Friday, October 3, 2008

Veep Debate Redux

I actually found the vice-presidential debate more enjoyable than the presidential debate.  In place of the grouchy dickhead McCain and the aloof, bloodless Obama, Palin and Biden seemed like nice, normal people.  
Palin held her own, didn't try for too many scripted zingers, and, after a shaky start, seemed to relax into the moment.  I expected her to over-perform expectations, so her good performance didn't really surprise me all that much.
Biden was better than I expected -- more substantive, less windy, and as genuine as a guy who's lived in the Senate his whole adult life can possibly be.  He kept his answers short.  He was respectful of Palin but critical of McCain.  He walked the tightrope well.
Gwen Ifill, the moderator, was a train-wreck.  She failed miserably to keep the debaters on the question at hand, and let them wander all over the place in their answers.  
Who won?  Who cares.  Unless Jesus Christ walked into the auditorium and endorsed Palin, her performance wasn't going to change the game much (perhaps, as I expect, it will stanch the bleeding somewhat, and keep McCain at -6 to -8% over the weekend).  Biden reinforced the cool competence of the Obama campaign, without making too much trouble.  Unlike the punditocray, I think it was a draw, and the draw benefits the leader.
The best moment for me wasn't really anything either of them said, but rather it was the warm, cordial moment when they brought their families on stage at the end.  Huge contrast from McCain snubbing Obama by not looking at him, and the robotic Cindy reaching out to shake Obama's hand like she was removing moldy cheese from the refrigerator.  The families seemed at ease with one another on stage, and it made me like both of the candidates more. 

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