As a quasi-political operative, I would have liked to have seen Palin give more detailed responses on some issues. However, the focus groups seemed to love her folksy, straight forward (although often illusory) responses. When she responded about the economy that Americans “are just not going to take the greed of Wall Street any more,” her numbers went off the screen from the focus group. They loved her tough talk!!
The other big difference of the night – Biden talked to the moderator while Palin talked to the television camera (and the American people). She was comfortable, folksy, and even got off a few winks to the crowd – and cameras. Even saying that the kids watching the debate would get extra school credit was a hit.
For me, the debate reminded me of something else: why I don’t trust Joe Biden.
To start with, he reminded everyone of the shift in his idea of vetting judicial nominees from simply being accomplished jurists of good character to having to have proper ideology. Conservatives have taken the rap for this transition, but Joe glibly took credit for the change himself. He lead the fight to defeat the nomination of Robert Bork to SCOTUS, an episode which added the term “borked” to the English language and which was IMO one of the most shameful trashings the U.S. Senate has ever administered to any human being.
Second, Gwen Ifill (I think) pointed out that he was an interventionist in places such as Bosnia, Kosovo and the like, and he openly agreed. Now, you’d think that, after Iraq, the Democrats would have had their canfull of interventionists, and they went to the trouble to put an anti-interventionist at the top of the ticket. But evidently Biden hasn’t had all the fun he (or we) can stand. Our adventure in Bosnia should have been a test for European humanitarianism (it was, they flunked) and Kosovo should have been at least partitioned. But both of these interventions (especially the latter) may prove costly, as the Russian intervention in Georgia can be seen in opposition to ours in Kosovo.
Finally, he has made noises of bringing up Bush and others on war crimes charges. Such show trials about the past would have the effect of distracting the American people from the serious issues of the present. Sarah Palin put it to him to focus on the future rather than the past. After the debate, she and her family’s lovefest around the Bidens after the debate made good camera. But she needs to be careful. If Obama wins, she goes to the top of the list for the Republicans in 2012, and if you’re going to criminalise your opponents, you’d better dispatch the best. He may have wanted to get a good look at his next victim.