Friday, October 3, 2008

O'Biden vs. McPalin

Senator Joe Biden was the experienced statesman and Governor Sarah Palin showed she is a very capable performer in their debate. Biden renewed the confidence of Democrats, many of whom were concerned he would make a gaffe. Palin redeemed herself among her supporters, many of whom were shaken by a recent series of disastrous television interviews.

Governor Palin seems to seldom lack confidence, especially when she is well prepared with campaign talking points. Her folksy demeanor is very appealing. Speaking to "Joe Six Pack" and "hockey moms across the nation," she tried to connect with Middle America using lines like, "it's so obvious I am a Washington outsider." She even winked into the camera a couple times and scolded her opponent like a local PTA mom, "Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again."

But Palin found herself pointing back to her record as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, and her time as governor. "I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear," she said to Senator Biden, "but I am going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also." Of course, a month ago most Americans had never heard of Sarah Palin. She even admitted to the moderator, "And how long have I been at this, like five weeks." Long enough, though, to land a tough punch on Obama and Biden, "Your plan is a white flag of surrender in Iraq and that is not what our troops need to hear today."

For his part, Senator Biden seemed a bit stiff at first. No doubt, he was very sensitive about making a mistake or coming off as condescending. But Biden successfully countered Palin's attacks on Obama, which accused him of wanting tax increases, failing to support the surge in Iraq and voting against funding U.S. troops. "John McCain voted to cut off funding for the troops," Biden retorted, "let me say that again, John McCain voted against (it)." And on Palin's praise of McCain as a reformer and "real maverick," Biden pounced, "he's not been a maverick on virtually anything that genuinely affects the things that people really talk about around the kitchen table."

Governor Sarah Palin is smart, fresh and energetic. She is clearly ambitious and driven. Senator Joe Biden has tremendous experience on foreign affairs as well as on domestic issues. He has a long record of accomplishment in the U.S. Senate. Both come from small town America at very different times and from two very different regions of the country.

It is now pretty clear that the vice presidential candidates will not be a deciding factor in this election, even though they both exceeded their low expectations for the debate. Nonetheless, give careful consideration to which of these candidates is best prepared to step in for the president in the event of a terrorist attack against this nation or a major international crisis. God forbid that it should ever be necessary, but think about it.

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