I don't even know where to begin. There were so many great moments in last night's debate, it's hard to know where to start.
From the minute she grasped the hand of the distinguished senator from Delaware and asked, "Can I call ya Joe?" I knew what we were going to see was more of the same from the last eight years. Only this time, it was wearing a skirt and an up-do.
Let me start with Senator Biden, though. I found his responses clear, concise, and on target. He answered each question that was asked of him and his poise inspired confidence. He owned his differences between himself and Barack Obama, but also made it singularly clear that he believes in the policy platform put forth by his running mate. He was clear on his role as vice president should he be so privileged and called Dick Cheney "the worst vice president we've had in the history of the executive branch." Thankfully, he was especially forceful and clear on where that office lies within the three branches of government. Biden was strong, direct, and knew his facts without sounding overly briefed.*
While Biden has been known in the past to sometimes fly off the handle and snap back when attacked, he never once took the bait from his opponent or counterattacked on a personal level. He stayed on topic and kept the focus on the distinction between Obama and McCain--the two people we're being asked to choose between on November 4.
And now for Palin. I wrote earlier this week that I felt sorry for her. Those days are over. What I saw last night was nothing short of frightening.
Palin may have been poised. She may have appeared confident. She was certainly folksy. She even sounded intelligent and had obviously been very well briefed and rehearsed. Anyone who's comfortable with public speaking can do that for one night and come across as capable and in command. But how will she perform in a McCain administration? Her ability to be rhetorical was strong, but she avoided answering questions directly, redirected to issues she wanted to discuss that weren't asked, and failed to persuade this voter that she's capable of being a safe and wise vice president. Her answer alone that she agrees with Dick Cheney on the place of the vice president in the three branches of government sent chills up my spine.
Gov. Palin's repeated efforts to portray herself as a good little girl from the heartland by leaning into the camera, winking, flashing that cliquey beauty queen smile, and tellin' us we're near-and-dear to her heart actually turned me off. I grew up in a place where many people talk in that folksy style. A lot of them lead you to believe you're their BFF for time and all eternity and they've got your back. And while some of them are selling you their brand of snake oil as warmth and a hand of fellowship, they're stabbing you in the back with the other hand.
I'm tired of golly-gee-Wally-I'm-your-buddy folksiness. In fact, I'm leery of it, because it means you're trying to sell me something. For eight years, we've had a president who gets away with murder and mayhem by softly chuckling and coining phrases like "I'm the Decider". For eight years, we've had a vice president who condons torture and believes he is above the law. For eight years, we've been embroiled in a war in a country we never should have been in in the first place and we were led there by men who lied to the people who entrusted them with the highest office in the land. For eight years, we've been moving steadily downward into a quagmire of deregulated feudalism. It's enough already.
Sarah Palin (and her dishonest, Rovian cohort) is nothing more than aw-shucks George and war criminal Dick in a skirt with a sparkling smile and a special spirit. You can put lipstick on that, but it's still Bush-Cheney all over again.
If you missed the debate, you can catch it here. I promise, it's worth every minute.
* Having worked on policy issues and having written briefings and talking points for people who need to know the facts so they can brief a congressperson or senator, I know rehearsed talking points when I hear them. Biden is no exception when it comes to briefings, because a public official can't know every little nuance of an issue. But, where he differed in delivery significantly from Gov. Palin is, Sen. Biden knew the points he needed to make and he conveyed them with a grounded-in-knowledge, rather than a briefed, touch. That impressed me greatly.