Biden-Palin Debate Rundown

Just for the hell of it. I'm not coming at this from a substantive point of view so much as an opinion on how it played across this great land of ours.

-- Good debate by historical standards (ever see the national disgrace that was the George H.W. Bush/Geraldine Ferraro debate?). Sarah Palin won the first half, Joe Biden the second.

-- I’ve been thinking for a while that Biden got a face-lift. His eyes point up at the corners like a cat. It's a little Fu Manchu. Just occurred to me that it might be the result of surgery from his brain aneurysms. Either way, it looks pretty sharp on him.

-- Casting Palin for the movie version will be easy. Tell Frances McDormand to add a big splash of can-do, shallow, slogan-spouting chamber booster to her role in Fargo. Might be better than Tina Fey.

-- Palin and Bush. They have a lot in common. They both think Iraq is a good war. They both believe in creationism. They both say "nucular." In another time and place, it might have been love.

-- Biden's emotional moment, when he spoke of having to wonder if his sons would survive the car crash, could have played either way. It could have gone over well (he's real, he loves his kids, he's like us) or poorly (he's too emotional and therefore unable to lead). Answer: It played well. You could feel it in your heart and gut. Might have helped put him over the top.

-- Palin needs to cut the terms "maverick" and "straight talk" from her vocabulary. It makes her sound like a shallow, slogan-spouting chamber booster. And it negates some of that tireless effort at trying to sound folksy. Fake is folksy’s kryptonite.

-- Biden had a slow start. He got in a rut there early on where he must have used the word "deregulation" a half-dozen times. Dull. At that precise time, Palin was hitting her real-person best, talking about economic fears in the sidelines of kids' soccer games. For a second I thought she might actually walk away with it, but then Biden hit the zone and started whomping some ass of his own.

-- Palen is the master of being very nasty while seeming to be super-pleasant. And man does she know how to stick the stiletto in deep with a perky smile on her face. I like that about her. Palin’s hair isn’t bad either; it's both square and sexy at the same time. (Not that she's all that hot; the hair works though).

-- Palen babbled at times and seemed overly trained, but she beat expectations and may have fired up the ignorati that McCain so badly needs. She possibly scored some points in the west (at one point she attacked “east coast politicians,” which is an oddly general attack on a rather large region of the country). That “white flag of surrender” thing sounded radical and weird, as did her closing remarks, which had a little bit of a Red Dawn feel. But those things work in the darkest depths of the heartland.

-- Biden won on points and substance (he won the polls too), but I'm going to reluctantly call the debate a draw. Chris Matthews just said on MSNBC that she beat the spread. That might be the best way to put it: Biden won, but Palin beat the spread. Either way, you’re not going to see much if any change in the polls. And it's only a few days until the next debate, so it will soon be almost forgotten.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Bob Norman
Contact: Bob Norman