Did you watch the Vice Presidential debate last night? Of course, you did! Did your candidate prevail? Of course, he/she did! My thoughts? Glad you asked.
The one thing I was struck by, even very early in the goings-on was the passion and intensity of the candidates. Usually these debates are dry, emotionless, drawn-out...okay let's just say it...boring! events. Not last night! It was as good a sparring match as we could have expected.
If people were expecting/hoping for Sarah Palin to stumble and fall on her face, they were undoubtedly disappointed. She came prepared and well-rehearsed. Although clearly nervous at first, she quickly warmed up to the task and relaxed. She very obviously knew her opponent and wasn't going to let him run all over her.
What can you say about Senator Joe Biden? Love him or hate him, he is a consummate politician. He's been around this block already, and last night he showed why it very easily could have been him debating McCain for the top office.
Strangely, both candidates seemed to avoid going after each other. Instead, they focused on attacking their presidential running mates. I thought it was odd; some sort of tacit and coincidental deference. Only occasionally would Gov. Palin make a point about Biden, and he left her completely alone. Most of the time Palin was hammering Obama just as Biden did McCain. There were no Bensenesque "You're no Jack Kennedy" moments - only Biden's "bridge to nowhere" joke that kind of fell flat because Gwin Ifil was cutting him off at that very moment.
What I liked a lot was Sarah Palin's folksiness. Instead of being stiff and formal, her responses were full of her, "Aw, shucks" character. She is very likeable, and really does sound like a midwest soccer mom - the Washington outsider who's coming to town to shake things up. It's a clever ploy - and you have to love it. But will it play well with the voters, especially women voters? Ah, that is the question. It's clearly what they're going for.
Joe Biden was full of passion. To me, it was immensely gratifying. He was emotional! Almost angry at times. I've always wanted to see politicians being themselves instead of just reading from a prepared script and not letting us know how they really feel. And although Biden was clearly hitting all of his party's platform points, he was doing it in a way that said he really believed in his words.
If I had one criticism, it was that Palin would often not answer the question, preferring to go off-topic. (They both did, but Palin seemed to do it more so than Biden.) Even the moderator, Gwen Ifil chided them early on for not answering the question. Palin had her agenda - points she wanted to make, and by God she was going to make them regardless of what had just been asked. I find that annoying and disrespectful to both the moderater and the viewer (meaning me).
What was funny was when Palin would bring up areas in which Biden and Obama disagree. For his part, Biden side-stepped those issues, probably regretting some of the things he said in the primaries. He and Obama do disagree on certain issues, and I don't really have a problem with that.
And where is it written in stone that a person cannot change his mind about things or revise his/her position? Why do we hold politicians accountable for bad/questionable decisions they made in the past, even if they've since changed their position? We learn, we grow, we change. That's just life.
What was disappointing was that neither candidate acknowleged that taxes are going to have to be raised, like it or not. All politicians talk about tax cuts because that's what the American public wants to hear. But friends, one way or another, no matter which candidate wins next month, taxes are going up. I think we all realize this.
I could go on and on, but I won't. To me, it was an enjoyable, spirited debate. No surprises, no bombshell moments, no clear winner, no falling on one's face. They were both personable and genial, and I could see people supporting and voting for either one. I have not been a big Biden fan over the years, but his performance last night sure impressed me. Similarly, I haven't been a Palin fan either, but she scored big points last night.
In what has been a most bizarre presidential campaign, the vice presidential debate last night was a welcome relief. It showed us two humans who are passionate about their cause and ready to pursue it. It's like they were both running for President, not the second banana slot. And in way, you have to feel sorry for both of them, especially the one who wins. Because their time in the limelight is about to come to an end.
If only the office of Vice President wasn't such a meaningless, unimportant one. I mean, really, does anyone remember even one single, solitary thing that Dan "You spell it potatoe" Quayle did?