Friday, October 03, 2008

Assessing The VP Debate

After the media circus leading up to the Vice presidential debate, the two bottom line questions are, what actually happened, and who won? In my view, it was basically a tie in terms of who scored the most points on the issues. There was no knockout blow delivered by either side. However, we did get to know Sarah Palin better and, personally, her performance just reinforced my opinion of her. The media pundits seem to all agree as well, that in spite of the misstep with the Katie Couric interviews, she proved she can hold her own.

But on to assessing the "performances" of the VP candidates...

Palin: After all the hype and the SNL parody of her disasterious Katie Couric interview, (you have to admit, Tina Fey has Palin down cold) America's favorite Hockey Mom proved she's fearless, and what a quick study she truly is. She did a much better job of connecting with the viewers than Biden. She looked straight into the camera — something Biden didn't do with any regularity — and basically had a conversation directly with the American people. Obviously, she was nervous in the beginning, but settled down quickly and answered Biden's criticism's of McCain with spirited relish.

When in her comfort zone — energy, taxes, and reform — Palin excels, broadcasting an authenticity, warmth, and appeal rare on the national scene. Meanwhile Joe Biden came across much the same way McCain does when side by side with Obama — like an old white guy. Palin's repeated critique that Biden was "looking backwards" is something to listen for on the campaign trail between now and November 4.

Palin was also in stronger command of her facts than either Democratic strategists or the Mainstream Media (MSM) anticipated. She stayed on message very well and didn't distort Obama and Biden's records nearly to the extent Biden did McCain's. She also aggressively came back to her talking points several times when Biden had gotten the last word in on a question and distorted one or more of them.

Overall, Palin handled herself significantly better than the MSM predicted she would, and I can't see where she did the McCain campaign any harm. What will be interesting to see, is if the McCain/Palin poll numbers pick up, because that's going to tell the tale about how well she really did.

Even if you don't like her politics, it's hard to deny that Sarah Palin is the real deal. She has that same ability to connect directly with voters that Ronald Reagan had, and that has to be scary for the Democrats — both now and in the future.

Biden: Biden was smart to attack McCain, and not Palin. That would have been disasterious, making him appear to be a bully, and creating sympathy for Palin. He stayed on Obama's message relentlessly, and although he was basically gaffe-free, and seemed to be in command of the facts, the truth is, a large number of his statements on McCain's record (and perhaps Obama's) seemed to be screaming for a fact check, because he confidently distorted McCain's record without hesitation.

I was extremely disappointed to see Biden trot out the Democrat's tired old standby, Class Warfare — "the wealthy" vs. the rest of us, and the forced redistribution of earned wealth through tax policy. My question has always been, what constitutes "wealthy?"

I was genuinely surprised at how Biden made it extremely clear just how staunchly anti-business he, Obama, and the Democrats truly are. While he pontificated about helping small business, if you really listened, you could hear him talking out of both sides of his mouth, because every single proposal he discussed will hurt small business. And while he made no secret of hating big business, he failed to address the fact multinational corporations will move more and more jobs offshore if proposals like employer-paid universal health care the Democrats want so badly, are implemented.

Finally, you have to admit, the man has a good grasp on Foreign Policy — much more so than his inexperienced running mate..

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