As a responsible blogger, I am, of course, compelled to weigh in on the Biden-Palin debate. If I don’t, my “Blogger Card” will be revoked and I’m sure the blogging secret service will cart me away in an unmarked, windowless van. So, here goes…
Who won? Who knows? Though a McCain supporter, I must admit that Biden was impressive. Sure, he lied a lot, preying on the ignorance of his audience who, depending on preconceived notions either bought what he said lock, stock and barrel, or disbelieved everything he said, even things that were true. But it is incontrovertible that Biden had a commanding yet genteel presence that showed an attractive balance of affable personality and apparent knowledge of the issues (remember, in politics, it doesn’t matter whether what the speaker says is true, it only matters whether he can sell it to you).
As for Palin…ditto. The fact is Palin did the same thing. Admittedly, she misstated (read that “lied about”) fewer facts, but that was simply because she didn’t attempt to rattle off as many as Biden. Palin’s strengths obviously lie in her populist appeal. While the more snobbish and elitist among Americans (and media — of course, all mass media is snobbish and elitist) may dismiss her folksy style as unsophisticated or even ignorant, the fact is that it plays. Contrary to most Hollywood and New York news types, words like “darn” and phrases like “Joe Sixpack” appeal to a lot of voters who want a Washington outsider, one like themselves, living in the Naval Observatory.
So, back to my question, “Who won?” My answer is “Who cares?” In the grand scheme of things, this debate was inconsequential. Convinced Republicans lied in wait to see if Biden would commit one of his trademark gaffes. Convinced Democrats took aim through their Bushnell Scopes to see if Palin would stand wide-eyed, motionless, and speechless. Both groups turned off their TVs disappointed. What is at stake here are people who are genuinely undecided (not like CBS’s post-debate focus group of “undecideds” who were “leaning toward Obama-Biden”. Whose asinine idea was that?). These people, for the most part, aren’t undecided about number two on the ticket. They are undecided about number one and while the “one heartbeat away” possibilities do enter into the equation at some level, they are not the primary concerns. Simply put, this election is about Barack Obama and John McCain. With more presidential debates on the horizon and no more opportunities for the public to see the prospective Veeps together, what we saw last Thursday was, at best, a mildly instructive pseudo-academic exercise that will seem like a vague memory on election day. In reality, Thursday night was entertainment. Nothing more, nothing less.