A Review of the Sarah Palin-Joe Biden Vice-Presidential Debate

Last night I watched the entire VP debate, and I’d love to take a moment of your time to tell you a few thoughts I had and hear about anything that you observed.

1. The Moderator

I liked the moderator. Now, Biden and Palin made it easy for her because the arguing was minimal, but I thought her questions were good and she wasn’t afraid to call someone out for not answering the question she asked.

2. Demeanor

Palin was ner-er-vous. She put herself in this situation so I couldn’t feel bad for her, but she seemed downright terrified when the debate began. Her anxiety didn’t seem to diminish drastically over the night, perhaps in contrast to how confident Biden seemed. I don’t know if that made Palin seem endearing or week or Biden competent or patronizing. What did you think?

3. Talking Points v. Points to Talk About

Biden knows his stuff, but of course, this makes sense. He’s been in Congress for decades, and when Palin would bring up a bill that he, Obama or McCain voted one way or another on, he could talk about that bill and the reasons in far more detail than she ever could because he was involved. This was in stark contrast to the Obama-McCain debate when both candidates intimately knew the details of these bills and could – and did! – argue back and forth about what was what. With Biden-Palin, there was little back and forth and I wonder if it’s because she simply didn’t know what to talk about. I don’t mean this as a criticism (that’s left up to how you take her pride about not being of the Washington bunch) but merely as an observation. It seemed that Palin had been seriously prepped with canned lines and points and told to avoid all sorts of other things for fear of a huge mistake. How did you feel?

4. Gaffes

Speaking of huge mistakes, let’s talk about the one thing that all the political pundits really wanted to see – a gaffe. Now, I don’t know that there were any huge gaffes that can’t be undone. Palin did call Joe Biden “O-Biden” and she also told the moderator and Biden that she wasn’t there to answer the questions she was asked but to say what she wanted. Palin also referred to her ticket as a “team of mavericks” which is a bit oximoronic – a fact I think was lost on her. Biden was probably advised to say less than he wanted to because the more active he is the more patronizing he appears. In 90 minutes, though, these were not the big things that came out. Did you notice anything particularly outrageous that slipped by me?

5. Summary

It’s unclear to me what will come out of this. I don’t really want to give you my opinion of the particular political positions as the VP candidates stated them last night – I’d rather discuss the importance of this debate and how the candidates appeared to Americans and the world. However, as an aside, I will mention that I thought it was funny when the moderator established that the two agreed about gay marriage (despite my own disagreement with their mutual opinion). Everyone had a nice chuckle.

Pundits, as they are want to do, said that this debate could be a make-it-or-break-it moment in the political process, but I didn’t notice anything happen that would have been so swaying. I know who appeared more competent, more capable and more knowledgable and I know who appeared more presidential (mentally, not physically or genderally), but I also know that a lot of Americans are looking for something else and appreciate the different image that is being provided for them in this race.

What did you think? I’d love to hear all of your opinions, whether issue-related, debate-related, political or otherwise.

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