Got to watch the VP debates last night. I have to say, honestly, that I was not offended by Palin's performance. Now, to be fair, after the Couric interviews my expectations were pretty low.
But she was able to complete sentences, and not look too flustered when she gave answers that were embedded by her handlers. She stuck to the message for the McCain/Palin platform and didn't (as one observer noted) "run screaming from the stage yelling "I can't do this!"
So for that I give her credit.
However. She answered evasively on a whole bunch of questions. She didn't answer them so much as find clever ways to get back to the opinion that either she or McCain was a maverick, and that they wanted to put the country first. I've heard those lines before, and was hoping to hear a bit more about just HOW they plan on doing that. It was also very obvious when she was comfortable with a question or not. Comfortable = She shifted from foot to foot and looked relaxed, answered with some knowledge on the topic. Uncomfortable = stood erect on both feet, looked directly into the camera and the only thing that moved were her mouth and her blinking eyes. I've seen that look before in high school acting class when the performer knew the lines, but was unsure that they actually knew them.
The attempts at humor were pretty feeble and not well timed either. It was obvious that somewhere along the line during her prep, someone thought it would be clever if she could work in the time worn phrase "Say it ain't so, Joe". But she didn't really play that card well.
I agree with the Palinites that she does have a very folksy charm about her. Sort of like King George the Second had during his debates. But I think we've all seen that folksy does not equal competent to lead. I liked what one undecided focus group member said after the debates... She would love to have coffee with Palin, but not put her runner up to the President.
As for Biden. He didn't make too big a splash either. Although he did answer questions and stay on message well. He hit a homer with his 'bridge to nowhere' dig, it even made the audience "oooh". But other than that he played it cool and did a great job. I would have had a hard time controlling my tongue in correcting Palin at times, like the name of the commanding general in Afghanistan, or what the constitution actually says the VP powers are. But Biden apparently learned from the George the First/Ferraro debates back in the 80's that correcting someone could come off as condescending. But he didn't come off as forced or eager to get a soundbite as Palin. So I'd give the win, if there is one, to him. Of course, comparing their experience levels is like comparing a match to a forest fire, so we won't even go there.
Lastly, for those of you out there who will no doubt support the McCain/Palin ticket or are still considering them. Your pick has a slight uphill battle going into these last few weeks. I do hope you will pay attention to the style of campaigning that you are going to see. McCain/Palin knows they can't win on the issues anymore. Not after the economy mess and McCain's grandstanding. So they are going to go for personal, character attacks. I don't think the Obama camp will respond in kind very much, and would be disappointed in them if they did.
I know there are ideological issues at stake. Republican views and Democratic views. But in light of the current "Republican" administration that seems to go against everything real Republicans want, and their candidate, who agreed with that administration 90% of the time, I think it's time for a change. Please think about your vote before you go with the party favorite.
Anyway, enough on that debate. Two more debates between McCain and Obama. Those should be interesting.