Thursday, October 2, 2008

Initial Thoughts on VP Debate

When I got that text message announcing that Joe Biden was Barack Obama's VP pick, I was disappointed that he hadn't picked Hillary Clinton, and I thought, "how boring". Tonight, after watching the VP debate, I am so impressed with Joe Biden. He has such an obvious command of the issues, vast knowledge and experience, and struck exactly the right tone. He countered points effectively, expressed his views articulately, and clearly pointed out the differences between the Obama/Biden ticket and the McCain/Palin ticket. He talked about John McCain and his positions and didn't attack Sarah Palin. He was in a delicate position and walked that fine line.

Now I completely expected Sarah Palin to do just fine. I was hoping for the huge gaffe, but I figured she was going to be well-prepared. And I was afraid that expectations were so low, that she just had to not throw up on stage to be judged the winner. And she did do just fine. She didn't sound incoherent like she did during the Katie Couric interview, and she didn't make any big mistakes. However, she came across as trying way too hard to have folksy charm and to connect with the everyday person. All the winking and gosh darnits and dropping the g's off the ends of words were just phony and annoying. More importantly, she didn't answer the questions. She simply steered back to the speeches and talking points that she had obviously memorized. And even if you say that you are not going to answer the moderator's questions, that doesn't make you a straight talker, that makes you a bad debater who obviously doesn't know how to answer the question that has been asked.

But here is what I think was the defining moment of this debate. When Joe Biden talked about knowing what it was like to be a single parent, when he choked up and had to hold back tears when recalling what it was like to not know whether his son was going to make it, I was moved to tears. And Sarah Palin? This woman who is hanging her campaign on being a "hockey mom" and a person just like you and able to connect with people and understand their issues? She did not react; she did not acknowledge; she did not respond. She just moved on and talked about being a maverick with a robotic smile on her face. To me that showed Joe Biden to be so real and Sarah Palin to be so fake.

Joe Biden won, hands down.

1 comment:

ElisaC said...

Totally agree that:

1. i didn't expect her to fail big time. I even had a conspiracy theory going that she purposely flubbed the Gibson/Couric engagements to completely lower expectations, so she could exceed them.

2, It was obvious she avoided actual questions and went to talking points...I'm just not sure people will care that much, given their lack of respect for the media.

3. The gosh darn stuff got old, and I was watching on CNN where they had those little tracker graphs...and it seemed to get old with those folks too.

4. She was absolutely in a tough spot after Biden's emotional and gripping story about his kids and his kitchen table, and she just didn't know what to do.

All that being said, she was actually more coherent than John McCain was in his debate!! Which only indicates which one is better able to memorize and more importantly stick to a message.