, have big shoes ‘ and high expectations ‘ to fill.