For those people looking for Biden to wipe the debate stage with Palin, I think they were handed a disappointing evening.  I don’t think it much matters whether Palin or Biden “won” the debate.  They are the VP candidates after all and not the Presidential candidates.  What I do find significant is that whether you thought Biden or Palin won, I don’t think it can be denied that conventional wisdom expecting Palin to get beaten badly by Biden was way off the mark.

I can’t decide if I liked Palin looking at the camera the whole time.  I realize she was “looking” at her broader TV audience, but I am not a big fan of the detachment from her immediate environment that is induced by looking into the cameras.  Style, not substance I realize.

Speaking of substance, Palin was served a perfect set for spiking with the question about the cause of the current financial crisis.  She should have at least hinted at the government holding a majority share in this mess before turning to the folks on Wall Street.  She didn’t need to dwell on who did what when, but a passing reference to the boondoggle that is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would have gone a long way to inform the public of government largesse and put her Democratic oponent on the ropes.

I thought she was solid on the war and national security issues.  Had the debate lingered there, I think she could have been declared a winner without question.  The timeline as a white flag comment was good.

Style…when Biden was emotional in his reflection on raising a family as a single parent, I think it would have been classy of Palin to acknowledge Biden’s courage in his personal life.  I think she missed an opportunity to attract swing voters there.

Style or substance?  How many times in what span of time did Joe Biden say, “George Bush”?  I thought it was a little strange like a momentary lapse of sanity.  I half expected his head to start spinning around.

From a somewhat bipartisan perspective…why can’t politicians give straight answers?  I know they are trying to attract voters and all, but seriously…a moderately intelligent electorate (that is paying attention, at least) can see that they are pandering for votes rather than actually staking out a position.  I suppose a complimentary question would be, who (or what) impels politicians to answer obliquely?  Are there that many voters who will change their minds because of one position posited by their candidate?  (If so, I imagine that it wouldn’t be terribly difficult to change that mind back into the camp.)  I don’t really care that McCain calls himself a maverick and frankly I’m getting really tired of hearing the word, but I am not going to change my vote because he or Palin used the word maverick one too many times.  Palin talks about global warming in a way that I don’t really agree, but again, I am not going to change my vote over her stance.  It does, however, bug me that she (and McCain) seem to be pandering to the “Save the Environment” movement.

I thought both did well and the debate went on with decorum and an almost pleasant atmosphere.  Both candidates handled criticism with ease and did not let the disagreements elevate into ire.  I hope that the next two presidential debates prove to be as interesting (and orderly) as this one was to watch.

MW

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