So who won? Well, certainly the moderator lost. Very lightweight performance from her. But the debate wasn’t about her. It was about Palin and Biden.
Sarah Palin did a lot beter than expected, but did she do well enough? I don’t think so. She’d been well coached, but mostly talked about energy. To my mind she showed that the McCain-Palin ticket is McCain (defence) Palin (energy). Full stop. Period. Neither of them seem to know anything about the economy, and as someone once said, “it’s the economy, stupid!”
On the other hand, Biden actually moved the Obama-Biden ticket forward. He advanced the message, he was positive, he got the policy message across. He looked Presidential, she did not. I could really see Biden replacing Obama, but if Palin replaced McCain I’d have to wear brown trousers. I mean Biden answered the questions, and well. He was warm, charming, friendly, effective, knowledgable, funny and even got in a nice joke about the Bridge to Nowhere. According to the CNN response ticker he got a higher vote from women voters than did Palin. Seems Palin is only good with men because she turns on the sex button which doesn’t work with women.
There were a lot of questions Governor Palin didn’t have an answer for. So, she either waffled on – and boy, can she talk, talk, talk (about nothing) – or she fell back on Alaskan oil. Meanwhile, Biden didn’t make any mistakes, he answered the questions, he won on Healthcare, Iraq, beating Al Qaeda, the economy, regulation of Wall Street, tying McCain to Bush and Cheney. He did a good job for his boss.
Palin did well for herself, but didn’t really add anything to McCain’s campaign message. At least she didn’t dry up this time, perhaps why 84% of watchers thought she did better than expected, and 64% thought Biden, who was expected to win anyway, did better than expected.
I’ve been trying to work out who “won” and so I’ve been trying to remember the main points each made. For the life of me, I can only think of one issue that Palin talked about really: energy from Alaska. Biden however got a load of stuff into my brain: he explained the healthcare plan of McCain succinctly and even when Palin said something about it, Biden’s previous words on the subject rang in my ears to point out how wrong she was; he explained the problem with the Iraq strategy of McCain and Bush, tying McCain not to Bush over this issue, but even more damagingly to Dick Cheney who he described as “the most dangerous Vice President”. The response group loved that. And he really nailed McCain to Bush’s economic mess.
At the end of the day, that’s what people vote on: do they feel better now or not? With Bush sponsored high oil prices, Bush sponsored foreign wars in the wrong places, and Bush sponsored deregulation of Wall Street, people are looking for something different, someone reliable. And John McCain, sorry, you and Palin aren’t it.