On this blog I try my best to talk in an adult-like indoor voice because I think this is usually the most prodictive way to foster thoughtful discussion. The reason I did not liveblog the VP debate was because it is virtually impossible for me to be thoughtful during this type of head on political combat. I watched the spectacle at the Johnson Center–It was very reassuring to feel that the crowd was with us when my U is known for being among the most right of center in the area. The following is a disordered summation of my reaction.
- My girl Gwen did a marvelous job. She allowed the discussion to flow organically and asked some legitimately intriguing questions, my favorite being ‘which issue have you rethought during your time in office?” I think Biden demonstrated a degree of intellectual honesty that is admirable in any person and absolutely remarkable in a politician. His answer was nuanced, detailed and a refreshing snippet in an overwhelmingly tiresome 90 minutes.
- Palin came off as being a folksy caricature–the sort that a satirist would dream up to demonstrate the outlandishness of the country fried GOP persona (that is not a good thing). As Salon’s War Room put it: “she is very good at dropping words and phrases like ‘darn’ and ‘straight up’ and other very folksy terms that try to personalize her. Does it undermine her seriousness or does it make her more accessible? My gut says women cringe because it makes her look less serious, like she has to be cutesy and cheeky to be likeable. But I wonder if men find it attractive because of their own gender lens.”
- Both were able to fit their talking points in rather consistently, but Biden was able to fit them in with surprising spontaneity. Palin on the other hand seemed excessively coached, repeating that loathsome tax meme ad nauseum.
- NUMBERS. Joe Biden loves them. He used them early, often and unapologetically.
- ISREAL. Allow me to express my ambivalence towards that whole thing. Pause. Thank you.
- There are venues where winking is appropriate–public transportation, first dates, bank heist–A vice presidential debate is not one of them.
- Nuclear. It is really not that difficult. Do politicians think they get Mainstreet cred if they mispronounce this?
- American Exceptionalism, Reagan, City on the Hill. Argh.
- Joe Biden’s show of paternal emotion was a sincere and remarkably effective counter to Palin’s hockey mom rhetoric. It reminds us that women do no have a monopoly on nurturing.
- He did not come off as a bully or over bearing. His fruitcake dense freestyles were a great contrast to the unintelligible spongecake responses offered by his opponents.
- Also, thank you Joe for understanding the constitution, knowing the limitations of the role of the vice presidency and being willing to talk about genocide.
This was not a “game changer”, vice presidential debates never are. However, I think it did effectively propel Biden back into the national media spot light which will make his campaigning more effective overall. Also, it reminded anyone who had forgotten that this man knows his shit. Palin was not the dunce cap wearing yeehaw that Tina Fey plays on SNL, but the fact that she showed up with her mental faculties in order was simply not enough to change the narrative of her competence or turn the tide of increasingly negative public opinion.
Oh, and I almost forgot…
That’s why we say Joe Biden will cut you just for livin’.