So. I'm currently watching the Vice Presidential debate. And also drinking. Because these actions go together.
This debate was expected to get huge ratings, but that was mostly because people were hoping to see Sarah Palin vomit on stage. So far she has not. God is still crossing his fingers.*
I'm assuming that tomorrow the pundits are going to give Palin tremendous credit for not vomiting on herself, pooping behind the podium, or otherwise defecating in a metaphorical manner.
But from where I am sitting Joe Biden has kicked ass. Granted, where I am sitting is on the floor of my East Coast apartment, and granted, I am a drunken, godless member of a biased media elite. I am not a hockey mom. I like neither hockey nor moms, nor America nor God.
But no matter. Biden kicked ass. He seems knowledgeable, passionate and experienced. He seemed to be answering off the cuff much of the time, albeit with a clear strategy. Biden obviously came in resolved to attack John McCain. This allowed him to stay "on message," meaning, roughly, that he neither said anything terribly embarrassing, nor attacked Sarah Palin with a knife.
But despite that scripted approach, you got a sense that Biden was at ease here. They could have asked him anything, and he surely would have had an opinion, because, well, he actually knows things. That actually knowing things is not a given in this debate pretty much says it all.
Sarah Palin does not actually know things. This was especially clear when the moderator asked her about Cheney's bizarre theory that the Vice Presidency is a branch of government unto itself. Any political junky would know what they were talking about, but Palin manifestly didn't. Biden did, because again, he actually has an interest in government. Crazy quality to expect in a a leader, I know.
Look, at this point if you're undecided you're either stupid or uninterested. Determining what such strange creatures are thinking is tough. My hope is that even their bizarre brains recognized that Palin looked like a bubblegum talking point automaton, and that Biden looked like a genuine person with genuine experience.
In hindsight, this was an event that was bound to play to Palin's strengths. Biden was making a conscious effort to direct all his attacks at McCain, not Palin, and Gwen Ifill was more interested in getting to her next question than challenging anyone with a follow-up. So Palin was allowed to stick with her rehearsed bits, ignore questions, and fake smile America into submission.
*Assuming he's not busy planning the Iraq war with George Bush.