Let’s pretend we’re in an alternate universe. Everything in this universe is exactly the same as it is in the one we know, except for one thing: neither Joe Biden nor Sarah Palin ever went into politics. Instead, they were bitten by the acting bug, and found their way to Hollywood-via-Vancouver, and wound up cast in what would soon become a cult smash and a pop culture phenomenon.
Yes, in some alternate universe, we’re all writing X-Files fan fic about Sarah and Joe. I mention this not just because, in an infinite multiverse all things are possible. Instead, I say this because, really, I couldn’t have been the only one feelin’ the spark between those two on thursday night. We’re talkin’ some serious unresolved sexual tension, folks. Rrrrrowwwww!
Actually, that’s not true at all. But, listen, by this point, I’ve heard so much spinnin’ and opinin’ that, really, the only surprising thing either one of the two vice-presidential candidates could have done would be to stick their tongue down the others throat. There were only four really likely outcomes of this debate, and you can play mix-and-match: Palin does or does not embarrass herself, Biden does or does not come off as condescending. How you think it went has more to do with your own personal political stance than anything else.
Me, I thought they both came off about as well as expected: Joe mostly attacked his “friend” John McCain, and refrained from attacking Gov. Palin on her inexperience. Her every day folksy charm is appealing to some, and going after her for not seeming ready for prime time is like going after a blues bar band for not knowing how to play Tchaikovsky. He came off as passionate and human, and gentlemanly enough to Ms. Palin without condescending to her or being afraid to “hit a girl.” About a year ago, my Dad said that he would support Biden in the primaries if he made it that far, saying something like “us cranky old guys gotta stick together.” Joe Biden’s a feisty dude.
Now, I figured they’d coach the hell out of Sarah Palin, and she came prepared. I’m not sure why any of us were expecting her to cry and run away or whatever, and if the right wing’s complaints of a sexist bias against the Governor hold any water, it’s in this aspect. She’s a professional politician, and she knows enough to project an air of confidence and stand her ground when she has to. You don’t beat an incumbent governor from your own party without knowing how to present yourself, and in the modern political world, that’s 90% of the job.
Again, I gotta say, my problems with her have nothing to do with her inexperience, her “style”, or her occasional slips into word salad when confronted with a tough question. No, my problems with her as a potential vice-president have more to do with her stand on global warming (because, yes, it does matter who/what caused it, ma’am), her tendency to respond to said tough questions with absolute non-answers, and, mostly, her insistance that incuriousness and intolerance are “small town values.”
Oh, and the shooting wolves from a plane thing. I mean, wtf?
Anyway, the debate happened, and more people watched it than any other VP debate in history (even that barnburner between Al Gore and Jack Kemp in ’96! Woohoo, good times.) Joe Biden managed not to make Sarah Palin cry, and Sarah Palin managed not to cry, so we’ll call it a draw.