Issues surrounding the Vice-Presidential debate at Washington University held potential for controversy—Gwen Ifill’s objectivity, Gov. Sarah Palin’s newcomer status and Sen. Joe Biden’s habit of exaggerating stories. That last is somewhat understandable. Biden is an excellent speaker and a great teller of tales. I don’t think last night’s debate had a single winner; in fact, all three participants were winners. The pitfalls for Palin and Ifill however were far riskier than Biden’s.
Ifill neglected to formally disclose her forthcoming book release to the Commission on Presidential Debates, and since the book includes content about Sen. Barack Obama, she stood to gain if Palin took a knockout blow. Ifill stuck to her task and appeared to be objective. I do believe the quality standard of the debate was affected somewhat. It’s natural that Ifill would’ve had to weigh every word she spoke. That actually benefited both candidates.
Biden did Biden. You can’t help liking Biden, but I could never vote for him. He and Obama in my opinion are Clintonesque in their foreign policy approach. Sitting down with Iran’s president without serious preconditions is not only an insult to Israel, it is an insult to women. USA Today has a fact check on Biden’s claim Obama never said he’d do that; the paper says Obama did. The other reason I won’t vote a Democratic ticket: class warfare. It’s politically correct right now to hate the rich unless they’re trial lawyers trying to take a chunk out of someone else's pockets or Hollywood tinselati preaching standards they themselves cannot meet. I’m not rich, but each to his own. That’s what this country was founded on—that and resistance to unfair taxation. Memo to Biden: paying taxes has nothing to do with patriotism. Americans are not that stupid. Finally, I could not vote a Democratic ticket because it is my opinion many current members in the Democratic Party as well as supporters of that party so heavily backed by trial lawyers with a penchant for lawsuits pose the most serious threat to freedom of speech this country has seen in quite some time.
Palin reclaimed her brand, having sent it reeling during interviews with a female TV anchor. The same anchor, during an interview with Biden, apparently had no idea Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not appear on TV to soothe the public after the stock market crash of 1929. I say she had no idea because she didn’t bat an eye during a friendly interview with Biden when he made the now famous FDR gaffe statement.
Apparently campaign strategists took a suggestion from Palin’s fans—let Sarah be Sarah. I once wrote Palin is Main Street, and that’s exactly why many Americans support her. Is she a walking tome full of information about the inner workings of Congress over the last 35 years? Absolutely not. Is she part of domestic policy strategies that enabled more than 80 deaths at Waco? Nope. Is she part of the naivete that chose to prosecute terrorists in the same manner as citizens? Nope. She is one of us, those of us who do our jobs every day and ask no more than to live our lives in peace. She is most definitely not Sen. Hillary Clinton. Pundits and feminists continue to shriek about that fact. Memo to same: Palin is for the base, not expressly for Clintonites although I'm sure they're welcome if so inclined.
There will be a flood of polls declaring each candidate a winner; each party will declare its candidate a winner. Palin did well so I expect media attacks to resume. Biden did well and he’ll continue to get passes for embellishing his interesting tales.
It’s my opinion each member of the trio comprising last night’s debate won a small victory. I agree with findings of an Associated Press poll conducted in March, 2007. Reporting on the poll results, USA Today said, “For all the policy blueprints churned out by presidential campaigns, there is this indisputable fact: Americans care less about issues than they do about a candidate's character.”
Character is the quality I believe is in short supply in Congress particularly in the current leadership. Each voter must look to his or her own heart to determine the candidate who exhibits it. Policy wonks make for a dull tedious debate. Last night each candidate skewed some facts and Ifill probably at times had to restrain herself. But I’d also note that Palin, Biden and Ifill demonstrated character—a trump card of sorts—Thursday night. The candidates holding that trump card will win at the polls in November.*For sources and related reading, click on 'References' link below